cinnamon sugar croissants

In my opinion, the only thing better than fresh, flaky buttery croissants are cinnamon sugar croissants. You all know about my obsession cinnamon, and these croissants are my favorite pastry in the universe — and that sure is saying something if you know anything about my obsession with pastries! This is a variation on my classic croissant recipe (which you can find here). This recipe produces perfect croissants with a pillowy interior and a crisp, shattering crust. To take these already luxurious pastries to an amazing, cinnamon-sprinkled level, I added a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar before I rolled them into crescents, and another sprinkling on top after the second egg wash, right before popping them in the oven to bake. I know making croissants can be intimidating at first, but the result is so rewarding. My mom commented that the rich, buttery aroma accompanied by the intensified fragrance of cinnamon sugar was the best way to wake up early on the Saturday morning that I made these, and to this day these is one of my family’s all time favorite breakfast treats. I hope you enjoy my favorite breakfast pastry as much as I do!
With love,
Erica

Recipe:
Follow my Step-by-step croissant recipe,

  • Add a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar before rolling into crescents
  • Add another generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar before popping into the oven after the second egg wash

 

Pillowy interior with cinnamon sugar rolled right into the pastry!

butter croissants

Rich, warm and buttery fresh from the oven
A luxurious, weekend breakfast

I have to be honest, the task of making my own croissants from scratch was intimidating at first; however, once I got immersed in the challenge, not only was it fun, but the process was much more fool-proof than I expected. Plus, the finished product was so worth it — I’ve never experienced anything quite like pulling these flaky, light pastries out of a warm oven, with their luxurious buttery aroma wafting around my kitchen. And they tasted that much better knowing that I made them with my own hands. These croissants were magically delicious. They had a soft, delicate, pillowy interior with a crisp, buttery, outer layer that shattered upon being bitten into. So have no fear, I will walk you through step-by-step and on making these melt-in-your mouth croissants at home.
With love,
Erica

Croissants

Adapted from Best of Fine Cooking: Breads

Ingredients
For the dough:
4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk (I ran out of milk, so I used almond milk)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
1 tablespoon + 1 scant teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/4 teaspoon salt
Butter Layer:
1 1/4 cups cold, unsalted butter
Egg wash:
1 egg
Day 1
  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. 
  2. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, and medium speed for an additional 3 minutes. 
  3. Place the dough on a lightly floured plate, wrap well in plastic, and refrigerate overnight
Day 2
  1.   Cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slabs (about 3 slabs per stick) and arrange the pieces on a sheet of parchment paper to form a 6×6 inch square. 
  2. Top with another sheet of parchment and pound the butter with even strokes with a rolling pin. 
  3. As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force and roll it into a 7.5×7.5 inch square.
  4. Trim the edges off and pound them into the center of the square.
  5. Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.
  6. Unwrap the dough and lay it on a lightly floured surface. 
  7. Roll it into a 10.5 inch square.
  8. Take the butter square out of the fridge and unwrap and place it on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough square. 
  9. Fold the flaps of dough over the butter and press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough.
  10. Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough, and roll it into an 8×24 inch rectangle, focusing on lengthening rather than widening. 
  11. Pick up one short end of the dough and fold it over the dough, leaving one third of the dough exposed, and roll it over once more (fold the dough into thirds)
  12. Freeze for 20 minutes. 
  13. Repeat the rolling and folding process (steps 10-12) 2 more times.
  14. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight.
Day 3
  1. Unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough.
  2. Roll the dough into a long and narrow strip (8×44 inches) *hang in there! its a great arm workout!
  3. After you have finished rolling, check to make sure that there is enough excess dough on both ends to allow you to trim the ends straight and allow for the remaining strip of dough to be 40 inches long.
  4. Lay a tape measure lengthwise along your dough. On one side, mark the dough in 5 inch intervals. On the other side, mark the dough at 2.5 inch intervals. Make diagonal cuts by positioning a ruler at the top corner and the first bottom mark (2.5″ side). With a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough diagonally along these lines to form 15 triangles.
  5. Shape the croissants by making a 1/2 inch notch in the center of the short side of each triangle (this gives them a crescent shape). Hold the dough and gently elongate it without squeezing or compressing. Lay the croissant on the counter with the notched side closest to you and roll the dough away from you toward the pointed end. Flare your hands outward as you roll to make the “legs” longer. 
  6. Bend the two “legs” toward each other in a crescent shape and place on a baking sheet (I recommend around 5-7 croissants per sheet).
  7. Brush the croissants with egg wash (place leftover egg wash in the fridge to use later)
  8. Proof the croissants for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (Or proof them overnight in the fridge, and let them come to room temperature for about an hour before baking in the morning)
  9. Brush them once more with egg wash.
  10. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway, until they have a nice golden brown color and darkened edges. 
  12. Cool and enjoy!

