I doubted this was even possible, but boy, was I pleased with the outcome. Vegan chocolate croissants, made with homemade, dairy-free puff pasty. Yes, you read that correctly, these are vegan. This recipe is for my remarkable niece Maddie who loves sweets, but must navigate, the often challenging, world of food allergies.
Traditional Puff Pastry
Puff pastry, or pâte feuilletée, which means layered dough in French, is a light, flaky, buttery pastry made from laminated dough; a culinary preparation consisting of many thin layers of dough separated by butter, produced by folding and rolling numerous times. During the baking process, the water in the fat vaporizes and expands, causing the dough to puff up and separate, and essentially fries the dough, resulting in a flaky, unforgettable pasty.
Traditional puff pastry is not that hard to make, but it is time consuming, despite it only having a few basic ingredients. Puff pastry has three main elements: the flour, knows as the “détrempe”, the butter block, known as the “beurrage”, and the “pâton”, which means the package of dough made by combining the two (flour and butter block) into one.
When making traditional puff pastry the pâton gets repeatedly folded and rolled out, a process called “turning“, before being baked. This process occurs 6 times with 15 minute intervals in between to allow the dough to rest in-between turns. It is this lengthy turning process that creates those thin, buttery layers this wonderful pastry is known for.
Rough Puff Pastry
Rough puff pasty is what I used to make this vegan version and it’s actually easier, and less time-consuming, than the traditional puff pastry. Also known as quick pastry, rough puff pastry has become popular with bakers because you still get bakery-style puff pastry without precise shaping and laminating butter with dough. In this vegan ruff puff pastry I use a soy butter called Earth Balance buttery baking sticks. I must admit, although I bake with this butter alternative often, I was actually a little surprised how well it worked in creating the flakiness I desired. The main trick in working with any butter alternative, is working quickly and keeping it as cold as possible during the turning process. And if the dough begins to soften too much, you should stop the turning process and refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes before continuing.
The chocolate I used to make these vegan chocolate croissants is my go-to allergen friendly brand, Enjoy Life dairy-free dark chocolate bars. Instead of a traditional egg glaze, I simply brush the pastries with just a little corn syrup mixed with water before baking, to get that nice golden color I was searching for. The end result, is rather killer, flaky, dairy-free chocolate croissants that I hope my niece (and you) will love as much as I do.
Vegan Chocolate Croissants
- For the Rough Puff Pastry:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 10 Tablespoons Earth Balance buttery baking sticks, cold and cut into small cubes
- 1/3 cup ice water
- For the Filling:
- 6 (1.12-oz bars) Enjoy Life dairy-free dark chocolate bars
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup mixed with 1 Tablespoon cold water
- Step 1 For the rough puff pastry: In a medium mixing bowl add the flour and salt, mix well to incorporate. Add the vegan butter and using a pastry blender or fork, “cut” (or blend) the butter into the dough as best as possible.
- Step 2 Make a well in the center and add the cold water. Using a fork stir to incorporate. Note: the dough will be slightly crumbly.
- Step 3 Generously flour a clean working area and place the dough in the center. Using your hands, shape the dough into a rectangle with the shorter size closest to you.
- Step 4 Lightly flour the rolling pin. Working quickly, because the vegan butter is soft, roll the dough out in front of you into a larger rectangle about 10″ long.
- Step 5 Fold the bottom third of the dough over the middle of the dough. Fold the upper third of the dough on top of the middle like when folding a letter. Rotate the dough one-quarter turn to the right, and repeat the above. Add additional flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Step 6 Roll out, fold, and turn the dough 7 times keeping the dough as neat as possible. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Step 7 To assemble the croissants: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Mix the corn syrup and water together and place near your work station.
- Step 8 On a well floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 14-inch square. Trim the edges and cut into 12 squares.
- Step 9 Take 1/2 of a single dairy-free chocolate bar and scatter it in across the middle of one square lengthwise edge-to-edge.
- Step 10 Using a pasty brush, lightly brush the edges with the corn syrup mixture. Fold the bottom third of the dough up over the chocolate. Fold the top down over the middle to enclose the chocolate. Turn over and place, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining squares.
- Step 11 Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating once during the cooking process, until golden brown in color.
- Step 12 Remove from the oven, cool slightly and serve.