January 29, 2007

I Also Like Butter

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A few days ago I mentioned a Top Secret Project that was underway and would be revealed on January 30th. Well that’s today! And what’s so special about today? It’s National Croissant Day of course! You can’t even imagine how happy it makes me that I can now say that I’ve made croissants and that my croissants arre edible. Not only are they edible, they’re actually pretty decent. It’s not Paris in my kitchen and it never will be, but I made croissants and they aren’t awful! You’re probably wondering why a nincompoop like me would even attempt to make croissants, (I could easily have celebrated National Croissant Day with a bakery purchase). Rightly so since I’m the same person who routinely forgets to put yeast in bread and then can’t figure out why it didn’t rise.


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Well, it all began way back in November when I saw Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice and Lis of La Mia Cucina collaborate to make pretzels from the same recipe and then post about it on the same day. I asked them if I could join in on their next project and they graciously agreed. So in December, the three of us, along with Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and Helen of Tartelette baked biscotti from a Dorie Greenspan recipe. This was my first Dorie recipe and I’ve been hooked ever since!


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Sometime after the biscotti project was over, Lis informed us that, (like it or not) this would be a monthly event. And that’s when I opened my big mouth and suggested that we make croissants next. I made this suggestion based not on any skills I possess, but rather on my uncompromising love of butter. I have never made croissants or puff pastry or any kind of complex pastry. I draw the line at pie dough and it’s taken me a long time to become comfortable with that. So why on earth did I think I could tackle croissants? Possibly because I have an unrealistic belief that I’m Superwoman… Then I received the recipe from Ivonne and it was FIVE pages long and I started feeling like croissants might be my kryptonite. As I skimmed over the recipe I noted that not only was it FIVE pages long, but that it would be a THREE day long project. What on earth had I gotten myself into? Well, at least I wouldn’t be alone. In addition to Ivonne, Lis, Peabody and Helen, Veron of Veronica’s Test Kitchen and Quellia of All Things Edible would also be joining in.


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For three days I had no clue what I was doing. I was shocked when the dough wouldn’t mix in my mixer and I had to knead it by hand. I was baffled when it didn’t rise like it should have. I was then astonished when, after shaping, (misshaping?) my croissants the dough rose to alarming heights and resembled the Michelin man. I was lost as I foolishly tried to transfer risen croissants from the butter tray to a clean one, (they didn’t appreciate that). And then I danced around the kitchen like a lunatic, trying to figure out how many trays it would take to bake these suckers. The recipe said one tray would do it, but I ended up using three. What is this? A kitchen made for ants? In the end though, after three days of hoping against all odds that I could bake croissants, I actually did it. And you can too, but I don’t suggest it. If you’ve never made croissants, you might want to continue enjoying them in blissful ignorance. You don’t want to know how much butter goes into them, (I thought I knew, I then had to multiply that number). But they’re soo-oh-oooo good! Like all baking experiences, I’ve learned a few things, (aside from the butter content of a croissant): I’ve learned that I can’t roll dough out into a rectangle. I can’t cut in a straight line. I have difficulty following instructions, (I may have already known that...) and I can’t refuse a challenge or a hot croissant right out of the oven, even though I know how much butter is in there. Correction: I can’t refuse THREE hot croissants right out of the oven. And yes, I realize they’re absolutely enormous. If I die from a heart attack, I want a picture of a croissant and the caption “I died happy” on my tombstone.


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Perhaps the only thing better than a fresh croissant is a fresh croissant dipped in rich hot chocolate, for breakfast. When I lived in France I ate it every morning and usually every afternoon too, (so that’s where those 20lbs came from…). The croissant soaks up the hot chocolate and if you don’t bring it to your lips quickly you’ll loose it. Not to worry though, a few sips later you’ll find it again at the bottom of your mug and it will be as good as ever.

I must say though, it will be a long time before I ever go to the trouble of making croissants again. Yes, they were delicious and I was so proud of myself for making them, but come on! They took three days! The recipe was 5 pages long! I ate a few pounds of butter! They’re dangerous.




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42 comments:

Elle said...

Super impressive and very yummy looking, especially with the hot chocolate. If you can do this, you can do almost anything!
Maybe french onion soup from scratch (starting with roasting the beef bones)? Did it ONCE and now really, really appreciate good french onion soup in restaurants. I'll bet you will truly appreciate croissants baked by someone else after this.

K & S said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! I am amazed at all the goodness you've been creating. These look pretty darn professional to me :)

Freya said...

Wow Brilynn! These are AMAZING! I have wanted to make croissants for a long while but just never had the time to do it! Well done!

Meeta said...

It's breakfast time here and I am sitting in front of the screen with just a cup of coffee ... how I wish I could grab into the screen and pinch one of those amazing looking croissants. I can smell them here! Who is the tease now sweetie!! LOL!

Gattina said...

Brilynn, OMG!!! You're brilliant!!! I love your big fat fluffy croissants!!! Even want them spread over my bed, eat, sleep, wake up, eat again!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I like Gattina's sequencing!
Beautiful.

veuveclicquot said...

Bravo!!! You rock. Croissants are something I will never have the courage to tackle... :)

bea at la tartine gourmande said...

