Saying Goodbye to Summer

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

I feel like it’s just about time to say goodbye to summer.  I think I’m just about ready to trade in peaches for pears and white wine for red.  Just about ready.

The best way to bid farewell to such a gorgeous season is to do something quintessentially LA…. and if we can work in a smokey sunset and some wine… well, that’s living.

Here’s some of our end of summer adventure.  What are you doing with your end of summer days?  Does it involve wine?  It should.  It really should.

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

Barnsdall Art Park is smack dab in the middle of Hollywood.  It’s a gorgeous little park and museum that offers all sorts of lovely things like art classes, Shakespeare in the park, picnicking, fantastic views of Los Angeles, and weekly summer wine tasting.

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

Here’s something you should know about me and my lady friends.  If you say wine… we’re there.  Ooooh are we ever speedy and punctual when it comes to a good wine tasting.

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

Aaand we bring our cameras.  As lovely as a wine tasting is, taking pictures of a wine tasting just ups the fun… mostly because we’re camera dorks.

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

Two things:

Whitney’s glasses are soooooo Jackie O 2009.  Seriously.

The Malbec Rose from Argentina Whitney is holding was a(to the)mazing!

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

Los Angeles is one hot smoky place these days.  The end of summer seems to mean the beginning of fire season.

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

The smoky, daunting skies usually don’t stop people from coming out to play in the park and eat gourmet hot dogs from a truck.  We’re mostly like… ‘wait, is that smoke or smog?  I’m confused. Ohhh, did you say wine and hot dogs!? I’m not on fire… I’m there.’

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

Yep.  It’s just about time to pack up those swimsuits (thank goodness!) and start thinking about sweet potato pie (hooooray!).

Whatever you do to say goodbye to summer, do it out in the sun with your friends… will ya?

No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie

No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie

Is it just me, or is making a pie sorta like going to jury duty?

Don’t get me wrong… I sometimes (no.. not always) like throwing together a pie.  I also sometimes like trucking my rear downtown for jury duty…. that’s after kicking and screaming in the weeks prior to said dutying.

The process of going to jury  makes me feel super adult.  What?  You want me to sit in this crowded room with a bunch of angry people missing work, and you want me to possibly make decisions Law and Order style?  Ok.  I’ll play your game justice system.  I’m a tax paying adult… thanks for the recognition.

The process of making a pie also makes me feel all adult like.  Something about tacking a many layered recipe and busting out my pie plate tells me that yes… you’ve got bills to pay, but why not take a minute… ok, an hour… and show to world who’s in charge by making a pie?  Orange and Cream… done and done.

No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie

No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie

Because the temps are still absolutely blazing here in Southern California, I thought a no-bake pie was in order.  One problem though… crust!  This graham cracker crust is baked for a quick 10 minutes before the filling is poured into it, making this No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie a little bit of a lie.

The filling for this pie is easily thrown together on the stove top.  Bonus!  You can make this with either fresh orange juice and zest, or lemon juice and zest.  Also, feel free to skip the whipped cream on top if you like.  The pie will be just a lovely without it.  My only problem was that the crust was a tad bit crumbly… but really, that’s wasn’t a huge problem for me.  I could have easily eaten this pie directly out of the pie plate with a jumbo spoon.

No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie

No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie

Print this Recipe!

For the crust:

1 2/3 cup crushed graham crackers

1/4 cup sugar

dash of ground cinnamon

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons melted butter

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter until evenly moistened.  Press into a 9-inch pie plate and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-13 minutes, until lightly golden.  Cool before filling.

For the filling:

3 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 cup sour cream

1 Tablespoon orange zest

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

3 large egg yolks

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream (for the whipped cream top)

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, orange juice, zest yolks and milk in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook until thick, stirring constantly.

Add butter and stir until melted.  Cool the mixture for 15 minutes, then add the sour cream.  Stir to incorporate.  Pour into cool pie crust and chill for 3 hours.  I left my pie unwrapped in the fridge because I love a skin to form on top of the pie.  Cover your pie loosely if you’d like.  Whip up the cream, adding a few tablespoons of powdered sugar if you’d like, then spoon on top of the orange filling.

