The crackling bronzed shell; the flaky, gentle layers within; the pure scent of butter as you tear it apart—a good croissant is a thing of beauty. Like a plain bagel or pizza margherita, croissants are simple creatures, yet deceptively complex; only the best bakeries truly master the form. Here are twenty across the country that are turning out some of the best croissants around. —Carey Jones

Food & Wine

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