Homemade Croissants

I must apologize for my laziness in not posting my croissant recipe sooner. Finally, I’m getting around to posting it. These are really quite delicious, and they deserve to be made during the holiday season. It does take a long time, but it is worth it. If you plan it right, it can be prefect. Since the dough needs to be refrigerated overnight, you can make the dough in the early afternoon and have fresh-baked croissants the next morning!

Flaky French Croissants

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast (I use Fleischmann’s.)
3 tbs of hot water, around 110 degrees F
3 tsp of sugar, separated
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp of salt
2/3 cup of hot milk, around 100 degrees F
2 tbs of vegetable oil
2/3 cup salted butter, a little colder than room temperature
1 egg + 1 tbs of water

1.) Combine the yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Mix and then let stand until it looks thick and creamy.

2.)  Dissolve the remaining 2 of teaspoons sugar and the salt in the milk. It’s easiest to just do this in a measuring cup
3.) In a separate bowl, measure out the flour. Blend the milk mixture into the flour, adding in the yeast and oil. Mix well, until smooth.

4.) Cover the mixture and let it rise until it has tripled.
5.) Press the air out gently with a spatula, and then let rise again until it has doubled.
6.) Press out the air again, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
7.) Roll out dough into a large rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.

8.) Slice butter and place over two thirds, leaving a slight margin on the edges.

9.) Fold the unbuttered third over middle third, and the showing buttered third over that, so the butter is layered in between the dough.

10.) Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll out into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Fold in three again and roll it out slightly.
11.) Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
12.) Unwrap, sprinkle with flour, and roll to a large rectangle (1/4 inch), and fold again. Turn 90 degrees, and repeat. Rewrap and chill overnight.
13.) To shape the croissants, roll the dough out to rectangle that is approximately 20 x 5 inches. Cut in half so that you are left with two pieces, 10 x 5 inches. Chill one half while shaping the rest.

14.) Roll the first half out to a 15 x 5 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into three 5 x 5 inch squares, and then cut them diagonally, so that you are left with 6 triangles. Roll each triangle from the longest side towards the 90 degree point.
15.) Place on a baking sheet, with the two ends curving slightly towards each other. Cover and let croissants rise for about 10 minutes. Repeat steps 14 and 15 with the second half.

16.) In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the water. Brush the eggwash over the croissants.

17.) Bake for 12-15 minutes at 475 degrees F.


I rolled chocolate chips up inside half of them. They made for an excellent treat! For Christmas morning, I am also going to make some jam and fill the croissant with them. Look out for jelly recipes 🙂 I’m planning on making at least blueberry and strawberry ones.

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Dear ND, Stop telling other teams to suck it if that’s all you’re doing.

I know I promised you croissants but it just has to wait until tomorrow.

This is why:

http://news.cotabatoexchange.com/notre-dame-football-schedule-2010_1014.html

If you don’t know me, my family is a big Fighting Irish clan. We bleed Notre Dame blue and gold. Okay…I don’t really, because I went to Saint Mary’s and well…we know better. But I still like them. ANYWAY, my parents decided to have an impromptu ND v. Stanford party tonight (too bad they are playing like shit…big surprise). WOOOOOOOOOO 50yrs+ partayyyyyyy! This resulted in my taking advantage of the free Captain Morgan and beer.

Croissants can wait.

Drunken Applesauce

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving! It was chaos over here for a couple of days. We made so much food, I can’t possibly talk about it all, but I’ll show you some photos and give you my favorite applesauce recipe!

Delicious honey-almond butter cookies that my sister made!

Homemade croissants! I’ll get you that recipe tomorrow 🙂

FEAST!

Basically, it was all delicious, and way too much…as usual!

Every year on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I make homemade applesauce. I’ve been perfecting this recipe for few years and this time, I’ve really outdone myself. Seriously, you should make this. You won’t regret it. The best part is that you get to drink while making it. These measurements are just a close approximation, as I’ve never actually written down what I use..I just kind of eyeball it. Feel free to alter whatever if necessary, as this isn’t completely exact.

Chunky Homestyle Applesauce

5 Medium/large macintosh apples
3 Tbs of packed brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbs of white sugar
1/4 Tsp of salt
1/2 Tsp of vanilla
2 Tsp of cinnamon
2 1/2 Tbs of your favorite beer

1.) Peel apples and then slice them and place in a medium sized pot.
2.) Add sugars, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Cover the pot and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until apples feel soft enough to crush.

3.) Keeping the apples on the heat, begin to crush until the apple pieces are fairly small (this really depend on how chunky you want it).

4.) Add in the beer and stir. This is the fun part because you get to finish the beer. Obviously.
5.) Cover and leave on low heat for about 8 minutes.

It serves between 5 and 7 people, if everyone takes a normal side serving. However, I’m not sure that’s very likely to happen because it’s so flipping tasty. So adjust accordingly. Enjoy!

Alright, so I did it again.

