Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory, sometimes spiked with chocolate and even hit with a blowtorch, these croissants are the finest, flakiest and most formidable in the Valley — much like the esteemed pastry chefs whipping them up.
Check out these righteous pastries that’ll leave you scooping up every last crumb and declaring holy devotion.
Pastry chef Mark Chacón, owner of Chacónne Patisserie, is a pastry wizard, so no shocker that his chocolate almond croissant is so much more than a mere chocolate almond croissant. First of all, it’s brick-heavy, so hefty it would work as a weapon in a pinch. Chacón uses browned butter for an extra nutty taste, dunks the twice-baked behemoth in cognac simple syrup, punches up the middle with almond cream, almond paste, a thin wafer of flourless chocolate cake and 70% Valrhona dark chocolate, and coats it in almond slices, powdered sugar and cocoa powder. It’s a weighty wallop of textures and flavors that’s both dense and delicate all at once.
803 N. Seventh Street
Croissants at aFlourshop come with a surprise. The espresso croissant is filled with espresso pastry cream, an oozing filling that plays off the flaky, golden brown exterior. The chocolate chip cookie dough version has a generous scoop of cookie baked right on top. The everything croissant is topped with housemade everything bagel seasoning, whipped cream cheese and fresh chives. Then there’s the chocolate croissant which practically explodes with creamy chocolate pastry cream, plus has a bonus layer of salted chocolate on the bottom for an extra crisp finish. No matter which croissant you pick, expect it to be as picture-perfect as the beautiful downtown Phoenix bakery itself.
Proof Bread’s pain au chocolate breaks some major croissant rules. For starters, instead of regular dough, they’re made from sourdough. Before you scrunch up your face, this is not the sour sourdough of supermarkets, but a subtle and sophisticated recipe with a slight hint of sourness — the likes of which husband-and-wife owners Jonathan Przybyl and Amanda Abou-Eid have spent years perfecting. Is there chocolate in every bite? Heck yeah. Not one, but two chocolate batons are wrapped into each croissant, and instead of keeping it all contained within the dough, you can sneak-peek the chocolate from the side, along with the flaky, cascading layers. The tappable top, which protects the soft, airy center, is finished off with a light dusting of powdered sugar for a sweet creation that’s entirely its own.
4700 N. Central Ave.
7342 E. Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale
Jenna Leurquin, owner and head baker of JL Patisserie, loves making and shaping her classic French butter croissants— and it shows. Originally from Belgium and trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Leurquin doesn’t skip any steps. The five-day process includes fermentation, lamination, proofing and baking, resulting in a superior croissant with more paper-thin layers than you can count (there are 55 in case you’re wondering). Leurquin also uses European butter for a higher fat percentage and better flavor. “I love eating the croissant on its own 20 to 30 minutes after it comes out of the oven for breakfast or turning it into a sandwich with jambon, gruyere and avocado for lunch,” Leurquin says.
4130 N. Seventh Ave.
The Pine Nut Cream Croissant at Valentine is infused with Southwestern character. Pastry chef Crystal Kass, a 2023 James Beard Award nominee for outstanding pastry chef, uses locally-grown Sonora wheat flour, a heritage grain from BKW Farms that infuses the finished product with a nutty, earthy flavor. It’s double-baked, filled with luscious piñon frangipane and showered with icing sugar for just the right amount of sweetness. “Croissants are a labor of love because it takes a lot of patience, practice, and time to master the technique of laminating,” Kass says. Trust us, you can taste the love in every layer.
Copper State Bread
Saturdays at Uptown Farmers Market
Sundays at Ahwatukee Farmers Market
Bryan O’Connor Jr.’s Copper State Bread croissants have an impeccable crumb structure. That’s the honeycomb texture, a latticework of delicate layers separated by air pockets that gives croissants — the good ones, anyway — that ethereal interior. O’Connor is head baker and owner of Copper State Bread where his sourdough croissants, which come in flavors like chocolate, cinnamon and ham and cheese with green chile, deliver that distinctive, tangy taste that comes with using a sourdough starter. Not that you’re going to be thinking too much about crumb structure or sourdough starter when you’re wolfing them down; you’ll just be thinking, “Man, that’s good.”
