Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie Bowl Recipe

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Green Smoothie Bowls for Winter

You are looking at my current breakfast bliss. Green smoothie bowls have become a favorite of mine, and starting my days with these nutritious, delicious, energy-filled bowls shines a bright winter sunlight on my mornings.

Surely you’ve heard about green smoothies and how they’re taking the Internet world by storm. The idea is to add greens and various superfoods to your fruit smoothies to make them extra good for you, and to give you a headstart on your daily consumption of fresh produce. Beyond the inherent nutritional benefits of the green smoothie, aficionados report a halo effect that steers them toward healthier food choices throughout the day.

I was very tempted to get on board, but I’ve always been more inclined to eat my calories than drink them, so I could never quite warm up to the green smoothie. That is, until I discovered the concept of the green smoothie bowl, wherein you give it a thicker consistency so you can eat it with a spoon and — perhaps more important — sprinkle on all kinds of goodies for added texture.

How to build a green smoothie bowl

There are endless ways you can make a green smoothie bowl, but I typically build mine like this, with an emphasis on immune-boosting ingredients:

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Green Smoothie Bowl: Ingredients

  • A foundation of greens, ideally a mix, and in rotation to maximize the benefits: spinach, Romaine lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, tetragon, beet leaves, parsley, celery leaves, cilantro…
  • A couple of fruits for flavor: many of the smoothie recipes I see out there rely heavily on tropical fruit (mangoes, pineapple) or berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) but for my wintertime green smoothie bowls I try to favor more seasonal fruit such as pears, apples, kiwis, and tangerines.
  • A banana (preferably quite ripe, as in the photo) for sweetness;
  • Half an avocado and/or some coconut butter for the creaminess, healthy fats, and staying power;
  • A piece of ginger for flavor, plus a boost to my energy and immunity;
  • Citrus juice for flavor, vitamins, and alkalinizing action.

You blend all of these together with a few ice cubes (or frozen cubes of puréed vegetables if you have leftovers from your baby switching to solids) until you get something that’s a bit like soft-serve ice cream, incredibly flavorful and zesty. The formula is quite flexible of course, and you can play with it according to your preferences and what’s available to you; for instance, I like to throw in a couple of small carrots, a stick of celery, roasted winter squash, or a piece of raw beet if I have them on hand.

Favorite toppings for my green smoothie bowl

As for toppings, these are the ones I particularly like:

Green Smoothie Bowl: Toppings

  • Raw cacao beans, which I buy whole and chop finely, or roasted cacao nibs;
  • Flax meal, i.e. flax seeds that I grind fresh weekly in a coffee grinder I dedicate to seeds and spices;
  • Unsweetened grated coconut that I toast in the oven (about 8 minutes at 180°C, watching closely and stirring halfway through);
  • Dried berries, such as blueberries, cherries, or cranberries, for chewiness;
  • A touch of matcha (green tea powder) for color and caffeine!
  • Chia seeds for the texture and omega 3 fatty acids;
  • Fresh bee pollen (not vegan) for the flavor and the immune-boosting qualities (I buy this fresh from a beekeeper and keep it in my freezer);
  • Cinnamon, freshly ground with my fab grater (I use fresh cinnamon from Cinnamon Hill).

The whole thing is very quick to make, especially if you clean your greens ahead of time (see how I keep my greens fresh). Then it’s just a matter of peeling a couple of fruits and throwing them into the blender; if you’re able to invest in a high-speed blender (see more below about the one I own) you can just toss everything in without doing any chopping.

And with that, you can kiss the winter doldrums goodbye, and keep those energy-sapping colds at bay!

Watch me demo my green smoothie bowl!

I like this recipe so much I’ve made it into a video. Got 1:40? Then watch me prepare my morning smoothie bowl in my Paris kitchen!

Join the conversation

Have you hopped onto the green smoothie train yet? Do you have a favorite recipe to share? Or do you like green smoothie bowls better, and what are your favorite ingredient and topping combos?

Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie Bowls

About my high-speed blender

After years and years (and years) of yearning for a high-performance blender — to make really smooth soups, quick sauces and marinades, nut butters and milks, and of course smoothies — I have finally gotten one. Based on my research, I have picked an Optimum blender from Australian brand Froothie as an alternative to the better-known Vitamix or Blendtec. It’s just as high-performing, if not more so; the Optimum is a 2,611-watt blender with 6 stainless steel blades and a single 2-liter (2-quart) jug that works for both dry and liquid ingredients.