A Heart to Heart… Seriously, I might cry.

Picture Old Site Pictures

Can I share something with you?

I’ve been feeling a little lost lately.

I think this whole new blog has left me feeling turned around and upside down.

Let me explain.  I want to take you back to the humble beginnings of Joy the Baker.

See that picture up top?  That’s my first site.  Oooh me Oooh my.  Pretty precious, right?  I set this site up  two years ago so I could start selling wedding cakes and wholesale baked yummies to coffee shops.  I played the wholesale and wedding cake game for a hot minute.  I chugged along on my own for a few months before it became clear that food costs and kitchen expenses made it hard for me to even break even.  That’s when I started working in other bakeries and restaurants.  Phew.  That was relief.

Then a magical thing happened.  It really did feel like magic.  I discovered food blogs.  It’s like fireworks went off in my head… as silly as that sounds.  Stories plus pictures plus recipes… plus you just get to be yourself at every moment!?  Holy heck!  In!  I wanted in!

Old Site Pictures

Old Site Pictures

Here are some of my very first food photos, taken when I was working as the Head Baker at a tiny bakery in Burbank.  These shots?  Taken on my camera phone at 4:30 in the morning.  You think I’m kidding.  I’m totally not kidding.  That’s some good glisten on those cinnamon rolls, right?  Thank you camera phone macro mode!

mis-en-place

Want to see my first post?  Ha!  I know it’s around here somewhere.  Here!

Above is one of the first pictures I took with a fancy camera, a Canon 40D.  I propped an Ikea lamp up in the background… that’s what is creating that yellowish glow.  Not exactly ideal, I now know.

Can  I just say… I was beyond mortified when I discovered that someone had found my blog and left a lovely comment in the days that followed my first post.

Mortified.

The thought of someone finding this space and reading my words absolutely terrified me.

But it didn’t terrify me enough to actually stop posting, and posting, and posting… and posting… and posting some more.

Joy the Baker

So here I am… almost two years later, still working a day job, cooking, blogging, throwing picnics for hundreds of people like you, and introducing a whole new look with loads of new content into my space.

Can I be honest?  That’s what we do here, right?

This whole redesign is a big, scary thing for me.  Many, many months ago I thought I might like to start a separate blog… one about my silly life and all the silly things I do.  I then thought… ‘Hey!  Why not put my food and my life all together into one big ol’ fun site!?’.

Here we are many months later, I’ve hired designers and fired designers.  I’ve begged coders to meet deadlines and battled hosting companies to get where I am today.  It feels like I’ve built a house, then set it on fire… then had it built all over again… but, really… less dramatic than that and without the fire.

I Fried

I’ve gone from taking pictures with my camera phone to running an entire site and keeping up with designers and coders and hosting and CSS and CPM and IE6 compatibility and… DUDE!  This mess is complicated!!!  Bourbon.  Where is the Bourbon?  Also doughnuts.  I need doughnuts!

Am I whining?  I’m totally pouting right now, aren’t I?

It’s just that sometimes things become far more than you expected… even when you’re trying to expect them.

I’m telling you all this… I’m showing you where I’ve come from and showing you how we’re right at the beginning of where we’re going, because I have an unreasonable desire to share with you the overwhelming, scary and totally exciting nature of this endeavour.  Oooh Internet, how you fussy up my emotions sometimes.

So we’re in this together right?  I couldn’t have nearly as much fun with this space if you weren’t here to share it with me.

Thanks for being here for as long as you have… even if it’s only for the past two minutes.  Thanks for adjusting to all this change I’ve thrown at you.

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Thanks for being patient as I get my footing here, yell at my hosting company, recharge the batteries on my camera…. and do some freakin’ dishes.

And hey!  Let me know what’s working for you here… and what makes you sorta wanna yell and scream (in a bad way).  You matter.  I’m listening, unless it has anything to do with my use of the ‘…’, then I’m not really listening.   Holla back.

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

God sure does have a clever sense of humor, wouldn’t you say!?

Yes.

Here’s how I know:  I’m dating a faaaaantastic man who… doesn’t know the difference between a pie and a cake… a muffin and a cupcake.

