I made croissants for the very first time today, and they were vegan to boot. Admittedly, I have never been too fond of the flaky French crescents or anything very buttery in general, even before becoming vegan, but the occasional croissant suited me fine. Sure, it's fine to indulge in little treats now and then, but a croissant always seemed like the type of thing that just felt fattening, akin to the donuts of my youth, so trying to live with moderation and health consciousness in mind, I typically have little issue with avoiding such things. But something compelled me to make croissants anyway; I think I was drawn in by the challenge of not only the specific process of folding the dough with the fat, etc., but also of successfully adapting a traditionally non-vegan recipe to produce relatively tasty vegan end products. Whatever the reason, I made the things, and I'm pretty sure that even the omnivores in my life will make sure the pastries won't stick around for much longer.
Newly-rolled dough crescents. Better than pre-made? Probably.
These croissants are about as buttery as they get without the use of actual butter. Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks provide the butter substitute that make the pastry so flaky, although they did turn out a bit greasy as well. I used the croissant recipe from Nick Malgieri's How to Bake, a cookbook among my mother's mighty kitchen arsenal, and was a bit taken aback by the amount of fat required. I actually considered reducing the amount required by the recipe by a half cup, but since I'd never made croissants before, much less using this particular recipe, I followed the amounts precisely and only made alterations in order to "veganize" the dough; as mentioned, vegan buttery sticks replaced the butter, and unsweetened almond milk replaced dairy milk. When preparing to bake the dough, I rolled half of it into plain croissants and they other half into the Almond Croissant variation given by Malgieri. The almond paste used in the latter was a homemade, vegan version, of course. And because I have dough leftover--the recipe for the croissants themselves is written for a half-batch of dough--I may try making Malgieri's Chocolate Croissants. But I should probably stay away from too much pastry for awhile after this fattening kitchen venture.
Plain croissants (foreground) and almond croissants (background).
Almond croissant, on a festive Eiffel Tower plate.