I have been (ecstatically!) happy with it, and have entered into a partnership with the brand, so if you’re interested in buying a Froothie blender for yourself, you can use the promo code CD-Optimum-Blender-20 to get $20 off your purchase of the Optimum 9200A on the US store and it comes on top of the $150 rebate already offered on the site. (It will apply to the Canadian site very soon.) The same code will get you 20€ off the Optimum 9400 or 9200A on the French site, the Belgian site, or the Luxembourg site.

My beloved Froothie blender

My beloved Froothie blender

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Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie Bowl Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves 2.

Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie Bowl Recipe

Ingredients

    For the smoothie base:
  • The juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
  • 2 cups greens, from your choice of: spinach, Romaine lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, beet leaves, parsley, celery leaves, cilantro...
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • 1 tangerine or clementine, peeled
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut butter
  • If you prefer a drinkable consistency for your green smoothie:
  • 240 ml (1 cup) flavorful liquid such as almond milk, rice milk, coconut water, or 120 ml (1/2 cup) coconut milk or yogurt thinned with 120 ml (1/2 cup) water
  • For topping, your choice of:
  • Raw cacao beans, finely chopped, or cacao nibs
  • Flax meal (i.e. freshly ground flax seeds)
  • Toasted grated coconut (unsweetened)
  • Dried berries (unsweetened)
  • Matcha (green tea powder)
  • Chia seeds
  • Fresh bee pollen
  • Freshly ground cinnamon (I use fresh cinnamon from Cinnamon Hill)

Instructions

  1. If your blender is not a high-speed blender, chop the smoothie ingredients into bite-sized pieces, including the greens.
  2. At the bottom of the blender, place 3 ice cubes with the lemon juice, ginger, and greens at the bottom of the blender. Blend well.
  3. Add in the banana, avocado, kiwi, tangerine, and coconut butter.
  4. Green Smoothie Bowl: In Blender
  5. Blend again until completely smooth. The consistency should be like soft-serve ice cream.
  6. Green Smoothie Bowl: Blended
  7. If you prefer a drinkable consistency for your green smoothie, add in the liquid and process again until fully blended.
  8. Divide among two bowls, sprinkle with the toppings of your choice, and enjoy !
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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes are copyright Clotilde Dusoulier.

Green Smoothie Bowls for Winter

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Chapon Invites You to Taste of Paris! (A Giveaway)

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Taste of Paris: Chapon want to invite you!

Will you be in Paris sometime between February 12 and 14? Because that’s when Taste of Paris 2016 will be held, inside the amazing exhibition hall of the Grand Palais. This festival aims to showcase the best of French gastronomy, with demos and tastings allowing you to discover some of the most exciting chefs and producers in the country.

French bean-to-bar* chocolatier Chapon will be there with his chocolate mousse bar (what’s not to like?) and has offered to give away two tickets for one session from Friday Feb 12 to Sunday Feb 14, at the time and date of your choosing (subject to availability).

The lucky winner will also be able to pick up a little goodie bag containing the newest Chapon products, to be retrieved from the Bar à Mousse.

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To participate, just fill out the form below. You have until Tuesday, February 9, midnight Paris time (that’s 6pm EST) to participate. You are also welcome to like Chapon and Taste of Paris on Facebook. On Wednesday I will select a random winner and get in touch to get their information and session preferences, so make sure your email address is correct. Good luck!

Enter your information to participate!
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* More about bean-to-bar chocolate, and about Paris chocolate shops.

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Seasonal Produce Calendar

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Seasonal Produce Calendar

Shopping seasonally is the very first step to cook flavorful, healthy meals for your family and your friends, and save money doing so. But since pretty much everything is available year-round these days (hello carbon footprint!), it can be hard to know what’s really in season and what you should be looking for when you shop.

I’ve put together this handy guide to seasonal produce to tell you what fruits and vegetables are in season when, but also how long they will stay fresh, so you can minimize waste. With this information in mind you can compose a smart selection of produce on your weekly market run, with a few fragile items to eat within a couple of days, with sturdier ones that will last until the end of the week or longer.

To download your FREE seasonal produce calendar, fill in the form below!














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Easy French Hot Chocolate (and a Massage!)

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Three-Ingredient French Hot Chocolate

If you’re one of the millions of lovebirds who embrace Valentine’s Day, you are no doubt in the throes of trying to decide just what to do this year that will be fun and unusual and romantic.

May I put in a vote? Don’t go out.

It’s Restaurant Goer 101 that Valentine’s Day is among the worst days of the year to eat out, and I have a much, much better idea for you: stay cooped up at home, and cook something simple but delicious.