Funny, right?  This has to be a joke… right?

Nope.

Ok.  To be fair.  It’s not that he doesn’t know the difference… it’s just that he mixes them all up all the time.  Maybe it makes me a little crazy.  Maybe it goes a little something like this:

Me:  Simon,  what do you want for your birthday?

Simon:  A giant pie!

Me:  A pie?  You mean you don’t want a big ol’ chocolate cake?

Simon:  Oh!  Wait!  No…. I want a cake.  Wait… cakes are the big, multi-layered things with all the frosting.  Yes.  I want that.

Me:  Cake.  Not pie.  Cake.  Ok.

OR!

Me:  Hey Simon!  What do you want for breakfast?

Simon:  Cupcakes!

Me:  You mean muffins, right?

Simon:  Ooh yea.  Muffins.  Yeaaaaah.  They have the same shape!  It’s confusing.

Me:  I know.

Ok… maybe these two conversations are a bit of an exaggeration.  But seriously friends… they’re not that much of an exaggeration.  This happens to me, and I don’t see an end in sight.  Very funny God.  Luckily I have a very keen sense of humor too.  Ha.

Perhaps making up for his mix-ups, Simon is one hell of a cupcake decorator.  Seriously.

Now, I’d like to introduce you to my absolute favorite Red Velvet Cupcake recipe with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.  Wait… muffins.  No, cupcakes.  No… definitely cupcakes.  I know this.

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

Believe it or not, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Red Velvet Cupcakes.  I thought they always tasted, well… red.

This Red Velvet Cupcake recipe comes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  All of the cupcakes I’ve tried from this book so far have been a tremendous success.  What makes this recipe so lovely, is the hearty but not overpowering amount of cocoa powder.  It’s just enough to tint the cupcake a sultry brownish-red and to tone down the red flavor that always turns me off.  Buttermilk works to make the cupcakes just the right softness and combined with Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting… shut up… so good!

This recipe makes one dozen cupcakes.  Double the recipe and you’ll have either two dozen cupcakes, or enough batter to make 2 9-inch layer cakes.  Brilliant!

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

recipe from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

makes one dozen cupcakes, double recipe to make 2 9-inch layer cakes

Print this Recipe!

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2  Tablespoons red food coloring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Turn mixer to high and add  the egg.  Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste.  Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined.  You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk.  Add half of the flour and salt and mix until combined.  Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour.  Beat on high until smooth.

Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar.  Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.

Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.

Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

double recipe to frost a 2 layer 9-inch cake

2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, cold (I used room temperature)

scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-slow speed until it comes together and is well mixed.

Add the cream cheese all at once and beat on medium to medium-high until incorporated.

Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes, or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Do not over-beat as the frosting can quickly become runny.

Gift Bag Giveaway! So Many Ways to Win!!

baggu, rishi, morning glory

What’s the best part of going to a party?  Let me answer that for you…. the Gift Bag!!!

Now… it doesn’t happen very often now that I’m an adult, but the best part about leaving my friends’ birthday parties between the ages of 6 and 10 was the gift bag.  Something about that super bouncy ball, fake lipstick key chain and mini coloring book with crayon just set my world right.

Because there aren’t nearly enough gift bags in my adult world, I knew that my rooftop picnic must… MUST have parting gift bags.

Three companies were generous enough to make these gift bags possible.   Here’s the part where I thank them for their awesomeness and give stuff away to you, and you, and you!

baggu, rishi, morning glory

baggu, rishi, morning glory

Rishi Tea not only donated all of the tea for me to brew for the event, they also included 200 instant tea packs attached to a 20%off coupon.  Remember the tea pot giveaway? Yea!  That was Rishi Tea too!  These people are seriously generous and they have really lovely tea.  I’ve been making their iced chamomile tea all summer…. no lie.

