They are HERE. These vegan chocolate croissants have been months in the making. Between multiple trials of the recipe, testing out a few different methods and using a lot of coconut oil, this is the vegan chocolate croissant recipe you have been waiting for (at least I have). I started testing this recipe some time ago, thinking that I would totally get it up on the blog back in October. NOPE. Then, for some other unforeseen reason, I decided the week before our wedding would be a GREAT time to not only perfect this kind of difficult to test recipe, but also to try to perfect my vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe (it’s almost there!). Word of advice: Just don’t try to perfect a basic, semi-complicated recipe the week before you get married and the world is exploding with people visiting and wedding things happening all at once. Just don’t do it.
Anyway, I ended up pushing the croissant recipe aside and re-visiting it a couple weeks ago. I knew I had a method kind of nailed down, but I wanted to make sure that the first time they turned out wasn’t a fluke. Back to Whole Foods I went, to purchase yet another massive jar of coconut oil and to search out that really good chocolate that is worthy of stuffing into the middle of a flaky pastry. The second time trying out these vegan chocolate croissants worked like a charm, so to the blog it goes! I aimed for this recipe to be made without vegan butter, since it’s not accessible for everyone and be a base recipe for vegan croissants, either plain, savory or sweet. I can’t promise that these are exactly like a French bakery or flake all over like the real deal with butter does, but I can promise that they come pretty darn close. Don’t miss the list of tips I put below, because once you’ve made this vegan chocolate croissant recipe 5 times, you pick up a few do’s and don’ts along the way. The longer recipe looks intimidating, but it’s totally worth it! Would a video be helpful for something that’s a little more complicated like this? I’m thinking next year a video should be in the works. Now, let’s make croissants!
Tips for making vegan croissants:
- First and foremost, don’t rush it! This is the kind of baking project that you will need to spread out over a day and just kind of enjoy, rather than looking for the easiest/fastest shortcut around. The rising and rolling seems like a lot, but really just trust me, it’s worth it!
- I only tried this recipe with coconut oil, so I would NOT recommend using any other oil. The beauty of coconut oil is that it stays fairly solid at room temperature and can be made into a ‘package’ for folding into the dough (see recipe below) without melting all over the place.
- Gluten free? I don’t know, but if you want to try it and tell me how it works, that would be awesome!
- Have lots of all purpose flour on hand each time you are rolling out dough. I found that if I thought I had enough flour, put away the bin, then had to pull it back out, I ended up with flour and coconut oil everywhere. Plus, that’s just annoying.
- When making the coconut oil package for the vegan chocolate croissant dough, use more flour than you think you need! That oil is going to start melting if you don’t and no one wants slippery counter tops and a wasted dough.
- Don’t try to overstuff the chocolate inside the croissant! I know that the rule for chocolate is usually that more=better, but for these, if you overstuff the chocolate inside things will get melt-y and burned and it’s just all bad news.
- Don’t forget the almond milk/agave vegan ‘egg wash’. This combo results in a perfectly browned top on your vegan chocolate croissants rather than just a pale looking pastry.
- Last but not least, follow the recipe! This isn’t the time to improvise, trust me, I tried it.
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Vegan Chocolate Croissants
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons warm water not hot!
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup coconut oil solid at room temperature
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and pinch of sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the yeast mixture (the one you combined and set aside), salt, sugar, melted coconut oil, and almond milk on medium. Gradually add in the all purpose flour and beat on medium until a dough starts to form. If dough is really sticky, add 1/4-1/3 cup more of flour. Remove from bowl onto a well floured surface.
Roll the dough into a rectangle that is 1/2 inch thick (it will be about 12 inches by 10 inches or so). Transfer to a small cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
After the dough has chilled, we are ready to add the coconut oil package. This makes the dough form the layers and get very tender and flaky. Take the cup of coconut oil and knead in the 1/3 cup of all purpose flour. Form the coconut oil and flour into a small rectangle that is about 6 inches by 4 inches. I had to just use my hands to do this, especially if it's a warmer day or your kitchen is fairly warm.
Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a rectangle that is 13 inches by 9 inches. Place the coconut oil rectangle into the bottom half of the rolled out dough. Fold the upper half down over the lower half and press the edges together. With the folded side to your left, roll out the dough into a 10 by 24 inch rectangle. Fold the bottom third up and the top third down, as if you were folding a letter. Repeat this rolling (into a 10 by 24 inch rectangle) and folding 3 more times. If the dough gets too warm or the coconut oil starts to melt, chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes and start to work with the dough again. After you have rolled out and folded 3 more times, form the croissants for baking.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
To form the croissants, roll out the pastry dough into a 12 by 16 inch rectangle. Cut into 3 equal lengthwise strips and then cut each strip into 4 squares, for a total of 12 squares. Take each square and slightly stretch it out with your hands (just a bit), place 8-10 chocolate chips in the center of the square, then fold the bottom third up and the top down so it overlaps. Pinch the dough together to seal. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all squares of pastry have been used. Lightly whisk together the 1/4 cup almond milk and agave nectar and brush the tops of each croissant with the mixture. This will give it that perfect golden brown color.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.