My menu suggestion would be:

  • Start with beet hummus: it’s super easy, it’s pink, and you can spread it on little toasts or cucumber slices for one another;
  • Move on to spatchcocked chicken: it’s a fun performance-style recipe to make together, the resulting chicken is finger-licking good, plus there’s something ever-so-slightly suggestive about the name, and the way the chicken is splayed out in the pan (made you click!). Serve with a green salad to keep things easy and light — just be sure to check your teeth afterward;
  • Finish the meal with my three-ingredient French hot chocolate.

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Three-Ingredient Hot Chocolate

I probably don’t have to sell you hard on the idea, but if you need more details, let me offer this: it is a three-ingredient recipe that takes all of ten minutes to make, and yields the most luxurious French-style drinking chocolate, intensely flavored and velvety smooth.

The secret to a really, really good cup of French hot chocolate is to use actual chocolate, rather than cocoa powder, for a super creamy consistency. Some recipes call for cream, too, but that can feel like a brick in your stomach (not the intended purpose on V-Day or any other day) so I like to bolster both texture and flavor with almond butter instead, which makes it fully vegan. Such a simple formula, you’ll be amazed by how well it turns out. I’m sorry. This?

Pouring hot chocolate

So. After this lovely dinner that you did not slave over, and once you have that cup of hot chocolate in hand, it’s time for the gift, right? How would your special someone feel about a massage, one in which you actually know what you’re doing?

Maxence and I are total fans of massages, and we used to go out and get professional ones on a regular basis. But then, you know: kids. So now, we chiefly rely on each other when we have tension and aches from (pick one) sitting at the computer all day, bending over the stove or tripod, wearing babies in carriers, hauling groceries home, or schlepping bikes for pre-schoolers who have changed their mind about riding their bike.

And this is where Melt: Massage for Couples comes in: it’s a series of videos that teaches you professional techniques and routines for a fabulous massage as instructed by Denis Merkas, an experienced massage therapist from Australia. No special equipment necessary; hot chocolate optional.

Melt: Massage for Couples

The video training is broken down into short clips that show Denis demonstrating the different tips and tricks on his wife Emma, but before you scrunch up your face and think “Eww!” let me reassure you: the tone is 100% professional and it’s all filmed tastefully, with zero awkward moments, focusing strictly on the massaging technique. (If you want to get a sense of the style, watch this free intro course.)

So when Denis got in touch to ask if I would help him promote these training videos in preparation for Valentine’s Day, I was instantly on board. I love the idea of giving experience gifts rather than stuff, and this is the gift that keeps on giving: you could teach yourself the beginner routine secretly in preparation for Valentine’s Day, then watch it again and the remaining modules as a couple (fun idea for a date night in!), and finally benefit from that shared learning for the years and years I hope you get to spend together.

Denis is running a Valentine’s Day special giving you lifetime access to the entire series of 17 techniques and 3 full routines for US$89 (reduced from US$147) until end of day February 14. So consider treating yourself and your special someone to that amazingly easy French hot chocolate, plus an unforgettable massage session. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Three-Ingredient French Hot Chocolate

Join the conversation!

Do you make your own hot chocolate? What’s your favorite recipe? And do you enjoy massages — the giving, the receiving, or both?

This post is sponsored by Melt: Massage for Couples. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies who support Chocolate & Zucchini.

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Super Easy French Hot Chocolate (and a Massage!)

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Serves 4.

Super Easy French Hot Chocolate (and a Massage!)

Ingredients

  • 200 grams (7 ounces) good-quality dark chocolate, 60-75% cacao content, such as Manjari 64% couverture chocolate
  • 480 ml (2 cups) non-dairy milk, such as rice mill, almond milk, or oat milk
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) all-natural unsweetened almond butter

Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate finely with a chef's knife (or in a food processor or blender) and place in a mixing bowl. (The chocolate I use comes in coin-like pieces, you win! No chopping necessary.)
  2. French Hot Chocolate
  3. Bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat. Pour one third the milk into the chocolate.
  4. French Hot Chocolate: Milk poured in
  5. Whisk well until you get a smooth and shiny consistency.
  6. French Hot Chocolate: Whisking
  7. Whisk in the remaining almond milk in two additions, then the almond butter.
  8. Divide among four cups (see note) and serve.

Notes

  • If it's just the two of you (as it probably should on Valentine's Day), reserve the extra two servings in the refrigerator. They will make fabulous chocolate creams the next day, served cold and optionally sprinkled with crushed butter cookies or some granola.
  • You can use the nut butter of your choice here; hazelnut butter works beautifully for a Nutella-style hot chocolate!
  • If you like liqueur in your hot chocolate, jazz this up further by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons amaretto (almond-flavored) or Grand Marnier (orange-flavored) to taste, as you add the almond butter.