Baggu. Ooooh dearest and most darling Baggu.  Thanks for playing along with all of my shenanigans.  I’ve now had two Baggu, reusable bag giveaways, and Baggu was kind enough to donate 200 colorful reusable shopping bags to my picnic.  Boy of boy were they a hit!  Baggu, I’m pretty sure everyone at my neighborhood Trader Joe’s is jealous of me when I check out with these bags.  I play it cool.  I can’t blame them.

baggu, rishi, morning glory

Then there’s Morning Glory Confections .  I’ve never been a huge fan of brittle until I got my hands on Max’s Morning Glory Brittle.  It’s hand made… (hand made!  I’ve seen his hands) brittle in flavors that I never knew could exist in brittle-land.  There’s Indian Curry with Pistachio, New Mexico Chili with Pumpkin Seed, Cocoa Nib Coffee Bean and Pecan, and my favorites Chai Tea with Cashew and Fleur de Sel with Peanut.  Max also sells his treats at the Melrose Farmer’s Market every Sunday… if you’re in Los Angels.  He was so kind to make these 200 brittle packages for me… by hand.  Thank you Max!  I think you’re rad!

baggu, rishi, morning glory

So here’s where you win too!

See, I’ve got extra gift bags and I want you to have them!

You have between now and Sunday night at midnight PST to leave a comment on this post expressing your excitement.  I’ll pick 15… yes, 15 winners and ship off bags to them!  Whoa!  I think these packages are also light enough to be shipped international… so bring it on world!

BONUS!  I’m doing a more intimate gift bag giveaway on Twitter and on my Facebook Fan Page sometime Friday afternoon.  Instant winners… ooh yeah!  If you follow me on Twitter, or you’re a fan of Joy the Baker on the old Facebook, then you have an even better chance of nabbing a gift bag.  Keep an eye out this afternoon!  It’s going to be fuuuuun!

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

Sometimes I have imaginary phone conversations.  Ok… this happens a lot.  They go a little something like this:

Hello..?  Yes, hi.  I’d like to speak with the person in charge of making up all these clever food holidays like today’s Bacon Day.  Oh, that’s you?  Excellent.  I have a few additional food holidays I thought you might like to add to your calender.

How about a pizza and beer holiday every Friday of the month.  I mean… it’d just be really great if my calender could justify my food choices.  No?  You know, you don’t have to decide so quickly.  Maybe think it over a bit.   Still no?  Ok… lemme run another idea by you.

Can we make everyday at 3:30 in the afternoon National-Go-Ahead-And-Eat-A-Brownie Moment?  What?  That’s too specific?  I see.  You might reconsider this one… the people are really calling for it.

No?

Ok…. I’ll just stick to Bacon Day.  Thanks for that one.

I gotta run.  I have to tell all my friends about these Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies I just made!  Laaaater!

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

Interested in other ways to celebrate bacon!?

How about Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles or BLT’s with Homemade Mayonnaise!?

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

Bacon and peanut butter!?  Peanut Butter and Bacon!  Yes.  Yes yes yes!

I had never heard of this combination until a friend told me how her grandfather used to make peanut butter and bacon sandwiches for all the grandkids to eat.  What?  I need ts combination in cookie form and I need them in my face right now…. that’s what I thought as she was waxing on about her grandfather.  Sorry.

So how do these cookies taste?  So amazingly good!  The cookie itself is a more delicate, crumbly peanut butter cookie due to the absence of butter and flour. Yup!  Gluten free!  The peanut butter taste is front and center.  The bacon blends incredibly well with the sweetness of the cookie, adding an alluring salty, smoky, chewy bite.  Hot dang!  I will make these cookies again and again and again.  Flourless.  Butterless.  Only five ingredients and one of those ingredients is bacon.  The world just got a step closer to perfect.

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

makes 15 cookies about the size of your palm

Print this Recipe!

1 cup all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter

1 cup sugar (1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar)

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

about 6 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and diced

In a skillet over medium high heat, fry up bacon until cooked through and let cool on paper towels until cool enough to dice.  Dice up and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a baking sheet with butter and set aside. In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes.  Fold in cooked bacon.   Roll into large walnut sized balls and create a cris-cross pattern with a fork. If you’d like, roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before making the cris-cross pattern. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to… your mouth.

Did You Win!? Did You Win!?

baggu, rishi, morning glory

I’ve got a great cure for the Tuesday Blues!

It’s time to give goodies away!

Close to 1,000 of you darling people have so graciously entered for this humble giveaway including Rishi Tea, Morning Glory Confections and Baggu bags.  A cool 15 of you won won won!  Click on through and see if you’re a winner!

