Surprisingly Good: Grocery Store Croissants

I consider myself to be a bit of a pastry snob; after all, I know how to make all of it, and most of it well. Of course, knowing HOW to make croissants and actually wanting to do so on an 80F summer day are different things. I’ve been having a ridiculous croissant craving lately, specifically for the croissants amandines from Le Panier in Seattle. Since I haven’t yet managed to bribe any Seattlites (Seattleites?) into mailing me a few, I’ve been making do here and there. Keep in mind that I’m stuck in Burger Town, USA, so the idea of an actual Bakery that makes actual Pastry is… well, it seems like a business opportunity for me, doesn’t it?

Panera’s got croissants, but like most things Panera does, they’re only fair to middling, and they obscure the dough in so much glaze it’s quite impossible to tell whether it’s actually good or not. (NB: I don’t really care for their pain au chocolat.)

Trader Joe’s does croissants too, and some of their pastries are reasonably edible, so I thought I’d give those a try. I picked up a pack of pain au chocolat and, well. Let’s just say they were disappointing. Greasy, no real butter flavor, and the texture was more like a dinner roll than like a properly laminated croissant. I ate them all anyway — in the name of science, you know.

So, still in desperation, I had my husband pick up miniature croissants (or, as he calls them, “crescent rolls,” which is a whole ‘nother topic about how the Pillsbury canned dough tastes like chemicals, but anyway) from Country Market, our local chain-ish grocery store. My hopes were not high, but as it turns out, they’re actually pretty good. Judging by the packaging, I think they arrive in-store frozen, which is probably their saving grace. You can actually taste the butter, and there is some toothsome flakiness to be had. Not much, mind you, but some!

I’ve been filling them with peanut butter, or Nutella, or smoked salmon and horseradish, all of which have proven tasty — but the croissant with peanut butter plus a big glass of chocolate milk? Well, it’s as close to pastry heaven as I’m likely to get without doing it myself, here in Armpit, Michigan.

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