Make Garlic Knot Croissants and Live Briefly in Opulence
More than having a backyard, or easy access to a giant grocery store, or enough space in your home that you don’t use every room every day, the thing I most envy about living situations outside of New York City is counter space. The average New York City apartment, in my experience, has roughly six inches of usable counter space. This means that, in my apartment, things like rolling out pie dough or prepping a dish with many ingredients usually takes place on my living room table, or through a game of extremely nerve-wracking kitchen-implement Tetris. So when I had the opportunity to stay for a while in a house outside the city that had, to me, a king’s amount of counter space, I came with a list of space-intensive cooking projects I wanted to accomplish. At the top of that list was croissants.
The process of laminating dough to make croissants isn’t particularly difficult—you’re mostly rolling things out and chilling them and rolling them out again—but it is both time- and space-intensive. Paige Grandjean’s croissant recipe can be done in a day, but for maximum flavor and best results, making it over three days is better. And if you’re going to all the trouble of making croissants at home, you may as well do it the long way. You’ve basically already committed.
So, on day three, in my newfound palace made of counters, I rolled out the croissant dough, trimmed it, and cut it into long triangles, per Grandjean’s instructions. But after I had finished shaping the croissants, I realized I had all these little scraps of dough from trimming the dough slab. Since it was a dough that took three days to make, I wasn’t about to waste any of it. Then I remembered some really good garlic knots I had had years ago at Roberta’s in Brooklyn, made of puff pastry rather than pizza dough. The laminated dough might work similarly, right? I decided the leftovers would be croissant garlic knots.
I combined and chilled the scraps for about half an hour in the fridge, just to make sure that the hard work of lamination—making many layers of dough and butter—wouldn’t go to waste. Then I rolled the scraps out again, cut them into rough rectangles, about six inches long and two inches across. I minced four cloves of garlic and put them in a little pot with three tablespoons of good butter—my preference is salted Kerrygold—to melt the butter. Then I brushed the rectangles with the garlic butter mixture, rolled them up a la pain au chocolat, brushed the outside with the same egg-milk wash that Grandjean uses for her classic croissants, and baked them in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I didn’t let them proof, which meant they didn’t rise quite as high as the original croissants, but they still worked really well.
They were the best garlic knots I have ever had. They were garlic knots fit for the end of the world, which is maybe where we’re at. If you love croissants but have more of a savory tooth than a sweet one, they may be the answer to your every prayer. They were so good that I immediately started the process of making the croissant dough again, this time exclusively for croissant garlic knots. Or are they garlic knot croissants? Knoissants? Cro-knots? Whatever you call them, you should make them with leftover croissant dough. In my opinion they’re worth the trouble of relocating for more counter space.