Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! I hope it was fabulous and filled with food coma(s) and family.
I've been home for the past week in Western PA and a "dead" video card on my parents desktop computer prevented me from posting all of the deliciousness that went down my gullet during the holiday. And... now I'm on a 5-day juice cleanse to detox from all of that deliciousness, so I'm anti-solid food until Saturday. But don't worry! I took pictures! And I saved recipes! And I'll be posting them all week (and salivating into my kale juice while I do so).
First up is something I'm truly thankful for. After a first brutal attempt, last week I gave thanks for... full-size kitchens and good yeast! Because apparently that (and lots of patience) is all you need to make patisserie-quality chocolate croissants. On Wednesday afternoon, with Turkey Day prep covered in foil and casserole dishes stacked in the fridge, I decided to give croissants another try. They'd been vexing me since the last unsuccessful attempt and I figured I had the best conditions to try again: a full-sized kitchen with plenty of counter space for rolling (and rolling, and rolling).
So I pulled up a new recipe and got to it. I think the recipe made all the difference but I also know why the last one didn't - rule #1 of yeast doughs: never try to half the recipe (which is what I'd done). So I mixed dough and let it rise and punched it down and let it rise again and by Thursday morning we had croissant dough ready for Thanksgiving breakfast.
This was a really solid recipe that was easy to follow, perfect to help someone like me conquer her yeast-fear :)
I made "plain" croissants with the rest of the dough (it makes a lot) and the family was snacking on them with grins and buttery fingers even this morning. The egg-wash is key for the bakery-look-alike croissants but not necessary for taste. I'll definitely be making these again, as soon as I get a full-size kitchen in my own apartment!
via Southern Living
1 cup butter, softened
2 (1/4 oz) envelopes active dry yeast
3 tbsp. sugar, divided
1/2 cup warm water 105 - 115 F
2/3 cup milk
4 cups to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2-3 rectangles chocolate candy bar (I used semisweet chocolate chips)
Press butter into a 10x8-inch rectangle on wax paper, chill.
Combine yeast, 1 tbsp. sugar, and water in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
Heat milk to 105 - 115 F. Combine yeast mixture, warm milk, remaining 2 tbsp. sugar, 2 cups flour and next 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat mixture at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 F), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down. Cover with plastic wrap and chill dough 1 hour.
Punch down dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 24x10-inch rectangle. Place chilled butter rectangle in center of dough rectangle, and carefully fold dough over butter. Pinch edges to seal.
Roll dough into an 18x10-inch rectangle; fold into thirds, beginning with short side. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Repeat rolling and folding procedure twice, chilling dough 30 minutes each time. Wrap dough in aluminum foil and chill overnight.
Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll 1 portion into a 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface, and cut into 4 rectangles (keep remaining dough chilled). Place 2-3 rectangles of chocolate candy bar, beginning on the short end of each rectangle and roll up tightly. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 425 F for 8 minutes (mine took 9-10) or until lightly golden. Cool croissants slightly on baking sheets, and transfer to wire racks to cool. Repeat procedure with remaining dough portions.
For egg wash: Combine 1 tsp water with yolk of one egg. Brush mixture onto croissants with pastry brush before baking.