Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ooh La La! Chocolate Croissants to Die For

Yesterday I decided to make pancakes for breakfast as I had a little extra time in the morning. With baby Annabel starting to try finger foods (in the form of halved Cheerios), it frees me up to work in the kitchen for about 15 minutes before I have to sit down with her and spoon feed her usual oatmeal with pureed fruit. Breakfast was a hit and I went on with my day, later making homemade (and delicious) "Momofuku compost cookies" that afternoon.

Being single for so long...well, I didn't really spend so much time in the kitchen. I certainly didn't make cookies (I wasn't about to eat dozens of cookies myself!) and I never made pancakes for breakfast, that's for sure!

I find cooking and baking really creative and I rarely follow a recipe verbatim. I usually like to use it as a guide and then add my own take on ingredients. I often use Mark Bittman's book How To Cook Everything. It really is the one and only cookbook you need on your shelf. I love cookbooks but I find that I've pretty much stopped looking at any of them and only pull out the Bittman book.

But this morning, I kind of cheated. I love pain au chocolat, otherwise known as chocolate croissants! And the other day I was at Trader Joe's and saw these frozen packaged ones. For $3.99, you got 4 of them (a deal when you think at a bakery they charge anywhere from $2.50 and up). But I wondered how they would taste. I was pretty pleased with most things from Trader Joe's so I wasn't thinking that these would be far off.

I WAS BLOWN AWAY.

First of all, these Trader Joe's pain au chocolats need to be prepared 9 hours in advance. Yes, NINE HOURS. Or basically the night before. They are tiny little dough packages that you place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet that you leave overnight. They expand at room temperature (seriously they get huge!) and by the time you wake up, you see a four times as large dough mass -- times 4!

I decided to put an egg wash on the top of them to give them that authentic, glossy top finish. Then off they went into the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

I've eaten some amazing pain au chocolats in my lifetime and I must say that these Trader Joe FROZEN(!!) ones are some of the best I've ever had. Seriously people, they were flaky, buttery, crispy, chocolatey goodness that a chocolate croissant should be. For a buck each, I won't be getting chocolate croissants anywhere else in Omaha! I just want to have a brunch at my house so I can whip up a bunch of these to serve friends. They'll think they died and went to a patisserie in St. Germain de Prés!

Looks like I'm not alone. One google search of "Trader Joe's chocolate croissants" yielded pages upon pages of people singing these confections' praises, including this one. I'm starting to think I might have to stock up the next time I'm there...which makes me think: Should I really be sharing this information?

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

Trader Joe's is just the best! I love their chocolate and plain croissants. I've tried W-S for both of these, at a cost of 3-4 times as much and I think TJs are better! Such a great deal. I'm loving all your domestic posts lately - please keep it up!

jamie bell said...

never tried them but i can say that i've never had better chocolate pastries than in paris! too bad i just started a major health food kick...i'll have to reward myself in a month or so with some of these, or just serve them at my housewarming party!