Dear Amy (Croissants)

Dearest Amy,

How I miss living with you! I still remember the first Christmas party we girls threw after the Singing Christmas Tree. We weren’t sure what our living situation would be the next semester. Would we have to move? Could we resign the lease? What were we going to do?

And then we found out you were looking for a place to live. And it seemed perfect. So you moved in. Four of us girls. One tiny apartment–two tiny bedrooms, tiny closets, a tiny bathroom, and a tiny galley kitchen. We thought we had the life.

We lived together. We made some meals together. We cried together. We supported each other at final performances and shows. And then we graduated, and moved our separate ways. We keep in touch, even if just sporadically through emails and phone calls and facebook messages.

And then, a little more than a couple years ago, you asked if I knew of any good internships. I did! A couple months after that conversation, you moved in again. This time into a house in small town, Indiana. We had our own bedrooms and bathrooms. That was nice, but the back porch was the best part of the whole place.

Once again, we lived together. We made some meals together. We cried together.

And now, here you are at another transition. I want such great things for you! I hope you end up in the perfect spot–right where you are supposed to be.

Before I moved out, we talked about taking a day to make croissants. And we never did. I regret that. I wish we had taken a Saturday to knead, roll, fold, and refrigerate. And then do it all over again. I wish we had been together while we waited in anticipation for the timer to beep, and those light, fluffy rolls to emerge from the oven. Alas, we weren’t.

But, Amy, I made croissants. And they turned out pretty great!

IMG_0446I used this recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. I baked 6, and I froze 8. If you’re only baking 6, reduce the bake time to 20 minutes. To freeze the remainder, put them in the freezer on a baking sheet, covered by saran wrap. When they’re frozen, put them in a gallon ziploc, and squeeze as much air out as you can.

I even stuffed some of them with chocolate chips. Delicious! Just line up a dozen or chocolate chips on the base of your triangle, and roll up as you do the plain ones. You’ll get a creamy, chocolate core in the middle. You can see it peaking out on the ends.

IMG_0447Many thanks to Andrew for passing on the recipe! Tracey’s photos and clear directions will walk even the most novice pastry baker through the steps.

My timeline (so I didn’t give up a whole day):

  • Thursday night–mix and knead dough. Roll it and fold it the first two turns. Leave in the fridge overnight.
  • Friday night–roll it and fold it the second two turns. Roll out, cut, and form the croissants. Leave in fridge to proof over night.
  • Saturday morning–pull from fridge, and let rise on the counter for 2-3 hours. Bake and consume (with coffee!).

Bon apetit!

Strawberry and Banana Stuffed Crepes

My mom used to make crepes almost every Saturday mornings. I didn’t fully appreciate what a treat they were. Thanks, Mom!

When I was home, I decided to take a stab at it. It took me a few tries, but I got it eventually! First attempt:

Total fail. Lesson learned–make sure your pan is hot enough.

I used the Betty Crocker recipe for the batter. Check out all those dough and batter stains. That’s how you know that a cookbook is well loved.

By the third crepe (or so), they weren’t looking too awful.

Then Baby Sister showed me up. Apparently my burner still wasn’t hot enough. Well done, Baby Sister!

Without further ado, here you go!

Crepes

From Betty Crocker Cookbook

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  1. Mix all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients.
  2. Use a whisk to make the batter smooth.
  3. Pour 1/4 cup batter into hot, greased pan.
  4. Swirl the pan immediately to spread out the batter.
  5. When the batter is almost cooked through, use a large spatula to flip.

For a great video how to, check out this clip.

Now, once your crepes are done, keep them toasty in a warm oven, and make your filling. Simply chop strawberries and bananas and warm them in a skillet.

Fill each crepe with the warm strawberry/banana goodness and whipped cream. Roll them up! Top with more creme and fruit, if you so desire.

Happy breakfasting!

I wanna know: Did you have a favorite breakfast when you were a kid? Is it still a favorite?

Blueberry Scones

The weather can’t seem to make up its mind today. Its general theme, though, is snowy, windy, and gross.

It’s the perfect day to stay inside and putter around the kitchen. Let’s make scones!

Scones need not be high maintenance. They need not be dense or bland. They need not be dunked in a pot coffee or doused in cream in order to be made palatable. If you don’t believe me, you need to try these scones. The recipe belongs to Cooks Illustrated, and it is spot on. Don’t get scared away by the list of instructions, they’re just thorough, not difficult.

Feel free to swap out blueberries for raspberries, (diced) strawberries, or black berries. Whatever you choose, just make sure that they are frozen.

Before you get started, read this recipe and watch this video. Both are highly informative and take the mystery out of this venture. The only change that I made to the recipe is to shred your butter first, then freeze it. Not the other way around (as the recipe and video direct). This gem of knowledge comes directly from the owner of my favorite, local bakery.

Not counting butter and fruit freezing time, this recipe takes maybe 40 minutes from start to finish, including baking time. Well worth it!

Enjoy!