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I'm a busy stay-at-home mommy of a 2 year old monst-- er toddler. This is a blog about stuff I like to cook, including recipes and pictures. <3

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French Croissants
Monday, December 31, 2012 | Time: 6:50 AM

Got a chance to visit France whilst on deployment with the Navy, and O-M-G there is a reason why France is the pastry capital of the world!! The first real pastry I had there was the croissant, a flaky, fluffy, buttery roll named after its crescent shape. BEST FOOD EVAR! One could easily live off these things (Who said man cannot live on bread alone? That's just silly.).
I had a few other yummy treats in France, but these babies are definitely on the top of my list of delicious pastries.  They are a bit labor intensive, but if you are a kitchen-holic like me, its not a problem to do a little work on them every day for two or three days.
They can be customized a lot of ways, too - add jam or chunks of chocolate in the middle, then roll up, for a sweet treat. Also I'm sure most of you have heard of 'pigs in a blanket', which is probably a white American thing - usually a hotdog wrapped in croissant dough, with cheese or whatever. For a savory snack, you could totally do these fancy-schmancy with some fancy sausage and hard to pronounce cheese, or something like that. Or... y'know... hot dog and American cheese. Whatever floats yours.
It sure beats the hell out of out-of-the-can Pillsbury type, lemme tell ya. Though the process may be intimidating for those who only dabble in pastry, PLEASE TRY THESE because you wont regret it.

Recipe and pictures for steps copied from Daily Delicious blog

1¼ teaspoon of dry-active yeast (about ½ sachet)
3 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cups of bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1½ teaspoon salt
½ cup  milk 
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other tasteless oil)
½ cup (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg, for egg wash

1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
2. Measure out the other ingredients
3. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
4. Place the flour in a large bowl.
5. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour
6. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl
8. Knead the dough eight to ten times only. The best way is as Julia Child does it in the video . It’s a little difficult to explain, but essentially involves smacking the dough on the counter (lots of fun if you are mad at someone) and removing it from the counter using the pastry scraper.

9. Place the dough back in the bowl, and place the bowl in the plastic bag.
10. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size.

11. After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the sides of the bowl with your fingertips. 
12. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches (20cm by 30cm).
13. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up)

14. Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag. 
15. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge.
16. Place the double-risen dough onto a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the plate in the fridge while you prepare the butter. 

17. Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to incorporate the butter
18. Place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board.
19. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat.
20. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.
21. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest for a minute or two.
22. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). 
23. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle 
24. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 mm) across from all the edges.
25. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up.
26. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book). 
27. Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). 
28. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up. 
29. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours. 

30. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly floured board or counter.
31. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little
32. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes
33. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
34. Fold in three, as before

35. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
36. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising)

37. Roll the dough in to 5mm thick. Cut into 9x22 cm triangle.

38. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape.
39. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet
40. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, creating 12 croissants in total (if you make the same size as me it will be less).

41. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour
42. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
43. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water
44. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants. 
45. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely
46. Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

This post was sponsored by Anti-Flag and lots of love.

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