Isn’t it funny how scents can trigger memories? One aroma that catapults me back to childhood is the smell of baking pastries. While my parents and I enjoyed dinners together almost every night, we always enjoyed a family breakfast on Sunday mornings. Sometimes my mum would make scones with Scotch icing, other weekends my daddy would spend hours making the most delicious croissants from scratch. He would start preparing the dough the night before, then would get up before dawn to finish the job. They were buttery, flaky, heavenly. Waking up to the aroma of croissants baking in the oven is indescribably divine—all I can say is that smell would renew my faith that all could be right in the world. While the majority of his creations were the traditional rolled dough shaped as crescents, he would use scraps to make pockets of all shapes and sizes containing cinnamon and sugar or chocolate just for me. I always felt incredibly special when he presented me with my very own plate of “Teense Crescent Rolls.”
I am not, nor have I ever been, a morning person. So, getting up before the sun rises to make croissants isn’t going to happen. However, I found a shortcut that allows me to make these wonderful pastries for family breakfasts with my husband and son: frozen puff pastry. With the dough already made, all I have to do is slice, adorn with chosen ingredients, roll, form, glaze with an egg wash, and bake. Fresh pastries in under half an hour—it’s that easy! While these croissants will never compare to my daddy’s, they really are delicious, and they give my family the chance to enjoy that delectable aroma as well.
1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp water
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
2. In a small bowl, stir the sugar and chosen spice to combine.
3. In another small bowl, whisk the egg and water together to create the egg wash.
4. Unfold the first sheet of puff pastry onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the sheet into 4 squares, then cut each square into 2 triangles, making 8 triangles altogether.
5. Spread 1/2 tsp sugar-spice mixture onto each triangle. With your fingers, gently press the sugar-spice mixture into the dough.
6. Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough up to the point. Place the rolled dough on the baking sheet with the points tucked underneath and form into crescent shapes.
7. Using a pastry brush, paint each croissant with the egg wash, then sprinkle with more sugar-spice mixture, to taste.
8. Repeat these steps with the remaining sheet of puff pastry.
9. Bake the croissants for 15 minutes, then remove them from the oven. Place them on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. Enjoy the croissants warm or at room temperature.
🥐 Save the remaining sugar-spice mixture for another use, such as rimming glasses for mixed drinks, sprinkling on cookie dough, or making more pastries.
Makes 16 pastries
🥐 Chocolate Croissant Variation: Instead of filling the pastries with the sugar-spice mixture, fill them with chopped semisweet chocolate. Sprinkle them with sanding sugar after applying the egg wash and bake as instructed. Sometimes I will use one sheet of puff pastry to make the Sugar & Spice Croissants and the other to make Chocolate Croissants, providing variety.
My son approves!