Quick and easy vegan almond croissants filled with almond cream to transform plain croissants (store-bought or homemade!) into French bakery-style pastries in the comfort of your home!
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What Are Almond Croissants?
There really is nothing like a fresh croissant – buttery, laminated, yeasted dough cut into triangles, rolled and then baked up to flakey perfection. The bit of moisture in the butter creates steam and puffs the dough during baking, creating delicate flakey layers. The catch is they don’t stay fresh long – after a day, they become dried out.
French bakeries came up with a genius idea to revive and sell their day-old stale croissants by reinventing them:
Simply cut each croissant in half, brush with a light syrup for added moisture, and fill with a creamy almond custard (frangipane.) Next, spread a bit of the frangipane on the top of the closed croissant and sprinkle it with sliced almonds. Bake them to set the filling and crisp the outside pastry, and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
And so stale croissants….become double-baked almond croissants. Leftovers never looked or tasted so good!
How to Veganize Almond Croissants?
Dairy-free and egg-free croissants are available in many local bakeries these days, as well in mainstream supermarkets. Croissants are increasingly available as “accidently vegan” – the dairy butter replaced with plant-based fats. Check the ingredient lists and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover products which are not advertised as “vegan” yet contain no animal products. And, of course, you can always make your own homemade vegan croissants.
Frangipane, or almond cream, is a pastry filling traditionally made with almond meal (finely ground almonds), butter, sugar, and eggs. Here we make a vegan almond croissant filling by replacing the eggs with custard powder (or cornstarch) as our thickener and using plant-based butter (or refined coconut oil.) And don’t save this almond filling for just croissants – it’s amazing in the classic Bakewell Tart!
This vegan almond croissant recipe is so simple to make, and the final result is set to impress! No one will guess that these almond pastries are eggless, and dairy-free!
Feature Ingredients & Substitutions
Stale croissants, so about a day or two old, are ideal for vegan double-baked almond croissants . They have dried up a bit and readily accept a light coating of simple syrup. Older croissants are also easier to slice open.
Only have fresh croissants? Dry them out overnight by leaving them unwrapped on the counter under a clean, dry tea towel.
Short on time? Pop fresh croissants directly onto the middle oven rack at 325°F/165°C/gas mark 3 for about 5-8 minutes to dry out a bit, then allow them to cool.
Use blanched almond meal or almond flour so that the almond filling is creamy without any dark specks of almond skins.
If you have whole blanched almonds, you can make your own almond meal. Combine the almonds, sugar, custard powder (or cornstarch) and salt in a food processor (or a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec.) Process until the almonds are finely ground, but stop once smooth so the filling doesn’t split and become greasy.
You may be wondering if you could use marzipan instead of frangipane in the croissants. Marzipan is a sweet almond paste – it is not the same as the frangipane filling. Marzipan is quite firm, making it very difficult to spread and is much sweeter than almond custard/cream (frangipane). I don’t recommend using marzipan in lieu of frangipane for this almond croissant recipe.
Almond or cherry liquor (amaretto or kirsch, respectively) is a really nice addition to the simple syrup. If you don’t have any liquors you can use ⅛ teaspoon of almond extract. Liquor or almond extract are optional, but recommended.
Vegan butter helps create a creamy almond pastry filling. Foil wrapped or block-style vegan butter is best for the creamy almond filling. It has less water in it than spreadable vegan tub butter or margarine.
If you don’t have any vegan butter, you can use room temperature refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil has had the coconut flavor removed so the fat is neutral tasting.
I use Bird’s custard powder which is a very old brand of egg-free custard powder. It’s mostly cornstarch, with a bit of added color and flavoring, and is perfect for veganizing frangipane. Custard powder is readily available online and in many grocery stores. If you don’t have any custard powder, you can simply use an equal amount of cornstarch. The almond custard filling will naturally be a bit paler but delicious all the same!
Sprinkled on top, sliced almonds provide a bit of added crunch and a pretty topping. Save a bit of the frangipane to spread over the top of each croissant for something for the sliced almonds to stick to.
How to Make Vegan Almond Croissants
1. Make the Simple Syrup
A simple sugar syrup (sugar and water brought to a simmer) brushed over the sliced croissants adds some moisture back to stale croissants. The syrup also creates caramelization on the outside of the croissants for a nice crunch.
2. Make the Vegan Frangipane (Almond Filling)
This creamy vegan almond custard couldn’t be easier to make – simply combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
3. Assemble the Vegan French Almond Croissants
Slice the croissants in half like you would a bagel, and arrange on a baking sheet.
