I take croissants very seriously, as I believe they are the world’s most perfect food. There is no better combination of flaky dough and greasy butter than exists in this universe.
So when I treated myself to a six-week trip to France, I made sure to join a croissant making class in Paris. As someone who has tried and failed to make the pastry at home, I needed to know from a professional what I was doing wrong. That’s how I ended up at La Cuisine Paris to learn how to make the perfect croissant. The secret? Use high-quality European butter—it makes all the difference.
I wasn’t alone in my quest to discover the secret behind the perfect croissant. In my class, there was a newlywed couple, an older woman who was taking a break from her husband to learn a new skill, and a very sweet family from Texas. In between rolling the dough and learning shaping techniques, we talked about how we dreaded not being able to enjoy France's warm breads and flavorful cheeses when we return home.
The mom from the Texan family said nonchalantly that she knew where to get croissants back in the states that were almost as good. Consider us hooked! The group needed to know more!
“Just go to the freezer section at Trader Joe’s!”
I’m sorry, what? You’re telling me that frozen croissants from America’s favorite grocery store hold a candle to the pride and joy of French boulangeries? Do I look like I was born yesterday?
When we questioned her, she doubled down. “Trust me,” she insisted, “buy them when you get home and you’ll see what I mean.”
On my first grocery trip back home, I walked through Trader Joe’s and spotted the croissants out of the corner of my eye. Though still skeptical, I threw a box in my shopping cart. Trader Joe’s has three frozen croissants—mini croissants, chocolate croissants, and almond croissants. I opted to try the mini version ($4.99 for a box of eight croissants).
The next morning, I took a mini croissant out of the freezer and put it in my toaster oven for 20 minutes. No proofing necessary. Though it was frozen, the dough was so buttery I had to wash my hands afterwards (that was the first good sign). I watched it puff up, get golden brown, and thought it sure looks like a Parisian croissant. My house smelled like a bakery! The croissant glistened with butter. Sure, it looked great, but would it be as good as what I just spent six weeks overeating?
When I tell you my world changed the moment I bit into this croissant, I am being both overly dramatic and entirely accurate. The inside was doughy yet had distinct layers, it was crispy on the outside, and so buttery you could moisturize your face with the amount of full-fat butter covering it in the best way possible. It tasted amazing. More than amazing! I was transported back to my Parisian balcony.
Every morning, when the toaster oven beeps to let me know that my croissant is ready, I am taken back to one of the most influential trips of my life. I close my eyes and savor my breakfast treat—I am amazed that it tastes as good as it does. Don’t believe me? Throw a box in your shopping cart and see for yourself. Actually, you’ll want to snag two boxes, because you’re going to have trouble not eating the entire box. Trust me.