Beautiful! They are gorgeous!

Quellia said...

Yup, yours look wonderful Brilynn! Off to blog about my own now. Happy Croissant day!

Lis said...

I don't think they were misshapen at all! They had way more layers than mine did - I wish mine were more like yours =) Maybe next time.

Oh wait.. yeah that's right - there will be no next time. hahahahahaaaaaaaa!

xoxoxo

veron said...

So you were the culprit that suggested the croissants :). I'm glad you suggested it though because I wouldn't have had the courage to make them by myself.Brilynn, your croissants look wonderful...looks very very tasty...I just want to pull one apart and eat them. And doesn't your banner say "go big or go home" anyway.

Asha said...

OMG!!!Soooo delicious,little scared to make and eat those but delicious!;D

The Cookbook Junkie said...

They look great. Someday I'll make croissants. But they won't all be plain - I will stick chocolate in some for pain au chocolat and I'll make an attempt at an old favorite I used to buy at the mall in Philly years ago - a croissant stuffed with cheese and mushrooms or maybe ham.

Jerry said...

The croissants look marvelous, but to be honest, I'm far more interested in the Campbell's soup bowl! I haven't seen one of those since I was a kid!

wheresmymind said...

Aww...those are too cute!

mickey said...

I also have tried several times to make croissants, but they have never turned out as gorgeous as yours.

Linda said...

I bow down to you -- those are some beautiful croissants! uber impressive.

I just found your blog today and I'm lovin' it. You are a very talented photographer as well. I'll be back soon!

Maria said...

Very lovely, you are not giving yourself enough credit!

The TriniGourmet said...

THOSE look so amazing :D
Croissants have been on my 'to-do' list for the longest while :D Hehe I loved when you mentioned the Michelin man :) You're kinda right :D But I can't help thinking that when it comes to croissants that more is better :D

Abby said...

You kill me with your "I made this, but you shouldn't" post. Reverse psychology, right? It MUST be, with those glorious pics.

MaggPie said...

Holy cow! I am so impressed by these croissants! And so hungry! And feeling rather French today!

breadchick said...

Brilynn! Those look so fabulous. As usual your photos are a great compliment to your post! I was brushing buttery flakes off my keyboard just reading the post.

peabody said...

Ha, ha....next time I will tell you that you are crazy. Everyone just seemed so into the idea...I didn't want to crush your enthusiasm...I will next time though :)
They turned out great. I know all the blood, sweat and tears that went into those babies!

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

Wonderful. I am so impressed!
I have made the refrigerator kind before- yuck.

Brilynn said...

Gattina- That is quite possibly the best response ever!

Susan said...

A whole day dedicated to croissants? That's just fabulous! And so is this post! Way to go, Brilynn!

Susan from Food "Blogga"

eliza said...

words can't say what I want to say to you! :) but congrats! you're achieved the elated feeling of successfully making croissants!

Ivonne said...

Well there were a few moments when I wanted to slap you, mostly I wanted to hug you. As tough as it was, this was a great challenge. Your croissants look amazing and I bet that it was very much like Paris in your kitchen!

Kristen said...

I am so very impressed. Those are some beautiful croissants. I make bread all the time, and I love croissants, but I have yet to tackle making them at home. I noticed that it was National Croissant day on my calendar today, and considered making them, but my fear won out.

I think I'll just sit here and pretend that I have one of your amazing croissants in my hand right now and that I'm a happy camper because of it!

joey said...

Your croissants look MARVELLOUS! Full, robust, croissant glory! I love the way they are so BIG...like all it's buttery goodness just wants to invade the world!!! So so impressive! :) Another food fear for me too...you are an inspiration :)

Anita said...

Brilynn,
Your croissants look wonderful! It's definitely one of the most satisfying things in the baking reportoire to pull off and you did it spectacularly!

Shawnda said...

Those look fabulous!

The Khoury Family said...

Brilynn,
What an undertaking...your croissants look amazing! You'd never know how difficult they were from the photos!

Mary said...

I guess you didn't know what you got yourself into when you suggested croissants, huh? :) The results are amazing.

Margaret said...

Wow! I want one....then I want another...and then I want the lot!!!

heather lorin said...

oh no - first the cupcakes and now the croissants. I may have to skip the gym and head straight for my favorite bakery. You're killing me.

Chellie said...

Wowwww....I'm fighting the urge to lick the computer screen! I love making croissants, but they're such a pain in the rear...but so yummy!

aria said...

oh Brilynn, i'm so impressed. how BEAUTIFUL and buttery. OMG marry me! !

Helene said...

I have a gazillion bad jokes about your first time (virgin) with a croissant but that would add insult to injury!!
They look gorgeous! Save some for bread pudding!

sher said...

I'm having such fun reading this! Your croissants are marvelous. I can't wait to see what the next project will be!

Alice Q said...

Wow - those look amazing! I am inspired to finally make an attempt. I've been mulling this project for weeks but I think your photos put me over the edge! Great post!

mel said...

WoW!! Nice croissant!! Did you guys just use all-purpose flour? or did you add other types of flour??