A New Year and A New Year.

We've done it again. Another round of holidays, another year. Interestingly, I now live just one block from my dad's house, the house I grew up in, yet I hosted both of the Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities at my little place this year. I offered to buy the tree, decorate the tree, un-decorate the tree and even remove of the tree myself, Dad still would have none of it in his house. Let's see how Father's Day treats you this year, pal.

Today Fred and I grudgingly removed all remnants of holiday from our place (never fun) and put things back to normal. We did this in spite of Paz telling me it was bad as it was before Three Kings Day; a landmark day of which I have no knowledge. Lest we forget, I still don't fully understand all that is Easter, unless we're talking Cadbury Creme Eggs. Plus, with the radiator heat being used pretty consistently for the three weeks the tree had been in the living room, even with daily water refills, one spark and that bad boy could have gone up like a powder keg. So, sorry Paz, it was time.

Today also marks the sixth (6th) anniversary of F for Food (!!!). It's my blog-birthday. At the ripe age of six, this little blog that could has come a long way. It has given me foods, wines, cocktails, recipes, cookbooks, cuisines, restaurants, events, interviews, chefs, meals, friends, meals with friends, exploits, wanderings and jobs that I never even expected - and I am eternally grateful. I'm not stopping at six, though. No way.

So, here we are. 2014 is laid out in front of us like the Yellow Brick Road. And this will, no doubt, for myself at least, hold a similar promise of adventure, wonder and intrigue (sans opiates, of course) as that golden thoroughfare. With my recent move, a new home, new job, new (and old) friends, and a surprise or two - how could it not?

Since I've been back on the East Coast, though I have not shared much of it here (yet), I have been going a little hog wild in the kitchen. Maybe it's all the New, maybe it's the cold weather, or maybe it was the holidays, but as a bit of a culinary deviation, I've done a great deal of baking over the past couple of months. One of these such Betty Crocker kitchen brainflowers was based on a recent phase/new morning routine I've been going through: croissants with my coffee. I've always loved a croissant. Just the butter variety, no chocolate or almonds, please.

BUT, as seemingly simple as the butter croissant may be, I have had a scant few in memory that hit it home, Tartine being the all-time number one. This is probably why I don't think about, or, pine for them regularly. When I do, however, that desire, that need, is fully reignited and that is all I want with my coffee. Every. Single. Day.

So it made perfect sense to give it a go in my kitchen. It always seems so simple when there are not so many ingredients and they're the very ones one might normally have in their kitchen anyway. And, er, it's not in one of Suzanne Goin's cookbooks. So it must be pretty straightforward. Right?

Well. Sort of.

Milk, flour, sugar, salt, sugar, water and butter, butter, butter. See, I'll bet you have that in your kitchen right now. Easy as pie (dough). The thing is, my nemesis as a cook, baker, what-have-you, is that I either don't follow recipes OR I don't read them all the way through before diving in. So this seemingly easy breezy recipe...


Had I been that person I would have taken note of the almost twenty-four hour turnaround time interspersed with committed and earnest periods of rotating, rolling out, refolding the chilled dough. Oh, and all the work with the mountain range of butter. And that is why God invented Fred (thanks, Fred!).

They turned out pretty great, I must admit. They undoubtedly rivaled many I've purchased in many cafes, bakeries and coffee shops, but they were not Tartine good (maybe they just needed more butter?). Which, really, I wouldn't want them to be. Talk about a magic food bubble getting popped but quick.

Here's the thing, at least in my humble-non-bakerly opinion: now that I've gone and made croissants, and done a pretty alright job of it, I don't see myself doing it again. Certainly not regularly. And my respect for those that do, those that rise at three in the morning to painstakingly and lovingly go through the tedious and time consuming routine of croissant making, that must do it because they must, has risen like yeasty dough. They must respect and love the process and I've got nothing but respect and love for them for that.

On that note, happy New Year and here's to six (6) wonderful years of F for Food! Thank you for being here. It means everything to me. Now, before we have to get all resolution-y, let's make some croissants, shall we?

Butter Croissants
(For some really helpful GIF tutorials with regard to this recipe and process, thank you, Top With Cinammon)

Makes about 24 croissants

To make the dough:

1 cup cold milk
1/2 cup boiling water
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, frozen, then left at room temp. for 20-30 minutes
Parchment paper
A lot of arm muscle

Pour the milk and boiling water into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and sugar, leave for 5 minutes until frothy.

Add in the flour and salt, incorporate it with your hands into a shaggy ball.

Tip the contents out onto a clean work surface and knead until you’ve incorporated all the flour (this should only take about 2 minutes). Place the dough into an oiled bowl, and leave in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.

When your dough has been in refrigerating for 30 minutes, take your frozen butter (which has been left at room temperature for 20-30 minutes), and grate onto a piece of plastic wrap.

Disperse the butter, and flatten into a rectangle, roughly 8″ x 5″. Fold up in the plastic wrap and pat together well.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Once the butter has been chilling for 25 minutes, tip the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 16″ x 10″ rectangle.

Unwrap the chilled butter block and place into the center of the dough. Fold the dough into thirds over the butter (like a business letter). Seal all the edges by pinching the dough together.

Rotate the dough 90 degrees, use the rolling pin to make regular indentations in the dough.

Roll into a 15″ x 10″ rectangle.

Fold into thirds again. Wrap the dough in cling film, and refrigerate for 1 hour.  (steps 8+9 = ‘one turn’ of the dough).

Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap and complete 1 turn (i.e. repeat steps 8 + 9). Re-wrap in the cling film, refrigerate for 1 hour.

Repeat step 10, two more times, so you have done a total of 4 turns.

Cut the dough into quarters. Wrap the quarters tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-12 hours, or freeze for up to 3 months (if you freeze it, let the dough defrost in the fridge overnight before shaping).

Shaping the dough:

Remove one piece of dough from the fridge, unwrap it, and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 16″ x 6″ rectangle.

Cut into thirds, forming 3 smaller rectangles. Cut each of these rectangles in half diagonally forming 6 triangles.

Take one triangle of dough (I recommend putting the others in the fridge while you shape each one).
Pull on the corners of the shortest edge, to even up the base of the triangle. Then gently stretch the dough a little.

Cut a small slit in the base of the triangle, stretch it, then roll the dough up.

Place it, tip side down, onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the triangles, placing them 2″ apart (at this point you can also freeze the shaped croissants on the baking sheet, then once frozen, transfer them to a plastic bag and leave in the freezer for up to 3 months, then defrost in the fridge overnight and proceed with baking as below).

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a cool place for around 2-3 hours ( if you’re making these the night before, you can actually shape them and leave them to rise in the fridge overnight instead).


Once ready to bake, adjust oven racks to upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 425ºF. Spritz inside oven generously with spray bottle and close door.

Brush the croissants with beaten egg using a pastry brush.

 Put croissants in oven, then spritz again before closing door. Reduce temperature to 400ºF and bake 10 minutes without opening door.

Switch position of sheets in oven and rotate sheets 180º, then reduce temperature to 375ºF and bake until croissants are deep golden, about 10-15 minutes more until lightly browned and puffy.

Let cool on a wire rack.

NOTE: Baked and cooled croissants keep 1 month: First freeze them, uncovered, on baking sheets until firm, then wrap them snugly in foil before returning to freezer. When ready to serve, remove foil and bake (not thawed) on a baking sheet in a 325ºF oven 5 to 10 minutes.

Two years ago: Cheebo
Six year ago (!!!): Mozza & Dominick's

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