Food, Fun, NYC, Sweets

The Quest to the Best- Almond Croissant Edition

Many people have hunted for the best pizza, or cupcake in NYC, but there are too many variations, opinions, and opinions.  I personally like thin crispy pizza, but also like several different types of toppings.  One of my favorites is Cafe Fiorello in Lincoln Center (although prices have risen and quality has declined).  As far as cupcakes are concerned, I do not like a frosting too sugary, or a cake too dry, so I prefer Molly’s cupcakes.

One treat I love to eat, but do not bake on my own because of the long process is the croissant.  In general they are supposed to be light and airy, but also buttery and crispy.  My favorite variety is an almond croissant, but it is nearly impossible to make perfectly which is where the quest begins.

Below I have rated some of the croissants I have tried over the past TWO years so I do not know if they remain the same today as some reviews are older than others.

My only rule is that the bakery must have an A health rating.  I am looking for a light and puffy croissant that is crispy on the outside preferably with almonds and powdered sugar dusted on top.  Then the almond paste inside must not be too overpowering or too sweet.  There must not be too much crammed inside otherwise the croissant is too heavy and ruins the flakiness.  I have listed the price as well as a rating from 1-5 (1 being the lowest).

NYC

Whole Foods– Worst choice by far.  Inexpensive probably only because they took the butter croissants and threw some almonds on top.  Failed to put any additional almond paste inside. I did not give it a zero only to leave room for something that may be even worse.  1/5

Sugar and Plumm $4- Very heavy sweet and buttery, but flat I believe as a result of the added almond paste baked atop. One of the most expensive on the market.  This receives a high rating as it used to be a favorite until returning a year later and it seems things have changed a bit.  4/5

Ceci- cela– Tasty with a nice amount of almonds and powdered sugar on top.  Too buttery weighing down the whole pastry. 3.5/5 $3.75

Ceci-cela

Ceci-cela

Ceci- Cela

Ceci- Cela

Breads Bakery NYC– I am a little confused with this one as the website shows a very different croissant than the one I received at MadEats.  I was shocked to see that the croissant retained its crisp outer flakes in the humid NY air.  It was well balanced if anything a bit overcooked for the tail ends and not super puffy.  They are known for chocolate babka which I will have to try in my return visit but the biggest drawback was the price at a whopping $5! 4/5

Breads

Breads

Breads

Breads

Sarabeths– nice puffiness on top, but there was an unnecessary glaze on top and only a few real almonds on top.  Also too dry overall. Went to the location at the Chelsea Market a year later and had a completely different croissant still not very pleasant for claiming to have one of the best bakeries around.2.5/5 $2.75

Sarabaeths (Central Park South 2013)

Sarabaeths (Central Park South 2013)

Sarabeths Bakery (Chelsea) 2014

Sarabeths Bakery (Chelsea) 2014

Trader Joes $1 each (comes in a box of 4) These are the best for the price.  You must provide your own powdered sugar although it is recommended to sprinkle in the instructions they are amazing without.  The only downside is they must sit out overnight before baking to rise.  The best part is that you can have them fresh out of the oven.  The almond paste inside is perfectly sweet and just the right amount.  I think these are the real winners. 4/5

Trader Joes

Trader Joes

Bonsignour– only makes chocolate almond croissants which were okay.  Decent puff.  They had way too much almond paste that was too gooey and the added chocolate made it too sweet. 2.5/5 $2.50

chocolate almond croissant from Bonsignour

Bonsignour

Maison Kayser– very high hopes as they have a whole page on their website dedicated to croissants and they are an international business which started in France, the criossant epicenter (I guess that is what happens when you franchise).  Petrossian is much better, but good almond paste inside. 3.5/5 $3.75

Maison Kayser

Maison Kayser

 

Dominique Ansel $3.50- Very good puff and crisp on the outside with a flaky buttery inside and good ration of almond paste.  There was unnecessary almond paste baked on top of the pastry.  4/5

Dominique Ansel

Dominique Ansel

 

Croissanteria– 4.5/5 The hunt would not be complete without going to the eatery with croissant in its name!  This little eclectic spot was a trek to find but so worth it.  They are constanty putting small batches of croissants and pastries in the oven so I was able to get one hot out of the oven.  They dusted the top in powdered sugar and nestled it in its own little basket.  The only thing I did not like was the clump of almond fillng on top although it did lend to beautiful presentation. Expensive at $4 plus tax!

Croissanteria

Croissanteria

Croissanteria

Croissanteria

 

Petrossian– practically perfect in every way.  Flaky and crisp on the outside sprinkled with the right amount of powdered sugar and almonds.  The inside was remarkably light with the right amount of almond paste. 5/5 $3.50

petrossian

petrossian

petrossian

petrossian

petrossian

petrossian

 

Francois Payard Bakery AKA FPB- Another one that was good but not great.  Difficult to have the perfect Petrossian right across the street.  This one lost its puff which makes the pastry a little monotone (not enough contrast between the crispy outer shell and the gooey innards.) 3.5/5 $3.50

BEYOND

Benjamin Bakery Orlando Florida -This was extremely flaky and just the right balance of powered sugar to almond paste ratio.  Made very well even in the humid weather of Florida.  Expensive costing a total of $4.25 which makes it lose some points as their rent cant be more expensive than any location in NYC.  Also not as buttery and sweet as some which I think makes it better and more authentic, but that is a matter of personal taste. 4.5/5

 

Euro Bake World at Lake Eola Farmers Market- These fresh made croissants were good not great.  I give them a few sympathy points as they were so sweet and claimed they are the best at the market (they were the only bakers at the market).  It lacked flakiness and was more chewy than anything.  They also clearly baked a croissant cut it in half and filled it with almond paste instead of filling before baking. I recall it cost $3 and they are opening a storefront soon.  I would like to try some of their other breads and pastries. 3/5IMG_0350

 

Olde Hearth Bread Co.- West End Market Orlando/Winter Park Florida- Good puff and good price.  Benjamin’s was better but twice the price.  Another more savory version of the treat which is fine but this one was not buttery enough for me.  Basically very bready like it needed more flavor.  I must say their other products are worth a go and they provide bread for many restaurants in the Orlando area.

Olde Hearth Bread Co.

Olde Hearth Bread Co.

 

Bakeshop– Prague, Czech Republic- Yes I found it the perfect almond croissant.  Well I do not know if it was a combination of the perfect trip or the fact that it was a great croissant.  I say that because it was not too sweet and not too buttery.  It had perfect flaky layers, and the almond filling was mysteriously placed inside atop a sweet and crusty almond topping.  They came in two sizes as well! mini 39kc($1.93) standard 75kc ($3.72) 5/5

Prague Bakeshop

Prague Bakeshop

Prague Bakeshop

Prague Bakeshop

 

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