Monday 12 August 2013

How to Make Croissant Donuts

I like croissants.  I like donuts.  I heard about the queues, the price, the legend.
I did it.  I made a cronut.

....but in the quickest, short-cutting and cheating way that I could, with a little help from Edd Kimber too*.  There's no making dough two days prior, very little method or utensils involved.  But there is lots of anxiety - which you then combat with an amazing cronut at the end, so - swings and roundabouts.

What I Used
1 tin of Jus-Rol Croissant Dough (=150g)
Vegetable Oil
Icing Sugar / Sprinkles
Cookie Cutters
Rolling Pin / Board / Saucepan / Slotted Spoon

To start, I opened my can of croissant dough with a horrible realisation that this was a lot of dough for one person.  I was pretty sure that this better turn out OK as people were going to have these forced on them later in the day. [You can also be safe in the knowledge that if it doesn't work out, you can roll these in to croissants, like they're supposed to be].  Also, this dough is ready.  It literally tries to escape from the can:
The dough is pre-cut, ready to make in to croissants, so needs to be rolled until it combines.  This is tough.  The dough wants a fight and I was conscious of making the dough tougher and was unsure how this might effect the outcome.  But I persevered and eventually, the dough combined:
Roll out [again, a bit of a fight, but stand your ground!] to around 1cm thick and then taking my TKMaxx purchase of the month, I cut 2 1/4 inch rounds and then smaller 1 1/2 inch rounds inside:
I wont lie, I thought these looked like they were on the skinny side, so I also cut two more with 
2 5/8 inch rounds.
Placing on a lined tray, my initial thought was should I leave to keep shape in the fridge or leave to proof? So I did both - leaving on the cooker top for about 10 minutes whilst I tidied things away, preheated my oven to 200 degrees C and then chilled in the fridge:
I then filled 1/3 of my saucepan [nothing special, just your average] with vegetable oil and brought to a heat below simmering, but when dropping a test small section of dough, sizzled at the sides of the dough and gave me chip-pan fire anxiety:
I removed my cronuts from the fridge and then carefully added a cronut and allowed it to fry
 for around 30 seconds:
..turned for another 30 seconds and then removed to a towel lined bowl whilst I completed the rest.  As far as the skinny worries were concerned - the cronuts do puff out, so this worked out fine for my liking.  I also popped the middles in - no waste here where the cronuts were concerned:
I wont lie.  The frying part terrified me.  I had damp tea towels on standby, my mobile ready to call the Fire Brigade and visions of burning my apartment block down all for the sake of trying a cronut in my head.  But it wasn't too bad.  I took my time, made one at a time and by the end, was feeling pretty chef-y about it all.  But in all seriousness, be careful.

To make sure they were completely cooked through, I popped them in my pre-heated oven for around 10 minutes.  I calmed down from the anxiety of the frying pan, and made up a range of icing flavours and toppings ready to decorate:
My favourites were triple chocolate:
Strawberry icing and freeze-dried topping:
and fluro-lemon drizzle:
I covered the cronut middles in plain caster sugar:
...and then, obviously, had to taste them all:
Compared to my first ever attempt at macarons/macaroons, my first attempt at cronuts was a success.  All were edible, they tasted so good and it was just as quick and simple as I am used to in my cooking and baking.  Now, I can't claim that these are just as good / match up to the real thing - or qualify as real cronuts - but for me, these will more than do.  Four in one sitting will also do quite nicely.

 I'm making more next weekend with the can I have in the fridge and I'm going to make them
slightly bigger, slightly thicker and might experiment further with toppings and maybe fillings for those that like them [not me - who came up with the jam centre? who?].

To save Edd from hunting me down for daring to associate his name with this cheater method, I'd just like to say I purely used Edd's weight measurements and method for guidance.  He did the ingredients part properly, like the Boss he is.

Monday 5 August 2013

Home Sweet Home

I am in love with blackboard/chalkboard typography art and this has inspired a simple project that I completed over a couple of movie nights in this break from Summer weather we seem to be having.

What I Used:
A4 Dark Grey Felt
Light Grey / Pastel Pink / Pastel Green Embroidery Floss / Needle
Embroidery Hoop [I used 8 inch]
A4 White Paper / Pen / Scissors

For the pattern, I created my own template, however; you could use fonts printed from the computer, magazine lettering or branded packets to trace and create your words.
To start, I traced the inside of the embroidery hoop for my frame and then 
spaced out my pictures and outlined my words:
I then began defining the outlines and filling in the basic details until I was happy with my design:

[save this to your desktop to print your own]
I then secured my felt to my embroidery hoop, pinned the pattern on top and with a threaded
needle, began to stitch my design:
I used a basic running stitch pattern as I wanted the final outcome to look 
as free-flowing as possible, but I tried to vary the lengths slightly and stick mainly to a running stitch 
to keep some simplicity:
...and used a lazy daisy stitch for the borders:
I also somehow managed to resist removing my pattern to have a sneak peak at how the whole thing was going to turn out.  Once finished, I carefully removed the pattern, tearing where the stitches had perforated and used tweezers to remove any small sections:
Here, you can fill in any blanks or add any extra patterns or stitches if you think the design needs it, or leave it as it is.  I also left mine in the embroidery hoop, cutting the excess felt away:

I really like the grey contrast and I'm pleased with how this turned out.  I'd like to try a black felt / white thread and a range of fonts for designs a little more like this.

I've been finding it difficult to not make the most of the hot weather we've recently been having, so I don't have too many projects on the go at the moment - but now I've said that, it will probably change.
See you next time x
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