Brush the sugar syrup on the inside, top, and sides of each croissant half. The syrup provides some moisture, but also caramelizes during baking and provides a nice thin crisp exterior.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of frangipane filling into each croissant, spreading it evenly. Place the croissant tops back on.
Spread the remaining frangipane onto the tops of each croissant – each one should have about ½-1 tablespoon.
Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top of the frangipane.
Bake on the center rack in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the almond cream on top is golden brown.
Let the almond stuffed croissants cool for a few minutes, then dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Delicious!
Make-Ahead Suggestions & Storage Instructions
The syrup and almond cream filling can be made ahead of time.
Simple syrup can be made up to a month ahead of time, kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The almond custard filling can be made about 5 days ahead of time and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will firm up once chilled, so bring it to room temperature before you begin assembling the pastries so it’s easy to spread.
Leftover frangipane can be used to stuff French toast, fill mini pastry tarts, tucked into the center of muffins before baking, etc!
Room Temperature Storage: Store the almond croissants at room temperature for up to 3 hours – wrap them individually in foil or store in an airtight container. After 3 hours, they should be refrigerated for food safety considering their high-moisture custard filling.
Refrigerator Storage: Store the almond croissants individually wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, or in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Freezer Storage: Store individually wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, or in an airtight container for up to 6 months in the freezer. You may wish to freeze them in a single layer on a baking tray for 2 hours, and then transfer them to an airtight container to help retain their shape.
How to Reheat Croissants
Reheating From Refrigerator: Heat the croissants directly on the oven rack at 350°F/177°C/gas mark 4 for ~5 minutes.
Reheating From Freezer: Thaw the frozen croissants in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter at room temperature for an hour or so. To crisp up the exteriors, heat the croissants directly on the oven rack at 350°F/177°C/gas mark 4 for ~5 minutes. If they are reheated frozen, the filling may not thaw before the outside pastry begins to burn.
Do not reheat croissants in the microwave. They will lose their crispiness, and will become chewy.
More Vegan Brunch Recipe Ideas:
- Churro Waffles
- Snickerdoodle Banana Muffins
- Asparagus and Pesto Cashew Cheese Tart
- Peach Pie Cinnamon Rolls
- French Onion Quiche Tart
If you make these Vegan Almond Croissants, please give them a rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! Follow along on Instagram and Facebook where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes! You can also follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration. Thank you for reading!
Vegan Almond Croissants
- 6-8 medium/large plain vegan croissants, stale (>1 day old)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp amaretto, kirsch or rum (optional)
- 1 ½ cup finely ground blanched almonds (or 1 rounded cup whole blanched almonds)
- ½ cup unsweetened plant-based milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp vegan butter, block style, not from a tub, softened
- 3 tbsp vegan custard powder (or cornstarch)
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- confectioners' sugar
- Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Stir in the liquor or extract if using. Set aside while you prepare the frangipane.
- Place all of the frangipane ingredients into a food processor, and blend on high until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally. The frangipane should be creamy – stop once you've achieved. Over processing can cause the mixture to become greasy.
- If using whole blanched almonds, combine the almonds, sugar, custard powder (or cornstarch), and salt in a food processor (or a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec) Pulse until the almonds are finely ground. Add in the plant-based milk, vegan butter and almond extract (if using), processing on high until well blended. The frangipane should be creamy – stop once you've achieved. Over processing can cause the mixture to become greasy.
Assembling the Vegan Almond Croissants
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the croissants in half (lengthwise, like you would to make a sandwich.)
- Brush the syrup all over each croissant half, placing them on the baking sheet as you work.
- Spoon about 2 tablespoons of frangipane filling onto each croissant base, spreading it evenly. (This will vary depending on the size of your croissants.) You should have a few tablespoons of filling left to spread on the top.) Place the croissant tops back on.
- Spread the remaining frangipane onto the tops of each croissant – each one should have about ½ tablespoon.
- Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top of the frangipane (it will help the almonds stick to the croissants).
- Bake on the center rack in the preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes, or until the almond cream on top is golden brown and the filling is very hot (if you have a kitchen thermometer, it should read 165°F/74°C in the center.)
- Remove the croissants from the oven. Let them rest for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack.
- Dust with powdered sugar just before serving. These double-baked vegan almond croissants are best enjoyed the same day they are made, and are delightful served warm or at room temperature.
The Nutrition Information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the Nutrition Information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.
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