With my love of all things carby, it’s no surprise that vegan croissants ranked high on my “to conquer” list. I got hooked on them (non-vegan) in my early 20’s when we lived in an apartment near Coventry (Cleveland Heights). These were the days of the $5 pizzas (Mama Santa’s), Tommy’s (when we had more than $5) and….the apricot filled croissants from David’s Cookies that were a weekend addiction. They were huge, buttery, delicate and had the perfect amount of apricot in every bite. I could have one for breakfast and then not eat again until our typical rice and bean dinner. They were the food dreams were made of for me and this vegan version is a close second. I just have to splurge on some apricots….in the meantime, jam works.
These aren’t hard to make but are time-consuming. The directions are for making them by hand, but using a kitchen aide mixer with a dough hook is definitely the easiest route.
1 cup vegan margarine
1 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons agave nectar plus 1 teaspoon, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
The day before you plan to make these, slice the margarine sticks lengthwise 3 times. Turn and slice the next side 3 times lengthwise. Then slice each stick into 1/4-inch pieces. Break the pieces of margarine apart as you combine them in a large ziplock bag with 2 tablespoons flour. Toss to coat, and freeze overnight.
In a small saucepan, heat the soy milk and 2 tablespoons agave over medium heat until lukewarm. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the yeast, stir and let sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add the 3 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well and then turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Press and knead the frozen butter into the dough as best you can. On plastic wrap, form the dough into a block. Enclose in the wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Remove from the plastic wrap and on the lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 10 X 15 inches. Working with the 15-inch side, fold 1/3 of the dough over the center 5 inches. Fold the other side overtop of that fold. Pat into a rectangle, wrap in saran and refrigerate 45 minutes to 1 hour. Repeat this process 3 more times to distribute the margarine into the layers. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
For the final rolling out, roll into a 12 X 15 inch rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise so that you have 2 rectangles that are 6 X 15. Wrap one rectangle in plastic and return to the refrigerate. Cut the remaining rectangle into 3 squares that are about 5 inches across. Cut each of these diagonally to make 2 triangles. Gently roll the dough into a triangle shaped like a slice of pizza that is about 1/4 inch thick. Starting at the wide end (the ‘crust’ end) roll the dough tightly together to make a tube working towards the point of the triangle. Gently bend into a crescent shape and place on the baking sheet. Repeat until all 12 croissants have been shaped. (At this point, croissants can be covered with saran and refrigerated for breakfast baking.) Cover with a towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the water with 1 teaspoon agave. Brush on the croissants and bake 18 to 20 minute or until golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool. Let cool slightly for best texture*, or let cool completely. These can be frozen.
*Cooling them lets the layers separate for the very flakiest croissants, but it requires patience.
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