3 of a Kind: Creative Croissants

3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.

Croissant mash-ups soared into the spotlight in 2013, thanks in large part to Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel’s now-famous Cronut. This croissant-doughnut hybrid became such a dessert sensation that it stoked demand for similar creations across the country and beyond. Several years later, the croissant is back in the limelight, but this time chefs are having fun with the humble French pastry in its more classic form. Instead of marrying the buttery, flaky breakfast item to another pastry, the pros are tweaking croissants with cheese, sprinkles and other creative add-ins.

Birthday Cake Croissant at Union Fare, New York City

The croissant lineup at this sprawling restaurant reads like a childhood dessert wish list: cookies and cream, red velvet and, perhaps the dreamiest of all, birthday cake. The Funfetti-inspired treat has no shortage of sprinkles. Both the dough and creamy mascarpone filling are studded with a rainbow of brightly hued dots, making for a colorful rendition of a classic croissant. A coating of powdered sprinkle “fairy dust” finishes the vibrant treat.

Photo by: Patty Lee ©Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Patty Lee, Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Croissant at Crumble & Flake Patisserie, Seattle

When it came time for Neil Robertson to add a savory item to the rotation at his tiny Capitol Hill bakery, he chose to skip the standard ham-and-cheese combo in favor of something a bit more sophisticated. The James Beard nominee sought inspiration from his time at Mistral Kitchen — specifically, the smoked paprika popcorn that was served there as a happy hour snack. Robertson’s impeccably flaky croissant sings with smoky and savory flavors, thanks to a spice-infused butter and extra-sharp Tillamook cheddar cheese.

Photo by: Craftsman and Wolves ©Craftsman and Wolves

Craftsman and Wolves, Craftsman and Wolves

Chocolate-Chocolate Croissant with Churro Sugar at Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco

This sleek, modern patisserie is known for going rogue when it comes to breakfast recipes. After all, its signature dish is an egg-oozing muffin called The Rebel Within. CAW’s latest creation is a croissant that’s French in technique, but Spanish in flavor. The double-cocoa stunner incorporates Valrhona chocolate in both the dough and the generous finishing drizzle, then brings in the essence of churros with a delicate dusting of cinnamon-spiked sugar.

Photos courtesy of threadsalt, Patty Lee and Craftsman and Wolves

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