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes are copyright Clotilde Dusoulier.

Three-Ingredient French Hot Chocolate

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February 2016 Desktop Calendar

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February 2016 Desktop Calendar

At the beginning of every month, I am offering a new wallpaper to apply on the desktop of your computer, with a food-related picture and a calendar of the current month.

The desktop calendar is available in two versions: a US-friendly version that features Sunday as the first day of the week, and a French version (shown above) that complies with international standards, featuring Monday as the first day of the week.

Our February 2016 desktop calendar is a photo of my divine raw chocolate truffles, a super easy treat to whip up, and oh-so-delicious. The perfect gift idea for Valentine’s Day!

Instructions to get your calendar are below.

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Here’s how it works:

1- Click on the following links to get the US version (weeks begin on Sunday) or to get the French version (weeks begin on Monday); each of these links will open a new window (or tab) displaying the wallpaper, in the appropriate format for your screen size.

2- Right-click (or ctrl-click for some Mac users) on the image, and choose the option that says, “Set as Desktop Background”, “Use as Desktop Picture,” or something to that effect (exact wording will depend on the browser you use).

3- If the image does not fit your desktop background neatly, you may have to go to your preference panel (on a Mac: System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop; on Windows: Control Panel > Display > Desktop) and choose “Fit to screen” as the display mode of your background image.

4- Enjoy and see you next month!

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Best of January

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Dawn in the Sacré-Coeur gardens

2016 is off to a delicious start for me, and I hope it is the same for you! Here are some highlights from the month. Please share your own in the comments below: I want to know what you’ve been up to, in the kitchen and elsewhere!

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Best of January

• I am perpetually blown away by the overall quality of baguettes in Paris. Just recently I walked into a semi-random corner bakery to appease my son’s late morning munchies, and walked out with the beauty pictured above. It was every bit as good as it looked, and as I pulled it apart for my son and his playground buddies to share, I reflected on how lucky they are to grow up thinking this is what normal bread is like. What’s the one local food you’re pleased your children (real or prospective) get to experience daily? (And if you don’t have access to a good French bakery, though, check out my recipe for stellar homemade baguettes.)

• I’ve had a couple of delicious lunches at Soul Kitchen, a charming coffee shop in the back of Montmartre that serves a super fresh, daily-changing fare with a vegetarian slant. It’s the kind of place so lovely you want to keep it in your pocket like a pretty pebble. Pictured above is a sunny veggie chili with homemade cornbread, and a side salad with quinoa, chickpeas, and orange segments.

• I’ve been wanting to improve my food photography skills, and have been learning A TON from the Minimalist Baker’s Food Photography School. Dana is a generous and relatable instructor, and the courses are broken down into short, easy-to-digest videos, so you can commit to watching just a couple every night — at least that’s what I’ve been doing. The lessons cover a lot of ground, from composing your shot and choosing the right angle and props, to taking action shots, setting the mood, and editing your photos, and it’s been amazingly enlightening and empowering. If you’re interested, you can sign up here. And you’ll have to let me know if you see a difference in my shots! (See my top resources page to see what photo equipment I use.)

• On a day that my son didn’t have school, we got to do a little baking together, which we don’t do nearly as much as I wish we did: he’s only recently reached the right age and maturity for it, but in the meantime a younger brother has been thrown into the mix (not literally, don’t call social services) and my good intentions got lost in the shuffle. But that day he and I baked a banana chocolate marble cake, and it was the purrr-fect project for four-hand baking: we each had our own batter bowl, one chocolate, one banana, and did everything in parallel. I’ll be sharing the recipe soon! (Plus, it’s vegan and gluten-free.) Is there a particular recipe you like to make with your own kids/nephews/godchildren?

Find my top Paris spots on this map of favorites, and follow me on Instagram to see many more food shots and Paris recommendations throughout the month!

Recent reads

Vivre heureux dans un petit espace Better Than Before Pretty Girls The Food Lab

More recommended reads »

5 Cool Links

  1. I’ve signed up for this wonderful 31-day drawing challenge on CreativeBug, and have been having a blast with it. I’ve always thought of myself as average with a pencil and paper, but I enjoy the creative outlet so much. And you should see the chairs I’ve drawn! ^^
  2. The 100-Hour Rule states that you can become fairly competent in any field if you can invest just one hundred hours in it. 100 hours sounds so achievable! What skill do you most want to develop in 2016?
  3. I’ve just discovered the concept of the Pecha Kucha, a format for short presentations — just 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. Have you ever come across this? There are Pecha Kucha Nights hosted around the world, and you can view some of the best presentations shown.
  4. In Paris without a centime? Here are fun things to do for free in the city.
  5. If you read French, check out the 1-minute project: every day in 2016, a new and inspiring idea is presented that takes just one minute to grasp (but possibly more to implement).

