Caterpillar Croissants

"To be honest I did not know what these were going to look like before I started them. I had a vague concept and started googling odd bread creations to get inspired. That’s when I stumbled upon pastry chef John Ralley. He creates some really beautiful pastries and I reached out to him regarding how he creates his multicolored creations. One of his secrets? Food coloring and a layer of pastry devoid of leaving agents! This tip opened up a fun new world for me and I set out to try my hand at the wonderful world of bread! Forewarning: Bread is NOT forgiving, and I had plenty of baked blowouts and some really odd results before I perfected this method. So, try to keep a cool head and remember, it's just food and you're doing this for fun! (At least that's what I tell myself when I'm on the brink of tears after a kitchen catastrophe.)"
photo by ChristineMcConnell photo by ChristineMcConnell
photo by ChristineMcConnell
photo by ChristineMcConnell photo by ChristineMcConnell
photo by ChristineMcConnell photo by ChristineMcConnell
photo by ChristineMcConnell photo by ChristineMcConnell
photo by ChristineMcConnell photo by ChristineMcConnell
Ready In:
8hrs 55mins
25 Croissants of varying sizes




  • Black Dough Directions:

  • In a glass bowl combine food color, water, milk and sugar. Whisk vigorously.
  • In a separate bowl combine flours and salt. Pour dry ingredients, wet ingredients and butter into a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low roughly five minutes until dough forms. (If dough is too dry and you see crumbs not incorporated after five minutes, you can add a tablespoon more of milk or if it's clearly too sticky you can add a tablespoon of flour.).
  • Once the dead dough (Just a way of calling dough free of leavening agents) is mixed, place in a zip lock bag in a cool place until ready to use.
  • White Dough Directions:

  • Repeat Black Dough Directions.
  • Green Dough Direction:

  • Repeat Black Dough Directions.
  • Croissant Directions:

  • In a glass bowl allow the yeast to activate in the warm water and sugar for at least five minutes. Meanwhile mix the flours and salt in a separate bowl. Heat 2 cups of milk on the stove or microwave making sure it's no hotter than 110 degrees. In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix the butter milk and yeast. Pour in the flour mixture and mix on low for about five minutes until dough has formed.
  • Remove from mixer and place in a greased bowl covered with a damp cloth for about an hour.
  • Prepare the butter sheet: Beat the butter in a stand mixer with the flour until very light and fluffy. Spread out on a large sheet of parchment about 1/8 of an inch thick and roughly 8X14 inches. Cover with parchment and place in refrigerator to set.
  • Remove from fridge and allow to warm just a bit before using.
  • Once dough has risen, punch it down and roll it out on a large clean surface dusted with flour. Roll out into a roughly 16X16" inch square. Place the butter sheet on one half and cover and press the edges with the other side of the dough. Make sure the butter is soft enough for you to fold, but not so warm is tries to escape. Fold one end 1/4 the length towards the center and do the same on the opposite side, followed by folding that in half one more time to create a book like shape (See image for visual guide). Once done, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  • In the morning carefully roll out the dough book into an 8-inch-by-14-inch shape and repeat the folding process (refrigerating one hour between each fold). Do this at least 3-4 times. The more you do this the flakier and more layered your croissant will be.
  • Royal Icing:

  • In a stand mixer beat egg whites till frothy. Add sugar until desired consistency is reached.
  • Decorative Direction:

  • Once folded and blended enough you can now roll it out and cut it into your desired shapes. My caterpillars were varying sizes so I did several 3X3" squares, 6X4" squares and 8X6” squares; which were then rolled into cylindrical little bodies and then covered and sealed with a very thin coat of the white dead dough (dough without yeast) referenced in the recipe above.
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Once rolled and sealed (smoothed and sealed edges with a bit of egg wash — One egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water). I was then ready to roll out and apply my green bands.
  • I rolled out the green dough to a little thinner than 1/8 of an inch thickness and used a ruler and pastry cutter to get 1/4-inch strips. I then fused the end of each strip to the underside of the croissant using a bit of egg wash and began gently wrapping the green in a spiral formation around the length of each croissant using the egg wash all the while to ensure it would stay in place.
  • I did three at a time, covered them with a large bowl (to prevent drying out) allowed them to rise roughly 40 minutes. Basted them with egg wash and then popped them in the oven for roughly 20 minutes. Checking after 10 minutes to make sure they didn't over brown.
  • Once they were all out, I used the remaining black, white and green dead doughs to cut out the eyes and feet. I then affixed each one using egg wash as glue. They were then sent back into the over for about 5 minutes until features were baked and set.
  • The teeth were done with a little piped royal icing.

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