Chocolate Chestnut Croissants + Exciting Christmas Gift

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's already 2018-- 2017 flew by so fast.

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday, but New Years is definitely a fun holiday too. I actually kind of consider New Years part of the Christmas season. I mean technically it is, if you consider it being in the middle of the 12 days of Christmas, but I've always looked at it as the last big hurrah before moving on from the holiday season. Not for me though, I celebrate Christmas for a very long time after December 25.

I know I haven't been posting at all this fall/winter season, which is my favorite time to cook. I've just been super busy. I've been sleeping in until noon or later every day recently (mostly because I've had a cold, so I've been taking Nyquil every night and passing out). I usually hate sleeping in that late because I feel like my day has been wasted, but I think this sleep has been much needed. I still have one more week of Christmas break before I start my second semester, so I'm savoring each and every second I can get of it. The week I go back I only have four days of school before I get to go to New York with my mom and dad, though. My dad has work to do, so my mom and I are going to shop, eat, and probably shop some more while he's doing that. We're also going to tour NYU, which is SUPER exciting. I'll make sure to take lots of pictures and post about my trip!

Okay, so back to Christmas. Every year, some amazing family friends (they're pretty much family) of ours sends us the sweetest gifts. The past few years I've received Try the World and Love with Food subscription boxes from them, but this year they changed things up a little and got me something that I'm so excited to use...

A Sous-Vide!

A few years ago, we went to a restaurant in Nashville, where my dad ordered the most amazing, flavorful, and tender piece of pork. He asked the chef about what made it so good and the chef talked about how they vacuum seal the meat and place it in a water bath to get a precise temperature.
Well, that's technically what a Sous-Vide does. Of course, I didn't get the industrial kitchen sized one, but mine is pretty awesome. And it has Bluetooth/Wifi features, so I can download an app and control the temperature from anywhere I am! My dad is VERY excited for this gift, too, to say the least...

I also got a Sous-Vide vacuum sealer along with it.

Anyway, the last piece of cooking equipment I received was a juicer back in 2014, I think, so I'm more than excited to try this out. I looked up different ways to use it besides cooking meat, and found a whole bunch of cool things to make in it, so keep an eye out for future posts about it!

Okay. Now onto the croissants.
A while back in my French Try the World Box (I think it was October), I got a tube of chestnut spread, which by the way-- is so good! It's just been sitting in my fridge in a plastic bag (when I first tried to open it, it exploded all over me). I finally used it the other day and made homemade croissants.

Croissants are one of my favorite breakfast foods EVER! My friend's dad used to heat up the almond and chocolate ones from Williams-Sonoma for breakfast after sleepovers, and I looked forward to it every single time. There's just something about a warm, flaky, buttery, sugary croissant first thing in the morning that makes me feel very... French.

Anyway, I made homemade ones for the first time! I looked up a Julia Child recipe for them, because who's a better chef than her when it comes to buttery French food. I eventually found one, but I should've known that it was going to be a difficult task. I started making them without even reading the recipe and later found out (around step 25) that the recipe was more than fifty steps long. Not having that much patience, I stopped what I was doing, cut out some triangles from the dough, put them in the oven, and hoped for the best. I can't imagine what the 30 something steps would've done because strangely enough, they turned out perfect: like flaky, butter, crispy croissants straight from France. I mean I've never actually had croissants straight from France, but they were pretty dang good.

I've always loved both chocolate and almond croissants, so I thought, why not combine them both!
I filled them with a chocolate almond chestnut sauce and topped them with both dark chocolate chunks and almond slices. Oh, and the best part is definitely the crunchy sugar-y coating on them. I also topped a few of them off with some flaky sea salt, which was a real game-changer if you ask me.

Sugared Chocolate-Chestnut Croissants

Makes 8 croissants

  • 1 3/4 cup bread flour (I used 0-0)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3 tbs. luke-warm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar + 2 tbs. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fine salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter
  • 1 egg (whisked to make eggwash)
  • sugar for topping
Chocolate-Chestnut Sauce:
  • 3 tbs. chestnut spread OR make one homemade
  • 2 tbs. cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • pinch fine salt
Mix the chestnut sauce ingredients together and set aside.
Mix the yeast, 1 tsp, sugar, and warm water together and set aside to foam up. Sift the flour, 2 tbs. sugar, and salt together. Slightly warm the milk until just tepid. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the oil, milk, and yeast mixture in and stir with a plastic spatula until combined. Put the dough on a floured surface and let rest for a few minutes. Knead 8-10 times, place dough ball back into a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rest for 3 hours, or until the dough has risen.
Place dough back onto a floured surface after it has risen, and roll into a rectangle until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up to create a 3-part rectangle, like a letter. Wrap it in plastic and let rest on a cookie sheet for another hour, or until it has doubled in size. Place the stick of butter on a Silpat mat and beat it down until it is a flat rectangle of about 1/4 inch thick. I used a spatula for this part. Place in the fridge to harden while the dough is resting. Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes after doubled in size. Place dough on a floured surface again, and roll into a rectangle of about 1/4 inch thick. Place the butter on the top half of the dough and fold the same way as you did before. Turn 90 degrees and fold the same way again. You should now have a square. Wrap and put in the fridge while the oven preheats to 475ยบ F. Take the dough out and gently roll out, being careful not to let the butter spill out. Roll into a large square (about 1/4 inch thick), and cut into triangles (cut in 8s, like a square pie). Roll out to double in size, spread with chestnut sauce leaving at least an inch border, and fold over to make the original size triangle. Place each on a buttered baking sheet. Top with a few chocolate chunks and almond slices. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with 1-2 tsp. sugar on each. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out and drizzle with extra chocolate chestnut sauce if desired. Place back in for 5 more minutes or until puffed up and golden brown. Top with flaky sea salt if desired. Let cool or eat straight from the oven (preferred way). Enjoy!

*Sorry for the picture quality! I don't have my camera right now, so I've been using my phone!*

Happy 2018!

Cecilia A.


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