Follow me on Twitter and like the C&Z Page on Facebook for many more links throughout the month.

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Perfect Almond Croissants Recipe

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Perfect Almond Croissants

Croissants aux Amandes

You will find almond croissants in most all French bakeries. Originally devised as a way to pimp leftover croissants and offer them for sale again the next day, they are simply croissants filled with crème d’amandes (almond cream), sprinkled with sliced almonds, and baked again until the cream has set and the elbows of the croissant have crisped up.

Croissants aux amandes have long been a favorite of mine. When my father took my sister and me to the Latin Quarter to buy bande dessinées (graphic novels) with him on Saturday mornings, he would buy us one each from a now defunct bakery-cum-café, and this was as much a treat as the weekly harvest of comic books.

But bakery-bought almond croissants are often too sweet and too rich for me — after eating one you can’t imagine being hungry, like, ever again — so I’ve taken to baking my own, ecstatic to discover how extraordinarily easy it is to make perfect almond croissants at home.

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Perfect Almond Croissants: Ingredients

The first step is procuring good-quality croissants, and not eating them. That’s hard. But once you’ve overcome that initial hurdle, all you have to do the next day is brush them with a light syrup, garnish them with a super simple almond cream, add a sprinkle of sliced almonds, and slip them into the oven.

As the croissants bake, the syrup you’ve soaked them in prevents the shell from burning, while the almond cream slowly sets, creating a slight crust on top, and a moist, buttery filling inside. Said filling is likely to ooze out a bit, forming irresistibly crisp fins on the sides.

Perfect Almond Croissants

Croissants aux amandes are a perfect make-ahead item for brunch: you can buy the croissants the day before, and prepare the syrup and the almond filling, then simply assemble and bake them in the morning. They are delicious slightly warm from the oven, or at room temperature.

Although the traditional version is remarkable in its divine simplicity, I have toyed with different variations, flavoring the syrup with rose or orange blossom, or, most notably, making chocolate almond croissants, adding cacao powder and chocolate chips to the filling. I recommend it.

Join the conversation!

Have you ever had what you would call the perfect almond croissant? Where was it and what was it like? Do you have access to good-quality French croissants where you live?

Almond Croissants: The Chocolate Version!

Almond Croissants: The Chocolate Version!

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Almond Croissants Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves 8.

Almond Croissants Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 day-old croissants, about 70 grams (2.5 oz) each
  • 70 grams (1 cup) sliced almonds
  • Confectioner's sugar
  • For the syrup:
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
  • For the almond filling (crème d'amande):
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 100g (1 cup) almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large organic eggs

Instructions

  1. Prepare the syrup: combine 240 ml (1 cup) water, the sugar and rum, if using, in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for a minute, stirring to dissolve. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Perfect Almond Croissants: Simple syrup
  3. Prepare the almond filling: in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor, combine the sugar, almond flour, salt, and butter, and mix until well blended.
  4. Perfect Almond Croissants: Making the almond cream
  5. Add in the almond extract and the eggs one by one, and process until creamy. (You can also mix the almond cream by hand with a spatula.)
  6. Perfect Almond Croissants: Almond cream
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and have a cookie sheet ready.
  8. Using a bread knife, slice the croissants open, leaving a "hinge" on one side so they're not completely split in two.
  9. Working with one croissant at a time, brush generously with the syrup, coating the outside, inside, and ends; the croissant should be quite moist.
  10. Perfect Almond Croissants: Brushing syrup
  11. Spread the inside with two tablespoons almond filling. Place on the prepared cookie sheet, and repeat with the remaining croissants.
  12. Perfect Almond Croissants: Filling the croissants
  13. Spread the top of each croissant with another tablespoon almond filling, and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
  14. Perfect Almond Croissants: Ready for baking
  15. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the almond cream is set and golden. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve, slightly warm or at room temperature.
  16. Perfect Almond Croissants: Just baked

Notes

  • The recipe can be halved if you have fewer croissants to fill.
  • You can make the syrup and the crème d'amandes up to a day in advance: transfer into (separate) airtight containers, and refrigerate.
  • If you'd like to make chocolate almond croissants (and who would blame you?) add 3 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder to the almond filling, sprinkle 1 tablespoon chocolate chips inside each croissant (you'll need 90 g or 3 ounces total), and dust the baked croissants with unsweetened cacao powder.

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes are copyright Clotilde Dusoulier.

Perfect Almond Croissant

This post was first published in March 2006 and fully updated in January 2016.

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