Few things excite me more than a crispy, flaky, tender, croissant fresh from the oven.  Whether it is from a great bakery or homemade, croissants may be one of the most beautiful and heartfelt pastries.  They are also the most fleeting in that they loose their magic a few hours after exiting the oven and are almost depressingly lifeless the next day.

So should you somehow have managed to find day-old croissants on your hands, don’t give up on them.  With just a few easy steps, croissants can be revitalized into a scrumptious breakfast that will have your kitchen smelling like a bakery.

At the bakery I work in, we give a second life to leftover croissants by filling them with frangipane (almond cream) and re-baking them until they are golden brown and aromatic.  Of all the croissants and breakfast pastries we sell these almond croissants are by far the most popular.

Get ready to wow a breakfast crowd with this satisfying breakfast treat…if you can keep from eating them all.

Almond Croissants

While almond croissants are easy to assemble and bake, you do need to make the frangipane as well as a simple syrup ahead of time.  If you like, they may both be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator.  When you are ready to bake your croissants, just heat some of the simple syrup until hot and bring the almond cream to room temperature before using.  You will likely have leftovers of both the syrup and frangipane.  They can both be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

Leftover frangipane is great baked on the bottom of a tart shell then topped with pastry cream and fresh fruit or along with other fruit like pears or peaches when in season.  Or…just make some more croissants!  Leftover simple syrup is great if you are making a layer cake.  Brushing each layer with the syrup before icing will keep your cakes moist and flavorful.

Simple Syrup

makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

1-inch piece of a vanilla bean, split down the center

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil liquid for about five minutes until all the sugar had dissolved and mixture has reduced slightly.  Remove from heat and either use immediately or store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Frangipane

makes about 2 cups

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 8-oz can almond paste

2 large egss

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Add the almond paste and mix at high speed until mixture is smooth and well incorporated, about 5 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time until well mixed.  Finally, mix in salt and flour until just combined.

Almond Croissants

4 day-old croissants (more or less depending on how many you have)

Hot Simple syrup (recipe above)

Frangipane (recipe above)

Sliced almonds

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using a serrated knife, make a horizontal slice in the middle of each croissant.  Do not cut all the way through, leave the opposing end of the croissants attached (see pictures above).

Using a pastry brush, brush inside and top of each croissant.  It is okay if croissant seems a little soggy.

With a pastry bag or a thin metal spatula, fill the croissants with about 2 tablespoons each of the frangipane.  Spread another tablespoons of frangipane evenly over the top of each croissant.  Sprinkle the tops of each croissant with 1-2 tablespoons of sliced almonds, gently pressing them into almond cream.

Place the croissants on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, fragrant, and the frangipane in the center has cooked completely (will look cakey vs. liquidy), about 25-30 minutes.  Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes then dust lightly with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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