What’s going on this week around these parts!?  I’ll tell ya…  coffee, cookies, what looks like the last of my summer tomatoes, and what the heck am I going to grow for Fall?  Have any ideas for me?  I’m going to need some gardening advice.

Ok… winning numbers look like this on random.org.  Oooooh!  Enticing, right?

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Gift Bag Winners

Do you see your shining comment up here?  If you do, email me at joythebaker (at) gmail (dot) com with your address, and I’ll get your happy bag shipped off to you!

If you don’t see your shining comment up here in the winner’s circle, I suggest you mosey on into the kitchen and whip up these Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies.  Hot dang, how have I missed this amazing combination for so long?

What the Heck is Farro…? Plus an End of Summer Veggie and Farro Salad!

Summer Vegetable Farro Salad

How about a quick lesson on my newest and favorite food find?  You in?  I’m droppin’ knowledge.  Let’s talk farro!

Farro is a grain commonly and presently grown in Italy.  It doesn’t have strictly Italian roots… those roots would probably be somewhere in the Middle East, but Italy is a mighty fine producer of farro these days.

Farro is a wild cousin of wheat.  If you’re farmiliar with barley, I would say that farro is very similiar.

When cooked, farro is often shaped like a giant puffed rice.  It’s nutty in flavor and has a slightly crunchy texture.  I know it as a super healthy whole grain that keeps me full for hours and hours… an almost impossible task.  It’s full of fiber and even has a great amount of protein in it!

I most often use farro to fatten up soups or to make a nice sauteed vegetable salad.  Salads with farro are delicious warm, or room temperature, or cold standing in front of the fridge sometime past midnight.

We’re not done here…. click on through, won’t you?

Summer Vegetable Farro Salad

Summer Vegetable Farro Salad

So, I know what you’re thinking.  Ok, ok Joy… farro is sooooooo great, but how do I cook the stuff?

Well… I was getting to that.  Hold your horses!

Some recipes might suggest that you soak your farro overnight before cooking it.  I don’t think such a process is entirely necessary.  I boiled my dried farro in salted water for about 15 minutes, drained it, tossed in sauteed vegetables, lemon and olive oil and I was golden.  It’s a gorgeous side dish.  It’s a satisfying main dish.  It’s just all together rad!

Where the heck do you buy farro?  Try your local natural food store or Whole Foods, in the bulk bins.  There are also plenty of places online you might scope it out.  Look around for farro.  It’s totally worth it!

Summer Vegetable Farro Salad

Farro Salad with Red Peppers, Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes and Lemon

Print this Recipe!

1 heaping cup dried farro

6 cups of boiling water

2 teaspoons salt

1 large zucchini, diced

1 medium onion diced

a clove of garlic, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

juice of 1 lemon

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add two teaspoons of salt and dried farro.  Turn heat to medium and boil farro until it is tender with a slight bite to it.  This took me about 15 to 20 minutes.

Once cooked, drain farro and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil.  Add onions, peppers, garlic and zucchini and saute until cooked through but still vibrant in color, about 5 minutes.  Toss in the tomatoes and cumin and salt and pepper towards the end of cooking the vegetables.

Toss cooked vegetables with cooked farro.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Before serving, finish the farro with a hearty squeeze of lemon juice and a healthy drizzle of olive oil.

Cookies plus Coffee minus the Kitchen

Ferry Building, SF

After extensive… and I do mean extensive research, I’ve determined that certain items always taste better if someone else makes them for you.

It’s like when someone else draws a bath for you… maybe with bubbles or salts, and perfectly warm water.  Dang, that’s a good bath… somehow way better than it would have been if you turned those bathtub faucets yourself.

So, what items always taste better if someone else makes them for you?  Perfect macarons and the day’s first cup of coffee.

Cookie and a coffee?  And I don’t have to move a muscle in the kitchen?  It’s already delicious.

Now let me tell you about who made them for me.

Ferry Building, SF

There is a magical place in San Francisco.  It’s called the Ferry Building.  No matter how many times I’ve been to San Francisco I can always always visit the Ferry Building.  Why?  They have some aaaamazing food, and I always happen to be hungry.

