Almost Croissants: Cornetti With Briosche Dough


This has been a long search and a long craving. For years I have been dreaming of the fragrant taste of newly made cornetti, Italian croissants, coming right out of the oven. In Rome, it is traditional to have breakfast out and to eat freshly baked cornetti just before work, or school. It is also traditional to wait until sunrise, after a night out with friends, to buy the new cornetti at the local bakery.

In Sweden there is a great baking tradition, but croissants (and of course cornetti, too) do not belong to it. Unfortunately, to make my own cornetti seemed like an impossible dream. All the recipes I found were in fact just… impossible. Besides the difficulty, I knew that my 2-year old would not have understood why mummy was ignoring her for two days in a row to make the perfect pastasfoglia, puff pastry.

But I could not give up. The cornetti craving was too strong. So I looked and looked until I finally came across something that required hours rather than days… a recipe for cornetti made out of briosche dough.

Briosche, right. In Northern Italy that’s the way they call cornetti, actually. But what is it? Apparently some versatile sweet dough that can be used in different preparations and does not require a lot of fat. It was apparently very popular in the 18th hundred, to the point that Marie Antoinette, the infamous queen of France, supposedly said “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche“, let’s them eat briosche, when she learned that the poor did not have bread. Well… I did not have cornetti. Let’s make some briosche!

You need: 250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour, 250 g (2 cups) manitoba flour (or bread flour), 2 eggs, 25 g (0.9 oz) fresh yeast, 50 g (1.8 oz) butter, 120 g (little more than 1/2 cup) sugar, 200 ml (about 3/4 cup) milk, 1 teaspoon orange extract (my addition), 1 egg yolk (for the finishing). Powdered sugar (optional)

How to: in a large bowl put the flour, the sugar and the butter (cut in small pieces). Mix for 5 minutes by hand or with a mixer. Add the eggs. Mix for further 5 minutes. Meanwhile, turn on the oven to 50 degrees (Celsius, 122 Fahrenheit) and turn it off as soon as it has reached the temperature. Let the yeast dissolve in a little bowl with the cold milk. Add the orange extract to the milk/yeast mixture and then incorporate the mixture, little by little, to the flour/sugar bowl and mix for other 5 minutes. The dough should be now smooth and even. If not, place on a board and mix by hand, eventually adding a little flour. Shape it into a ball. Place the ball back into the big bowl and place it uncovered in the oven. Let rest for a couple of hours. Take the ball out of the oven and divide in 3 parts (making 3 smaller balls). Flatten each of them to form a circle. Cut each circle into 8 triangles as shown below.

Flatten each triangle a little more, trying to make it longer. Now place whatever filling (or none) at the center of the dough and roll each triangle on itself starting from the base. Make sure that the top of the triangle ends up under the cornetto. If you bend the edges of each cornetto a little you will have the typical croissant shape.

Place the cornetti on a baking tray covered with oven paper. Make sure to leave quite some space in between them, cause they will grow. Let them rest covered with a kitchen towel for further 2 hours.

After the 2 hours rising. The cornetti are ready to be baked

Turn on the oven to 190 degrees (Celsius, 374 Fahrenheit). Now mix the egg yolk with a tablespoon of milk and spread over each cornetto. Place in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes.

Only 12 minutes in the oven and the cornetti are ready

Waking up to fragrant cornetti

The following morning I finally woke up to a typical Italian breakfast: cappuccino and cornetto. The cornetti we did not eat right away went into the freezer and were ready for other wonderful breakfasts (after only 15 seconds in the micro). Heaven on earth.

A dream came true: cornetto al cioccolato (chocolate-filled cornetto)

CONSIDERATIONS: I strongly recommend this recipe. I do not have a proper kitchen machine so basically anyone can do this. My addition of the orange extract was a good idea and brought the taste closer to the cornetti I used to have back in Italy. One day I will try the puff pastry version (just because) but for now I am really happy with briosche dough. Oh… one last thing. This is an affordable treat not only in terms of time and effort but also when it comes to cost and calories. They contain only a little sugar, have far less fat than regular croissants, cost almost nothing. I am in love.

Recipe adapted from

This post was submitted to YeastSpotting:

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My Italian Smörgåsbord (Aka Barbara)

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28 replies
  1. Veronica
    Veronica says:

    I’m all over this! I really want to try the chocolate filled ones. I have never made brioche, and never made croissants, so this would be a great one for me to try.

  2. Quay Po
    Quay Po says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog so that it brings me to yours. I have never made croissant before. This looks like not to difficult to make so I am going to try this for sure. I am sure you enjoyed your typical Italian breakfast.They look so delicious, who wouldn’t?

  3. Stefanie
    Stefanie says:

    In germany we call this kind of pastry “Hörnchen” and I love them, too. Your cornetti looks very delicious, I like the idea of the chocolated filled cornetti very much!

    • Barbara Elisi
      Barbara Elisi says:

      Hi Stefanie! So glad you commented so I could discover your beautiful bilingual page. I have been seen so many beautiful breads from German bloggers but the posts were all in German.

  4. luvnspoonfuls
    luvnspoonfuls says:

    I just bookmarked this recipe as I’m sure my family (and I) would love these. I love the idea of getting these on the table in such a short amount of time and effort, and I may put my Luv’n Spoonfuls touch by tweaking your lovely recipe with just a touch of whole wheat flour. Lovely photos, especially the little hand! Too cute! Great post…

    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      Hi! Thank you for your comment (which brought me to your lovely website). The picture with my daughter’s hand is also my favorite… so cute when they show some interest for our creations (her current favorite cornetti are those filled with strawberry jam). If you manage to do these with whole wheat let me know. I would definetely give it a try.

  5. Patricia Pichany-Mapley
    Patricia Pichany-Mapley says:

    I am going to give these a try. They looks exactly like the ones my daughter and I had in Castro di Volsci, Italy.

  6. Mue
    Mue says:

    wow … this is superb Barbara .. i love making croissants but the butter is what stops me from making them often. this one i gotta try !

    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      glad you like them Mue! they were one of the first things I put my hands at when I started to bake, 3 summers ago. they are easy and soooo good!

    • Antonia
      Antonia says:

      Hello again Barbara :), the brioches came out good with whole-grain flour too. I made 1/2 of the recipe and used yogurt instead of milk and made them simplice and I liked the result. Thank you for the recipe!

  7. June
    June says:

    Thank you for this recipe I am def going to try this. We ate these every morning when we visited the island of Ischa and they were wonderful. I remember they used Nutella for the chocolate ones but do you have a recipe for the cheese or cream…we loved them also

  8. Sheri Salazar
    Sheri Salazar says:

    I like your idea of the orange extract! I too have been trying to find something like this here in the states, to no avail. In Italy the one’s I loved had a light sugar orange glaze, but not really a glaze, it was very light. Do you have any idea on how to do this?

  9. Essi
    Essi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I went to Rome in April and instantly fell in love with cornetti… Once you taste them, you’ll be hooked forever!

    I really miss Rome but I hope these will ease my mind a little bit (until the day I return there, at least) 🙂 The best cornetti I had were in the little pasticceria just across the street from Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, by the way!


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