croissants and pain au chocolat

I hesitated sharing this post with you, as I realize how labor-intensive and unrealistic making croissants at home can be, especially considering the multitude of bakeries that offer high-quality, delicious pastries without any of the work. I also can’t take complete credit for this recipe, as I only slightly adapted it from The Faux Martha, who adapted it from Tartine. And, while this space was once more of a reflection of others’ recipes that I had tried and loved, it has since evolved into an almost exclusive journal of my own recipes  — hence my hesitation to share something I couldn’t truly take credit for. But, after making these croissants, tasting them, and feeling the profound sense of accomplishment in having created them, I couldn’t help but share the process with you.

So, if you ever find yourself at home over a weekend, without many plans, I hope you’ll think to visit this space and try your hand at making croissants. I promise you that biting into a buttery, flaky, warm croissant that YOU have created in your own kitchen, is reward enough for your efforts.

croissants and pain au chocolat

These pastries are the epitome of decadence and comfort. Buttery, flaky, and simply all around delicious. While they are labor-intensive and take almost a full weekend to make, the effort is completely worth it. This is not a process to rush — enjoy the slowness and exactness of it and you will be rewarded.

Slightly adapted from The Faux Martha’s recipe, which she adapted from Tartine.




3/4 cup nonfat or lowfat milk

1 tablespoon instant yeast

1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour


1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 3/4 cup whole milk

5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

roll-in butter

2 3/4 cup (5 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cool but pliable

egg wash

4 large egg yolks

1/4 cup heavy cream

pinch of sea salt



Preferment: In a small sauce pan, heat milk until just warm [approximately 80-90 degrees]. Pour into medium bowl and add yeast. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2-3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Dough: [Throughout these steps, try to work the dough as little as possible. An overworked dough will result in a tough croissant]. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the preferment mixture and 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant yeast to the bowl. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides if necessary. Increase speed to medium; while the mixer is running, gradually add half the milk and beat for 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add remaining milk, 5 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Mix until a shaggy dough forms, about 3 minutes. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, set the mixer to low speed and add remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough is smooth and elastic [not sticky or dry]. [You may not need to use all of the flour — I only used 1/4 cup additional]. If you find that your dough becomes too dry, you can add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Transfer dough to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a cool place for 1 1/2 hours [dough should double in size].

After 1 1/2 hours, transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Press into a rectangle, about 2 inches thick. Wrap lightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Allow to rest for an additional 4 hours.

Roll-in butter: About 3 hours into the dough’s resting period, prepare the butter. Add butter to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium until malleable, about 3 minutes. Wrap butter in plastic wrap and shape into a square, about 1-inch thick. Transfer butter to fridge to chill, but not completely harden.

Laminating process: Remove dough and butter from fridge. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 28-inch x 12-inch rectangle. With the longest side of the rectangle closest to you, add the butter square to the left side of the rectangle. Spread butter over 2/3 of the rectangle, leaving the right-most 1/3 of the dough uncovered. Fold dough in thirds, like you would a letter: first folding the right, non-buttered portion over the middle, then the left, buttered portion over. Press the seams together to seal the butter in. This is called a plaque.

Turn the plaque so that the long edge is closest to you again. Roll out into a 28-inch x 12-inch rectangle. Fold dough in thirds again, and wrap lightly in plastic wrap. Return dough to fridge and allow to rest for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove dough from fridge and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough into a 28-inch x 12-inch rectangle. Fold dough in thirds. The dough should measure 9-inches x 12-inches, and be about 2-inches thick, once folded. Wrap again in plastic wrap, but this time place in freezer to chill for 1 hour.

Assembly: Remove dough from freezer and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll our into a 32-inch x 12-inch rectangle, about 3/8-inch thick. [This is not the easiest step — just keep at it!] Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut long triangles, 4-inches wide at the base and the length of the short side of the rectangle, for croissants. For pain au chocolats, cut 6-inch x 4-inch rectangles.