Ollie Vaughn’s Kitchen and Bakery
1526 E. McDowell Road
Lindsey Magee, the owner of Ollie Vaughn’s, is a croissant genius. She bakes up a buttery, flaky variety with an exceptionally crisp outer crust, all caramel-colored and shell-like, with an impossibly airy, melt-in-your-mouth center. What’s the secret to its light, layered flakiness? Magee swears by hand-laminating the dough, meaning instead of a mechanical sheeter doing the work, it’s a butter-on-dough-on-butter labor of love — unsalted butter with 80% fat, that is — all rolled by hand every single day. The real secret is in the flour processing and the folding, a hush-hush technique which turns out a shatteringly flaky croissant with layers of buttery splendor.
Essence Bakery Café
3830 E. Indian School Road
Thanks to Essence Bakery, you don’t have to go all the way to Paris to get an authentic French croissant. Owner and chef Eugenia Theodosopoulos trained in France for 20 years, learning from master baker Jean-Louis Clément. The result: croissants that deliver the fine balance of crunch and chew, whether biting into the butter croissant, a classic creation complete with caramel-colored striations on the outside and a cloud-like inside; the chocolate croissant, a venerable vixen that houses double chocolate amid its paper-thin layers; or the pistachio croissant, a mountain of coiled croissant dough infused with frangipane, a velvety almond cream and topped with chopped pistachio nuts. All magnifique!
4400 N. Central Ave.
To put it simply, Lux’s morning bun is the bomb. To put it not-so-simply, it’s croissant dough, expertly laminated by the skilled hands of owner and baker Katie Calahan and her team to create all those delicate, flaky layers, too many to count. Then it’s twisted and turned just so, and finished with fine sugar spiked with just the right zing of orange zest, to take it from damn good to divine. Each bite is a texture trip, an exercise in composition and contrasts, so you simultaneously get sweet, crispy, chewy, billowy, buttery, and zesty with each pull-apart mouthful. Yes, it may look all delicate and dainty, almost like a Viennoiserie rose, but it’s easy to devour — maybe even mandatory.
La Belle Vie
Wednesdays at Uptown Farmers Market
8119 E. Roosevelt St., Scottsdale (for Saturday pickup)
La Belle Vie has a loyal following. Fans line up at the farmers market hoping to be one of the lucky few to score a croissant. French-Swiss baker Nathas Kraus makes 800 per week, and they routinely sell out. The making is a three-day affair that hinges on a fine balance of temperatures (butter that’s cold, but not too cold) and techniques (laminating dough is no easy feat). The resulting croissants push the boundaries of shape and taste. Think sugar-crusted cone-shaped Rhino Croissants stuffed with caramel Baileys, crown-like Kouign Amanns (pronounced kween ah-mon) that come in flavors like apricot and apple, and Pur Beurre Croissants that live up to their buttery name.
Lior The Baker
10953 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale
The almond croissant at Lior The Baker in north Scottsdale isn’t just any almond croissant; it’s an event. It starts when you walk into the north Scottsdale bakery, a cozy spot off Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard made cozier by the smell of chocolate and challah bread and a greeting from Lior Ben-Shushan himself. He runs the bakery with his wife, Lily. The croissants are bear-claw big, a bold and billowy adventure, all flaky and studded with slivered almonds and a generous dusting of powdered sugar. Yet tucked inside is a sweet almond filling that simultaneously keeps the whole thing together and squeezes out with each bite. In short, it’s a marvel of dough meets butter meets almond joy.
4712 N. Goldwater Blvd., #110, Scottsdale
The Parisian-style bistro and wine bar Zinqué offers some impressive daily-made croissants. You’ve got your classic order, with all those light and flaky layers, available by 7 a.m. each day. There’s also a chocolate croissant, a chocolate-filled treat with a crisp, golden exterior. Finally, for fans of savory pastries, the prosciutto and gruyère croissant — a hefty, meat-and-cheese option ideal for brunch on the patio or those on the go.
Allison Young www.phoenixnewtimes.com Food & Drink/Chow Bella
2024-01-17 18:01:18 , Phoenix New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix New Times –