In a moment of enthusiastic drive to connect myself to the wider world of food blogging, I signed up for an online baking community, Tuesdays with Dorie. The gist: buy the book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan and bake from it twice a month with a bunch of other Dorie fans.
When the book arrived in the mail I laughed. What on earth did I get myself into? I am supposed to still be a part of Daring Bakers too, but have I done anything about it? Nope. And then there was the first Tuesday I'd be participating in: Croissants.
The last time I made croissants I remember the butter squishing out the sides and these pitiful, dense "cressents" that were all things buttery but nothing like a croissant. It wasn't quite a disaster (I think I made a banana version of cinnamon rolls with the remainder of the dough and served them at a catering gig), but it was way too much disappointment for such a long process.
Some-kind-of-magic happened here the last couple of days. I made croissants, and they turned out! They almost look normal. And (!) I might even say they were easy to make. Nothing went wrong. It wasn't too hot in the house. There was no squishing of melted butter. There was no weirdness. I didn't sweat excessively or swear or grimace at the attempts of a certain three-year-old's attempts to help. There were only these delightful little pastries baked up and beautiful. Sure, they came out of the oven just two hours ago, a little late for that quintessential morning snack, but they were good nonetheless.
I guess I'm glad I signed up. I was encouraged recently to try croissants again, but I was going to let the idea slip by unnoticed. Now I know I can freeze the dough at key points in the process to help ease the workload.
After all, eating a croissant anytime of day is nice, but in the morning
with a cup of coffee is particularly ideal. Bedtime is not. Croissants
that come out of the oven when you want to go to sleep but have things
to do are only ever trouble. I won't tell you how many I've eaten.
Also, I wouldn't have bought this book were it not for the group--it just wasn't on my radar--and I am kind of in love with it now. No offense to anyone, but the recipe didn't seem very special at first glance. It was, however, well-written and clear. Apart from needing a little online instruction on the "turn", I understood it all. Like I said, I didn't even break a sweat.
If you can't wait to buy the book--which is incredible,
with a lot of recipes and good uncomplicated baking basics (from pie
crust to brioche to bagels)--go see Amanda over at Girl+Food=Love. But really, get the book. It is a tome in the same sense as The Cake Bible, only less fussy.
My favorite use for croissants actually requires day-old croissants. Double-baked almond croissants, that is what I'm waiting for. And, I have my heart set on using the reserved, frozen dough to make croissant swirls with fillings and these incredible revelations a former employer called buttercups. But I guess we'll all have to wait for those.