Vegan Croissants/Pain au Chocolat

What better to do on a lazy Sunday than spend all day on a baking project?  I was inspired by Ariel’s gift of tubes of almond paste.  I’ve made croissants before, and I like to vary them a bit by rolling some chocolate in the middle to make pain au chocolat.  Adding a little roll of almond paste makes them a delectable vegan pastry that would satisfy anyone.

There’s lots of tricks to making decent croissants.  The first step is to knead 3 sticks of earth balance with about 1/4 cup of flour.  It’s important to get this mixture smooth, because any chunks of butter will later break through the layers of dough.  Form the butter into a 6×6″ square on some foil and put it in the fridge to chill.

The next step is to create a simple yeast dough.  Use 2 cups of warmed soymilk, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons (or packets) yeast, and 4 cups flour.  Mix well, knead (adding more flour as needed), put it back in the bowl, and refrigerate.

A few hours later after the butter has firmed up and the dough has risen in the fridge, you’re ready for the next step.  The idea here is that the dough and the butter have about the same consistency.  Knead and roll out the dough into a square about twice the size of the butter, and place the butter on top.

dough with butter

Fold in each corner like you’re wrapping a present.  Keeping everything well floured, turn it upside down and start rolling out into a long rectangle, about three times as long as it is wide.

croissant rolling

If the butter starts squeezing out, everything is too warm and return it to the fridge for a while.  If the butter seems too hard and starts breaking through the dough, it’s too cold–let it warm up a bit.  Fold in thirds, bringing each end in (like a letter).  Again, keeping things well floured roll out again into a rectangle.  This time fold into fourths–fold each end to the middle then close the whole thing like a book.  Things will really be warming up by now, so wrap tightly in plastic wrap and return to the fridge for a good hour.

folding

Unwrap and roll out again into a rectangle.  Fold in thirds.  Wrap and return in to the fridge for 3-5 hours, or longer (overnight would be fine). 

You’re now ready for the final roll.  It’s really important to keep things cold at this point.  I let a bunch of ice cubes melt on my counter for a while–if you have a marble slab by all means use it.  Unwrap, and roll out into a large square/rectangle until things are about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into triangles with a sharp knife, place them on cookie sheets, and return to the fridge.

At this point you can simply roll them up into croissants.  I took about half and added a roll of almond paste (marzipan works fine too) and some chunks of bittersweet chocolate. 

croissant chocolate

Place them on a cookie sheet, let rise an additional hour, and bake at about 400 for 15-20 minutes.  They’re great right out of the oven, but they actually get more flaky as they cool.

They turned out pretty well this time.  I had a few issues–my triangles were a bit more like right triangles than the isosceles ones that work best. I sort of rolled each one individually to make them more in the right shape.  My first few ended up a bit ugly, but by the end they looked great.  The other problem was my oven heats much more from the bottom than the top–even on a high rack in a well-preheated oven, the bottoms got brown too fast.  I flipped them with about 5 minutes to go and they ended up looking fine.

 croissants

I also have about a third of them in the freezer (unbaked) for a later occasion!  I’ll let you know how they turn out.

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27 Responses to Vegan Croissants/Pain au Chocolat

  1. holly says:

    im attempting to make these right now..im waiting for the 1st step to get out of the refrigerator. sadly now that im re reading the ingredients i see that you used bittersweet..i bought semi sweet at the store. woops ha my sweet tooth always prevails…anyway do you think semi sweet mixed with the almond paste would be too sweet or sould i ease up on the almond? thanks!

    holly

  2. zeke says:

    Congrats on making it through the first step! Bittersweet, semisweet… there’s only about a 10-20% difference in the amount of sugar. I say go for as much chocolate and almond paste as your sweet tooth can handle! This is part of the reason I love cooking for myself–getting to break all the rules.

    Let me know how they turn out!

  3. Tofufreak says:

    wow, these look lovely! i;m glad i found this blog!

  4. zeke says:

    Thanks so much! Maybe I should start updating again–there’s lots of tasty new things I’ve been cooking.

