Paris. If anyone can sum up that city in just a few succinct paragraphs, I would be highly suspicious of how much they actually experienced. After a mere five days of total immersion in the city’s culture I was overwhelmed to the point of speechlessness by all of the words that could be said and the stories that could be told. Yet, I returned home brimming with inspiration, and headed straight to the kitchen as soon as we walked through the door.
Suitcases still stuffed, with both dirty laundry and happy memories, the familiar scent of buttery pastries began floating through the air, as if we had never left Paris at all. This time, however, I could actually enjoy those flaky delicacies, instead of solely photographing them, because these were my very own vegan croissants.
Though they aren’t quite as grand as the massive breakfast confections in Paris, these miniature vegan croissants compensate for their two-bite size with a richness that can easily quell any hunger.
Despite how intimidating the paper-thin layers may seem, vegan croissants are actually quite simple to make; it’s the waiting and repetition that might become a bit trying. Luckily, I found a recipe for “quick” croissants, which simplifies the process and produces fresh, homemade pastries in about 3 hours (including resting and baking tmes). Adapting it to better suit my American cups and teaspoons, while also easily making the recipe dairy-free, this is definitely a good starting place for anyone who wants to give vegan croissants a try for themselves.
Special Diet Notes: Mini Vegan Croissants
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
For soy-free vegan croissants, make sure you use a dairy-free, soy-free margarine. Earth Balance offers a stick option which is also non-hydrogenated.
- 2¼ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- ½ cup + 2 teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1½ tablespoons melted dairy-free margarine*
- 9 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, frozen*
- To make the dough, start by combining all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl until well distributed. Add in the water and melted margarine, and stir thoroughly to incorporate. Mix everything together and knead until a smooth dough is formed. Let rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for about 10 to 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- While the dough chills, prepare the “butter” block. It helps to start by cutting the margarine into sizable chunks and arranging them right next to each other in as even of a rectangle as possible on top of a silpat or piece of parchment paper. Sandwich the margarine in between another silpat or sheet of parchment paper, and using your rolling pin, whack it into submission. You want to flatten the block out to about 1 cm or so high, and try to keep the sides even and rectangular. Allow it to chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- Once properly chilled, roll the dough out into a rectangle about twice as large as your “butter” block. Place the “butter” block in the center, diagonal to the sides (not parallel.) Enclose the block like an envelope, bringing the corners of the dough in to meet at the center. Roll the whole thing out gently to a thickness of about 1 cm again, and fold the short sides in by thirds. Return it to the fridge so that it can chill for another 20 minutes before proceeding. Don’t be tempted to hasten this time, as the heat from your hands and the rolling pin will make all of the margarine melt and run out. It’s essential to keep this dough as cool as possible before it hits the oven!
- The folding and shaping process is rather difficult to describe in words, so don’t worry if you’re a bit confused. Just check out the very helpful photos over at WikiHow and Joe Pastry if you need a visual aid.
- Roll out the dough into a rectangle yet again, and fold in thirds as before. Chill for the same amount of time, and then repeat this process once more. Chill the dough for 20 more minutes before shaping it.
- To shape your croissants, roll the dough out into a rectangle as before, but cut it with a very sharp knife into equal triangles. If you want mini croissants, cut the dough in half lengthwise first, and then cut your triangles. Roll each triangle up, starting at the widest side, and the place each one on a fresh silpat or piece of parchment paper. Once all the croissants are cut and rolled, let them rise in a warm place for about 75 minutes, until nearly doubled in size.
- After rising, move the croissants into a preheated 415ºF oven. As soon as they’re safely inside, reduce the heat to 350ºF, and do not open the door again until 15 minutes has elapsed. They should be golden brown, but if not, bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes as necessary. Let cool before serving.