I’m what one might call a “moron.” The first time I was in London, I didn’t have a camera, because it broke while I was in Assisi a few weeks beforehand…so obviously, I only have stolen pictures from my travel buddy. This time, I just stupidly forgot my camera when we went into the city the first day. No pictures from that day. The second day (our last day) in London, I brought my camera and was super stoked to get it out. Then we spent hours running around Harrods and by the time we were outside and wandering, it was dark and we had about 2 hours to get dinner and head to the theatre. I did manage to get photos of one thing. The most important thing to see in London.

Big Ben? No.

Westminster Abbey? Definitely not.

Buckingham Palace? Hah. Yeah, right.

That’s right. You got it, smarty pants! The Peter Pan statue. Oh yes. We ventured into Kensington Gardens in the dark because I couldn’t stand to miss it a second time. I had to see it since I was in London again.

In all seriousness, though, it’s pretty cool. Trust.

Such fun detail, I think.

Despite seeing London’s most important statue, the best part of our few days in London was our time spent in the West End. We saw The Lion King, which was great. The costumes were really inventive and visually fabulous. We also saw Les Miserables. If you haven’t seen it, you need to. This was my second time seeing it (the first time was probably 10 years ago) and, I’m telling you, it is AMAZING! Everything about it is engaging. Absolutely worth your time and money. Plus, who doesn’t want to look at this iconic face on a huge scrim before the curtain rises?

I certainly did.

Aye, we’re a wee bit piratey!

In case you thought otherwise, Scottish people are pirates. While visiting Jillian’s family in Kilmarnock, Scotland, I happened to notice the fabulous presence of the word, “aye,” in everyday speech. You don’t get much more piratey than that unless your pillaging. So I suppose they aren’t actually pirates, but they sure sound like them sometimes. Perhaps it was a regional thing, now that I think about it. I don’t recall hearing “aye” while in Edinburgh. Hmm.

Speaking of Edinburgh, it is a gorgeous city! A beautifully layered city in between the sea and untouched mountains. It was a truly amazing sight. Edinburgh is supposedly one of the most haunted cities in the world, and the most haunted city in Europe. I can’t say that I came across any ghosts while there, but I can definitely see why it would be considered so haunted. There are narrow passageways, called closes, all over the city that are lovely, but also somewhat chilling. I can easily imagine murders happening there, completely concealed from the general population. Not to mention the dungeons and streets where plague victims were sealed in, and consequently died, in an effort to stop the disease from spreading. Anyway, here are some photos:

Lovely little mountain/hill thing.

An example of the layers.

One of the closes.

Edinburgh Castle, one of the most haunted places in the world.

Another really cool thing about Edinburgh, is that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter there. More specifically, she wrote the series at The Elephant House, a tea and coffee shop wonderfully decorated with elephant art and chairs. As I’m sure you can imagine, like the rest of the world, I’m obsessed with Harry Potter. If I wouldn’t regret it later in life, I’d be a dumbass like Justin Timberlake in Friends with Benefits and get a lightening bolt tattooed on my hip. But I’m not an idiot (okay, so that’s up for debate…), so I’ll settle for owning all the books and films. Check out The Elephant House here: http://www.elephanthouse.biz

Self-explanatory.

How freaking cute is this??

Tea with J.K. Rowling. I wish.

All the lonely people, where do they all belong?

While in England, we took a trip up to Liverpool to see a ton of Beatles stuff! But before we saw it all, we had to stop for the humped zebras.

I didn’t know that runners were called humped zebras in the UK.

After letting them cross, we took the Magical Mystery Tour. Yes, I’m totally serious. We saw bitchin’ things, such as Strawberry Fields, their childhood homes, and the cemetery where Eleanor Rigby was buried (even though the song isn’t supposed to be about her…but it totally is), and drove down Penny Lane.

The tour bus.

Duh.

Double duh.

After our Magical Mystery Tour, we went to a museum that was dedicated to the Beatles. And it was awesome.

What up, Shakespeare?

Sorry I’ve been so terrible about updating the past few weeks. Europe leaves little internet time. But–I’m back in the US so posts will be annoyingly frequent now. You’re welcome.

We’re playing catch-up now so I’ll let you know when we get current.

A couple of weeks ago, our travels included Stratford upon Avon, which is where my boy, Billy Shakespeare, was born and finished out his days. It was really small, but also really lovely!

Shakespeare’s birthplace/family home
Just so quaint!

Apparently, we use the phrase “sleep tight” because back in the day, kids would sleep on a trundle bed (from under the parent’s bed) and it consisted of a thin mattress on a weaved rope base that had to be tightened every night before being used. I thought that was pretty interesting, though I’m sure it’s pretty lame information to everyone else.

Shakespeare had an oh-so-scandalous (hah) shotgun wedding (Anne Hathaway was preggo). I think that’s pretty funny. Fun fact.

Anyway, he’s buried in a Church. And it was lovely.

His grave

Cool, huh?