While many brittles involve standing over the stove, boiling sugar, and using a candy thermometer, this recipe wants nothing to do with such fuss. Just warm half-and-half and sugar, soak croissant slices like French toast, and bake in the oven. This scrappy idea hails from Sea Wolf bakery in Seattle, where co-owners Jesse and Kit Schumann dreamed up brittle as a way to salvage day-old croissants. Inspired by them, this salty-sweet recipe can be made with bakery croissants, sure, but also softer supermarket ones—and they don’t have to be stale either. The brittle keeps for more than a week in an airtight container, though I don’t expect you to have it around that long. Plunk a piece in ice cream and use it as a makeshift spoon. Or serve a few alongside very strong coffee and call it breakfast.
1 dozen pieces
- Heat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
- Using a serrated knife, thinly slice the croissants lengthwise—as if you were making a sandwich—into ¼-to ½-inch (6mm to 1.3cm) pieces. You should be able to get three to four pieces from each.
- Over low heat, heat the half-and-half until warm. Turn off the heat, add the sugar and salt, and stir until dissolved. Pour into a shallow bowl.
- Dip one croissant piece in the syrup and flip to coat. Gently squish the soaked piece between your fingers to squeeze out some excess—it should still be saturated, just not dripping. Transfer to one of the baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining croissant pieces, trying to group the bigger pieces on one baking sheet and the smaller pieces on another. (You might have surplus liquid.) Sprinkle each piece with sugar.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. At the 45-minute mark, check in—the smaller pieces may be ready to come out. The brittle is done when it is golden brown all over, darker around the edges, and dry to the touch.
- Cool on the baking sheet until it’s no longer hot, then peel the parchment away from the brittle (not the other way around). Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. When the brittle cools, it should be completely crisp. (If it has cooled for 15 minutes and still feels softish, just continue to bake for another 5 minutes.)