  5. sara says:

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve been dying to make something like this. Now I just have to find the time to try the recipe…

  6. YUMMY!!

    They look perfect and flawless..I’ll definitely try the recipe. Thanks a lot for sharing..
    Waiting for more delights!!

    A blogger next door 🙂

  7. Martha says:

    oh gosh I am so glad I found this recipe. I spent three weeks in France a summer or two ago and I lived off pain au chocolat. I recently have gone vegan and was naturally woebegone at the lack of them in my life. But now we can be reunited! Do they normally call for almond paste?

    • zeke says:

      Nope, the almond paste is my own addition. They would be totally delicious with out it, or with any number of other fillings. How about a vegan “ham and cheese” croissant?

  8. Connor Joanna says:

    How did the frozen ones turn out?
    I’d like to find a recipe for some kind of vegan pastries to make at the cafe I work at, but this recipe sounds like it would take too long to do every day.
    If they work when they’re frozen, though… That would be absolutely perfect.
    Either way, thanks for the recipe! I’m excited to try it.

    • zeke says:

      The frozen ones were about 90% as good as the fresh. Good luck!

      • KMB says:

        How long did you allow the frozen ones to thaw before you baked them? I am always afraid to freeze dough, because I don’t trust myself not to let it go too long.

        I appreciate and look forward to your response.

  9. Your vegan croissants look beautiful. Thanks for posting this detailed recipe. I’ve been dreaming of croissants for a while, and having just come back from Italy where croissants for breakfast is quite normal, I can’t get these out of my head. Once exams are done, I am devoting two days to these! Thank you again 🙂

  10. Shamsi Pearson says:

    Hi there
    I would love to try this recipe – can you tell me what the equivalent in gramms is 3 Sticks please? Many thanks

  11. Samantha says:

    Do you think I’d be able to use coconut oil instead of the vegan butter, or would that not work?

    • zeke says:

      I think this could potentially work. You wouldn’t want to use straight coconut oil/butter, but mix it with some salt for flavor and possibly blend it with some other oil to get a consistency more like butter.

  12. Shamsi Pearson says:

    Hi again
    Made them exactly according to your directions. I think there was far too much butter….it kept oozing through the dough at every stage regardless of how long it had been in or out of the fridge! In the end, after a very messy, sticky series of rolling and folding, I cooked them and they smelt lovely, and tasted ok, but were basically just buttery bread and were very heavy. I will try them again using half the amount of butter and see if that makes them better.
    best regards

  13. Robyn says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! My family and I are vegan and have been for about two years. However, we live in West Texas where finding vegan food is NOT easy!! We do a lot of cooking and baking ourselves but I have trouble finding the ingredients. This recipe has easily found ingredients, and the step by step makes me want to start cooking now!

    Thanks for making this vegan girls life a little easier!
    I can’t wait to get in the kitchen!

  14. Genxmom says:

    Thanks for a great recipe! I was looking for something new to make with my daughter and with your great recipe and directions it was a breeze. And they were delicious!

  15. ellie and larissa says:

    Zeke! My girlfriend Larissa and I live in Seattle and decided to make chocolate croissants this weekend. We ran across your recipe and decided to devote an entire day to making the dough after reading through the whole thing. It’s saturday night, and we have folded the dough successfully THREE TIMES!

    You cannot imagine our sense of accomplishment and anticipation of delicious vegan pastries tomorrow morning. Plus, your blog is awesome. Plus, we are also planning a bike trip, but to Mexico!

    You should DEFINITELY keep posting. The photographs and details made fancy french pastries possible even for newbs like us 🙂

    Ellie

    • zeke says:

      Thanks so much for the note! I rarely have time to post these days, but I’m glad to hear that you’re having fun with the recipe.

      If you have a website for your bike trip make sure to let me know!

  16. AikoVenus says:

    Those look so wonderful! I need to make some one day, although I’ll probably have to use coconut oil for this recipe.

  17. Jess says:

    I just made these and was AMAZED at how delicious they turned out. I am not a baker so had low expectations. I followed the instructions, exactly (so well written and photographed). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  18. Amy says:

    This is great! Printed it off for the weekend lol.. Thanks 🙂

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