Ann Arbor has a number of good bakeries, but it's also got a well-kept secret: The Croissant Shop, where CIA-trained (the culinary one) baker Kurt Boyd makes delicious French pastries for restaurants, cafés, bakeries, and caterers by hand. Its existence isn't secret — what's secret is that you don't have to be a restaurant to buy from The Croissant Shop. You, too, can enjoy these gorgeous fresh pastries at great wholesale prices (that's to say, far less than what restaurants charge). It just requires a bit of advance planning.
We've actually known about this for some years, since before I even started Kitchen Chick. I would order them on occasion when we had house guests, but this holiday season we decided to treat ourselves and family.
The butter croissants were everything you expect a croissant to be. Buttery layers encased within a deliciate flaky outside. (They also make great croissant french toast. Carefully slice them horizontally and soak in whisked egg and milk. The outside crust doesn't absorb a ton of the egg, but the soft insides will soak it right up. We enjoyed them for Christmas Eve brunch dusted with some confectioners sugar and served with maple syrup.)
The almond croissants have a sweet almond filling and are dressed with a bit of glaze and ground almonds on top, and the chocolate ones have a streak of rich dark chocolate filling. Joe loved his brioche. He dived into it as soon we got home [well, actually as soon as she was done taking pictures — Joe] because these breads are best when fresh. It was light and rich, like a good brioche should be.
I really adore the cinnamon rolls. These are not the usual super-sugary, heavy rolls that sit like lead in your stomach. The dough is light and moist, the layers are filled with lots of cinnamon, the glaze delicate and delectable. These rolls really live up to the name of cinnamon rolls. I like to eat them in a deconstructionist manner — unrolling the pastry and eating each layer.
The Croissant Shop also sells pecan diamonds and pecan rolls, several kinds of baguettes and breads, savory-filled croissants, and mini-croissants and mini-filled pastries. We haven't tried those yet, but we will.
There is, of course, a catch: you can't just walk in and buy a couple croissants. You have to order at least 24 hours in advance (no later than 9:00am the previous day) and then you can go get your order on the morning of your pickup day. He'll need to know the specific time you plan to be by. But these treats are well worth a little planning.
Pastries are best eaten the day you get them, but they'll keep for a day or so in the cardboard box, or you can try freezing them. Storing them in a tupperware will make the flaky crisp outsides go soft, but a few minutes in a toaster oven can help with that.
The Croissant Shop
3660 Plaza Dr # 1A
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Monday through Saturday