Let's start this by admitting something real.
Every time I step into the kitchen to make...anything...it's an adventure. I notoriously forget to buy ingredients, read directions all the way through, or even preheat the oven.
Well, throughout the years I've refined the art of substitutions and rolling with the punches. It takes quite a lot for me to throw in the towel. ...And I hardly ever cry now...
Actually, my confidence has gone up quite a bit. Once you've learned how to breathe something back to life when all hope was lost, you start feeling a bit like a superhero!
So, this past week we had something pretty fun come to our house. Vegan butter. Since my plant based journey began for nutrition, I'm not a big fan of "replacements". They are typically worse for you than the actual thing you're trying to avoid. And I would encourage anyone who wants to go plant based to train your taste buds to whole foods first. Then if you're feeling froggy, eat replacers sparingly as a treat.
Well, my parents brought it to us when they visited, telling us how great it tasted. They understand where we stand on things like this, and encouraged me to read the ingredients before trying, just to make sure we were comfortable. Sure enough, the ingredients weren't nearly as bad as ones that I've read in the past. And when we tasted it....dang! It was delicious!
So now comes the fun part. I was holding vegan butter in my hands, and out the depths of my subconscious rose the idea of all the yummy treats I haven't made in 6 years. The repressed recipes still hiding away in my cookbook. Lost, but not completely forgotten. And they started to gain new life!
The first thing I wanted to try were croissants. Those buttery, flaky pastries from heaven. I definitely wanted to make some for Thanksgiving, but I definitely needed to practice first. Of course.
I also knew I had a recipe, but I wanted to try vegan options first. So, I googled and found a really good one, and I was all set to make it for Saturday morning breakfast. When the day came, I got up pretty early because I knew there would be rise times involved, and although I didn't read all 19 steps...literally, it couldn't be harder than making bread. At least not from what I remembered.
But that morning, I read all the steps, and it was a good thing I did. This particular recipe was 11 hours long. 11 hours! What in the world!?
I started doing some research. Although 11 hours was still incredibly long, all the other recipes were still pretty cumbersome and had steps I had never heard of! Butter bricks? Whacking the dough with a rolling pin??
I finally stumbled on one that was more reasonable. No whacking (I will visit this method later haha) and much less rest times for the dough, all while promising a great turn out.
Unfortunately time was ticking. My early start was not so early anymore.
I got to work cutting up the butter and mixing it into the dough and threw it into the fridge wrapped in a tea towel (not plastic wrap like the directions say). It needed to chill for one hour. I looked at the clock...one hour? I wanted to eat in 2 hours and it still needed one more hour rest and one hour to proof. So, I threw it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
That's when a serious question popped in my head. What recipe am I harboring in my cookbook for croissants? Because this is nothing like I remember.
I dug it out, and sure enough...I had never made croissants in my life....but I had definitely made crescent rolls! You know, like the kind you buy in the can from Pillsbury like Wop Biscuits. Because you have to "wop" the can to open it. Yeah, that's the recipe I had.
Of course, I shared this with the Yeti and he laughed so hard! I told him how I was changing everything to make quicker times because it was getting really out of hand. And he discovered that what I was really making was Wop-sants!
So, with knowing that the beautiful croissants I had envisioned where rapidly transforming, I realigned my expectations. I knew they were still going to be buttery, but I really hoping they would be delicious.
I pulled the dough out of the freezer after only 5 minutes, and did the next step which was rolling it out and folding it into thirds and then in half then letting it rest again in fridge. Instead they went back in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Next, I rolled it out again, skipping the second folding, and I asked the hubs to help me cut it. I really couldn't wrap my head around cutting a rectangle into triangles. Triangles are dumb.
Then I rolled them all up into pretty little croissant shapes and proofed in them in the oven on low heat. Since you can do that with bread...surely it would work now. False. The butter was melting out into puddles after only 5 minutes! So, I threw caution to the wind and decided to bake.
BUT...after only another 5 minutes the tops were browning. I looked up and I had accidentally turned it onto Preheat, and with our oven from the 1950's this means it's practically broiling them. So, I grabbed some foil and covered them, and baked them for another 10 minutes.
And finally they were done!
Look at those buttery layers! Now, it might be because we don't have super refined taste buds, but dang! They were so much better than I had ever hoped they would be! Now, I still would love to make them the "right" way, to compare the difference. And I really want to whack the dough...