Sunday, January 3

Sunday Baking Project: Almond Croissants

I have been loathe to bake recently after the intensity that is two birthday cakes in the same week Christmas arrives, I was all baked out.

Christmas tradition in my parents' household and now mine is to have croissants for breakfast - and this year I bought mine but yesterday I found myself wondering why don't I make them - the shortcut way - it's easy-peasy-lemon-squeezee!

Well that's until I thought I would make almond paste from scratch.

Now don't get me wrong - it's not really that hard to make - relatively simple actually - I was just determined to make it hard on myself.

First of all I didn't buy pre-blanched almonds - MISTAKE. I spent 5 hours getting the skins off 300 g of almonds that were on special.  Really, my time is worth more than the $1 I saved!  Oh well, lesson learned, and may all of you learn that lesson now!  It is NOT worth blanching almonds yourself.  It's not.

3 sheets puff pastry, thawed
50 grams butter, melted
125g blanched almonds (i.e. skins off - they can be slithered or whatever)
1/2 tsp almond essence
100g caster sugar.

Make your almond paste (I actually doubled this recipe and put half in the freezer for another time)

Put almonds into food processor - process on highest setting until it is powder-like (about 2 minutes)

Add caster sugar and essence - process on highest setting for a futher two minutes until well combined and it resembles a paste - or at least a wet crumble, you should be able to press it together between your fingers.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees c.

On your sheets of puff pastry, sprinkle the almond mixture, pat it down and ensure an even-ish coverage.

Cut into quarters (or if you want mini-bite size ones with coffee, 9) and then roll from a corner to diagonally opposite corner

Twist around the sides and pinch to close pasty and prevent leakages, put on greased baking try and brush with melted butter.

Bake in batches on middle shelf of oven for about 10 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Cool and dust with sifted icing mixture.  Reheat in oven if eating later, these also freeze really well if baking ahead.
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