There have been so many inspired treats and dishes coming out of our kitchen lately, it’s hard to know where to start. But these lovely pastries have been on my mind — with more filling ideas for round two — so we’ll start here with an overview of croissant, from The Model Bakery Cookbook. It’s just one of a few new page-turners in the kitchen (Josey Baker Bread and Girl in the Kitchen, we’ll talk about you soon).
The Model Bakery was a grand discovery during our March trip to St. Helena for my dad’s birthday. Their english muffins are a wonder. Their loaves and cakes look superb. And on this same trip there was a great debate about the correct pronunciation of the name of the bakery, so I now refer to them affectionately in my mind as Model (m\O\-del) Bakery, even though the correct pronunciation is model, as in, a woman strutting down a runway.
What is it about baking croissant that inspires the exchange of tender and endearing sweet-nothings for pastry? Perhaps it’s impossible to not feel the depths of buttery affection while prepping and rolling and folding each piece of dough, so after pulling this batch from the oven I found myself finally uttering, “You are adorable, my little babies,” and making kissing sounds at each golden package, while transferring them to wire racks to cool.
And as we waited patiently for them to become a proper temperature for scarfing down, I also heard Nick pass them in the kitchen and say, “Hey, croissant, whatcha doin’ up there?” At least it’s not just me, right?
Nick looks so happy about all that butter.
I’d wager the affection is the result of a fairly serious time investment. There was nothing terribly strenuous about croissant (especially when you’re the one watching most of the action: me), except it’s a process. Prep dough, wait. Roll out dough, slather with butter, fold, roll out again. Refrigerate. More waiting. And then two or three more rounds of rolling, folding, and waiting. If we’re being grownups, we’ll say that stage is simply building anticipation and all good things are worth waiting for. More plainly, that part is a pain.
But it is amazing to look at the final cross-section of dough after all that folding and rolling, and see the flaky croissant-layers that will be, with butter distributed evenly throughout.
Forming the croissant shapes and selecting filling is the fun part. Since this was our first go, we attempted a few different things: plain, chocolate-filled, and chocolate-peanut butter filled.* We also rolled several in rounds and dipped them in a blend of sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon, to enjoy a few tiny morning buns. I’m already excited to try a few jam fillings next time.
*I was skeptical about this filling, but should not have been — if the color of gold, or, sunshine on a spring morning, had a flavor, this filling would be it.
It’s best to eat/share the croissants within a day or two while fresh. If your rate of consuming delicious things is anything like mine, this really will not be a problem. More shots in the gallery below!