I make double-baked almond croissants at work everyday, they are one of the bakery’s best sellers. They are a staple of a French bakery, just like a regular croissant. The first time I had an almond croissant, it was like a revelation. A buttery croissant filled with a cake-like almond filling, topped with crunchy almonds seemed too good to be true. As I learned, the almond croissant is an ingenious way to transform day-old croissants into fresh pastries again. I first encountered the peanut butter and jelly croissant at the NoMad Hotel brunch when I visited New York last winter. It was an innovative creation – a flaky croissant coated with peanut butter icing, and jelly cubes. I am putting my twist on it, turning this creation into a double-baked croissant. To me, these are the perfect combination of the French buttery filled croissant and the flavours of a North American childhood.
- 4-6 day-old good quality all butter croissants
- 4-6 tbsp good quality or homemade strawberry jam
- 4-5 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts to top
- 3-4 fresh strawberries, quartered for garnish
- Icing sugar for dusting
- 1/2 cup / 100g sugar
- 1/2 cup / 60g water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 60g ground roasted peanuts plus more for topping, see above
- 20g almond flour
- 10g all-purpose flour
- 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 80g icing sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beatened
- In a small saucepan, heat sugar and water until dissolved, take off heat, let cool, and add vanilla extract. Set aside until ready to use.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and icing sugar. Add egg in three additions, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
- Mix in flour and nuts until fully incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, chill until ready to use.
- Set a rack in the middle of your oven, preheat to 375 degrees F / 180 C.
- Cut croissants in half, like you would for a sandwich.
- Brush the insides (top and bottom) with syrup twice so they soak up thoroughly. You might have some syrup left, depending how big your croissants are.
- Spread about 2 tablespoons of peanut frangipane onto the bottom half of each croissant. Top with about 1 tablespoon of jam, make sure to cover whole surface area of the croissants.
- Sandwich the croissants with the top half. Spread the leftover peanut frangipane on the tops, sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
- Bake in the preheat oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the tops have browned nicely. Cool croissants before garnishing.
- Spoon a little jam on the tops, garnish with strawberries. Finally lightly dust with icing sugar to finish.
I didn’t grow up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a child, because in Hong Kong, it was always peanut butter with sweetened condensed milk. It was not until I moved to Canada that I learned about this North American classic. I think I made my first PB & J sandwich when I was about 10, after seeing it on a children’s TV program. It was exactly how it was supposed to be – the whitest sandwich bread, filled with peanut butter and a store-bought jam. I finished it, satisfied as a 10-year-old would.
We are in the midst of strawberry season as I am writing this post. I like to make my own strawberry jam at home with local berries, as I have been doing for the past few years. I get compliments on how delicious it is when I give them away as gifts. Its intense flavour is the trademark of seasonal local strawberries. Besides from spreading it on my morning toast or making PB&J sandwiches, it also makes excellent fillings for cookies and cakes etc. It just adds that special touch.