Croissant

pane zebra

Such a luxurious breakfast!

 I love croissants as much as anyone, but they take so long to make! This is a little recipe that I made up called “Pane Zebra,” or Zebra Brioche. It is super simple and easy to make, and looks so elegant and fancy! All of those thin, delicate little strips of chocolate really add something special to these sweet, fluffy breakfast rolls, which is why I named them Pane Zebra. These rolls have a base of Cuban Pane Suave, a delicious sweet roll from the island of Cuba, which can be made super easily in the bread machine. I filled it with a cocoa block and rolled it out multiple times to get the striped chocolate effect. Your morning will certainly be brightened by these little stripes of chocolate.
With love, Erica

An assortment of rolls and croissants
Look at those zebra stripes!

Bread Machine Pan Suave
Adapted from Cuban Pan Suave

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus a little more for egg glaze
  • 4 to 5 cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used poppy seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Cocoa Block :
Adapted from Last but not Furno
1 egg  white (keep the yolk for an egg wash later)
1/4 cup all purpose flour  
1/4 cup sugar  
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) milk  
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 tablespoon butter 

  • Add the ingredients for the pan suave in the order directed by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle. 
  • Prepare the Cocoa Block: In a bowl put the egg white with the sugar and flour and stir to obtain a smooth and creamy consistency . Pour the milk in a saucepan and bring to boil, add the cocoa and stir quickly. Add the egg white mixture and stir and cook until thick. 
  • Quickly add the butter and stir. Let cool at room temperature.  
  • Put the cocoa mixture between two sheets of plastic film and press to form a square (you can use a rolling pin) and then put it into the fridge. 
  • Once the dough cycle is done,  deflate the dough and roll it out in a rectangle on a floured surface. Place the cocoa block into the center and fold into Thirds, starting with the top third then fold the bottom third of the rectangle up over the dough. Rotate it 90 degree (That I know the narrow end faces you, keeping the seam on your right) and roll out again (1-2-3-4). Fold the dough I know That the two short edges meet in the center and then fold the dough in half, like a book. Rotate it 90 degrees (you have four layers and the the seam is on your right). Roll out the dough again (5-6-7-8). (See Diagram) 
  •  Cut the dough into 1/2in strips and roll to form the rolls or cut into triangles and shape into croissants (9-10). 
  • Put Them on a baking sheet and the rise for about 1 hour.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown

The Perfect Cream Puff

Sometimes, the best baked treats come not from the popular, hip bakeries of the city (ex. Georgetown Cupcake and Magnolia Bakery), but rather come from those little specialty stores that may not even have a name. I had the honor of discovering one of these places today in New York City. After having a quick shot of espresso at Café Zaiya, I ventured next door, to a little Japanese grocery store that I think is called Yagura. In the front of the store, there was a little lady set up with a stand, selling fresh cream puffs. They were so fresh, she piped the cream into the puff right as you ordered it. Simple as that. There were only two things that one could order at this little stand – plain, and azuki cream puffs. But this lady sure knew what she was doing! I ordered the plain cream puff, and it was the best cream puff I have ever tasted. It had a thin, crispy, lighter –than-air puff, with a delicate, eggy flavor filled with flawlessFrench pastry cream with just the perfect amount of vanilla. Delicately dusted with just enough powdered sugar – this cream puff was a work of art. I hope that next time you find yourself in the city, this little lady will still be whipping up her delicious, perfect cream puffs. 
With love, Erica
 
Freshly baked choux, before being piped with pastry cream

The simple beauty of the cream puff

Look at that light and fluffy texture!