Let me tell you about my favorite cookie and my favorite coffee in San Francisco.

Ferry Building, SF

Blue Bottle Coffee is a company based out of San Fransisco.  They call themselves Artisanal Microroasters, which I think is a fancy way of saying that they truly care about the quality of bean they buy, and the way they treat it.  In turn… they produce my absolute favorite cup of coffee.  At the Ferry Building, they brew their drip coffee to order.  You know what tastes so good about that?  The freshness, care and attention… what else could a girl want first thing in the morning?

Ferry Building, SF

Ferry Building, SF

A cookie! Miette Patisserie!  Oh heavens!  Beyond cuteness!  Miette makes the most lovely macaron I’ve ever had.  Perfectly chewy, full of nutty bits and in flavors that make my life happy like Rose Geranium.  Want to know something rad about Miette Patisserie?  Their founder Megan Ray is a self taught pastry queen and got her start at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market.  Yea… true.  Cool, right?  She makes one fine cookie.  They literally taste like fun and awesome had a cookie baby.  You think that’s weird…  try these cookies!  See for yourself.

Ferry Building.  Food magic outside of the kitchen.

Chocolate Croissants in 30 Minutes Flat!

Easy Chocolate Croissants

I faked it.

I faked it just a little bit with these croissants.

See, these croissants were hot from the oven and onto my breakfast plate in less than 30 minutes because I used frozen, all-butter puff pastry instead of slaving over homemade croissant dough.  Real croissant dough has yeast, a bit of sugar and milk in it.  Puff pastry does not have these elements; it’s just flour, salt, water, and more butter than you care to know.

So you see… I didn’t spend the time folding and folding and folding croissant dough, I faked it.  I don’t feel one bit of bad.  In fact, I feel so good about faking it, here’s a few other things I’ve been known to fake.

I’ve faked a tan with that new and clever gradual tan lotion.  Thank you lotion technology.

I’ve faked a smile… when I’m feeling super extra awkward, or when I don’t like your perfume but you’re a friend of the family and I don’t want to be rude, or when I’m being paid to smile.  That last one doesn’t really happen… ever.

I’ve been faking being an adult for the last ten years.  Sometimes, well… it sure feels like I’m faking it.

Lastly, as discussed above… I fake a dang good chocolate croissant.  Here’s what’s what on that!

Easy Chocolate Croissants

Easy Chocolate Croissants

I hold the strict belief that any breakfast pastry that comes out of my kitchen should take me less than an hour to make.  I just don’t have the gusto to slave over a pastry first thing in the morning.  That’s where these beauties come in.  Grab yourself a package of all-butter puff pastry, some good quality dark chocolate, an egg, a pinch of salt and let’s do this!

Easy Chocolate Croissants

Easy Chocolate Croissants

inspired by Nigella Lawson (p.s. You’re super pretty Nigella.  Super.)

Print this Recipe!

1 (14 oz) package frozen all-butter puff pastry, left to defrost in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours

1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces, 60% or 70% cocoa solids

1 egg, beaten

a sprinkle of fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Gently unpackage the slightly thawed puff pastry and  place on a lightly floured surface.  With a light floured rolling pin, gently roll out the puff pastry, extending the dough about 1 inch on all sides.  The dough will thaw as you work it.  That’s great.  Just make sure it isn’t sticking to your work surface too much.

With the pastry sheet horizontal, make three vertical cuts, making four strips of pastry dough.  Cut each strip in half horizontally.  You’ll have eight medium sized rectangles.  Cut each rectangle in half diagonally, creating 16 triangles.

Place each triangle so the wider part is toward you and the point is away from you.

Place small pieces of chocolate about 1/2-inch above the wide part of the triangle.

Carefully roll the chocolate loaded end toward the point, pinching the dough together at the beginning of the roll to ensure that the chocolate doesn’t ooze out during baking.  Once rolled, curl the ends toward the center slightly.

Place the 16 small chocolate croissants on a lined but not greased baking sheet.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle each top with just a bit of sea salt if you like a little salt with your chocolate.

Place in 425 degree F oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden, puffed and otherwise irresistible.