"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Buttery Croissants

Do you want to know how much of a cooking geek I am? I was so excited when I put these croissants in the oven that my heart was pounding.

To tell you the truth, a croissant is a croissant. These Buttery Croissants taste pretty much like all the 1000 or so croissants I've had in my life--flaky, airy--perfect for a light sandwich or to go with butter and jam.

So the fun of these is the production and the bragging rights. Again, there's more rolling out and measuring, and--for geometry lovers--cutting into rectangles and triangles. Rolling up the croissants is good for exercising your capacity to compromise, since the dough is cut into triangles that have right angles (what are those called?) but you have to roll them up so that the point is in the middle. Yes, I did that 24 times and each one drove me a little crazy.

And here's something curious--some of the croissants rose higher than the others. I couldn't quite figure out what it was connected to--the tightness of the roll, whether the dough was chilled or warm when I rolled it...but I had pretty significant variation all on the same tray.

I had some trouble with the oven--mine (or mine at work I should say)is electric and you punch in the temp--it didn't seem to lower to 375 as the recipe required for the final 10 minutes of baking and my first tray was a little scorched on the bottom. I solved this by simply setting the lower oven to 375 and switching the final two trays from the top to the bottom oven, but not everybody has two ovens in their kitchen.

Another technical note--some of the little "points" uncurled themselves from under the croissants during the baking which allowed them to sort of flatten instead of rise up. Next time (if there ever is a next time) I think I would moisten that tip with water to better afix it to the underside.

What a baking adventure! I'm glad I did it. Anything involving yeast is very mysterious to me so any measure of success makes me want to paste a gold star to the middle of my forehead.

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