3 sticks (3/4 pound) of Earth Balance (I highly recommend the sticks over the tub), equally divided and softened at room temperature
4 cups all purpose flour, approximately
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
4 1/2 tsp (2 packages) dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1-3/4 cups soy milk, plus 1/4 cup Mimic Cream, warmed to 80°F to 90°F
For Pain Au Chocolat
Dark chocolate chips, or batons, or bars cut into sticks (don’t go too dark here, since the pastry isn’t really sweet. I like somewhere around 60-75% cacao content)
For Croissant Aux Amandes
8 oz package or can almond paste (not marzipan)
Liberally flour a cutting board and work together the Earth Balance into a solid mass. Place on a piece of foil and form into a 6” square. Wrap in foil and chill in refrigerator.
Disolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups flour, salt and sugar. Add yeast to the warmed soy milk mixture (make sure neither the milk mixture or the water is too hot, otherwise it will kill the yeast) and mix with the flour. Stir with a paddle attachment for a few min until well mixed. Add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until you have a soft, but not sticky, dough (you may not use exactly 4 cups of flour). Switch to a dough hook and kneed for about 5 min. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Ensure that the Earth Balance is at a workable temperature. It should be soft enough to bend slightly, but should not crack (too cold) or be oily (too warm). You may have to take the Earth Balance out of the fridge before the dough. Place the dough on a floured surface and pat into a 10” square. Unwrap the Earth Balance and place on top of the dough diagonally. Fold each corner of the dough to the center, overlapping the dough and sealing into a package (see photo). Roll the dough in to a rectangle, about 8”x18” (the exact size is not critical).
Fold the dough in thirds, like a letter. Turn the dough so that the open ends are facing towards and away from you. Roll the dough again into a rectangle. Fold each end to the center and close, like a book, so you have four layers. Place the dough on a parchment lined sheet pan and cover with a damp towel (rinse a clean tea towel in cold water and wring dry). Let rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Unwrap the dough and roll again into a rectangle. Fold in thirds (like a letter). Place back on the sheet pan and wrap with a damp towel and plastic wrap. Chill 4-6 hours or overnight.
Flour a large surface (you will need a good amount of room for this) and roll the dough into a rectangle about 12” on the short side. The overall dimensions are not important, but it is important that the dough is rolled 1/8”-1/4” thick. Cut the rectangle lengthwise into two 6” strips. Cut each strip into triangles, about 6” across the base (you can change the size and go bigger or smaller if you like). Roll each triangle starting from the wide end toward the point. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and form into a crescent shape (the point should facing the inside of the crescent and should be tucked under the croissant). Place remaining croissants at least 2” apart and let rise on the counter for 1-2 hours, or until about doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 425°. Brush each croissant with soy milk or MimicCream and bake 20-25 min, rotating pans half way through, until browned. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
Pain Au Chocolat (chocolate croisants):
After rolling the dough cut into rectangles about 4”x6”. Place a chocolate baton or a row of chips along the short end. Fold over and place another baton or row of chips. Roll the dough and place, seam down on baking sheet. Let rise and bake as above.
Croissant Aux Almandes (almond croissants):
Roll and cut the dough into triangles as for plain croissants. Form a small log of almond paste about 3” long and place near the base of the triangle. Roll and form like a plain croissant. After brushing with soy milk or MimicCream, sprinkle each croissant with sliced almonds.
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