Line a baking sheet with a Silpat, Silpain, or parchment paper. To shape the croissants, begin with the base of the triangle closest to you and tightly roll away from you, towards the point. Make sure the point sits under the croissant. [I found that it was easiest to stretch my triangles slightly before rolling, so that the croissants weren’t too squat]. To form pain au chocolats, add a chocolate baton or dark chocolate chips in a row along a short side of the rectangle. Beginning with the end with the chocolate, roll tightly away from you into a cylinder, making sure the seam is under the pastry. [Same with the croissants, I felt it was easier to slightly stretch the rectangles before stuffing and rolling. Make sure NOT to over stuff with chocolate, as it will ooze out during baking!]

Place pastries on the lined baking sheet, at least 2-inches apart on all sides. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free room for 2-3 hours, or until doubled in size. [At this point, you can retire the pastries to the fridge, and bake them off the next morning, or freeze them and bake them another time. Make sure to defrost frozen pastries on the counter, or in the fridge overnight, before baking].

Egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, heavy cream, and salt until pale yellow.

Bake: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, carefully paint the pastries with the egg wash, being sure to cover all sides. Once pastries are covered, make sure to wipe any drippings off the baking sheet. Allow the egg wash to dry slightly before baking.

Place pastries in oven and immediately turn heat down to 400 degrees F. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Rotate pan and continue to bake for another 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove from oven, and transfer pastries to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Make sure to eat warm!

Storage: Once cooled, keep pastries in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to one day. Or, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Reheat before serving in a 375 degree F oven for 7-8 minutes.

makes about 14 – 17 croissants

brussels sprouts galette

Spring may be [finally] in the air, but piles of root vegetables, winter greens, and Brussels sprouts still fill the farmers market. And while I pine for the colors and freshness of Spring produce, I’m also trying to appreciate the hearty, earthy flavors of Winter before they’re gone. Keeping this in mind last Saturday, I piled my bag high with handfuls of Brussels sprouts, thinking all the while of how I could add some variety to the seemingly unending monotony of Winter meals. 

A galette seemed the perfect compromise – something simple and unassuming, yet different enough to mix things up a bit. I had never made a Brussels sprouts galette before (nor seen or tried one), but assured myself that I couldn’t go wrong as really anything would taste delicious enveloped in a buttery pie crust. I sauteed onion slices with fresh thyme and balsamic vinegar until they were deeply caramelized, collapsing into a sweet, fragrant relish, which I smeared over the butter-studded dough. To accentuate, but not overpower their delicate flavor, I tossed the Brussels sprouts with simple flavors – fruity extra virgin olive oil, tart lemon juice, and a touch of raw garlic – and piled them high before folding the dough in around the edges.

The galette emerged from the oven in a puff of steam — golden brown and bubbling. While I waited for it to cool, I added crumbles of freshly made ricotta as a creamy and fresh contrast to the galette’s otherwise deep, rich flavors. And, to balance everything — a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of flaked sea salt.

I cut two pieces and Henry and I took our first bite as we stood at the kitchen counter — the smells too overwhelming for us to deny ourselves a second longer. With full mouths, we turned to each other — and laughed.

brussels sprouts galette

This galette is a culmination of so many contrasting flavors and textures — sweet and savory, buttery and bright, creamy and crispy — it really hits every note. Serve it alongside scrambled eggs for a lovely Winter brunch, or with some simply dressed greens for a light dinner. It is delicious as leftovers as well – just reheat in a warm oven. 


for the galette: 

pastry dough  

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced  

12 ounces brussels sprouts

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup of ricotta or farmer’s cheese, for garnish

drizzle of honey, for garnish


Make pastry dough

, and refrigerate. While dough is chilling, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add sugar, balsamic vinegar, and thyme. Stir, and allow vinegar to deglaze the pan. Cover, and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are deeply caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the brussels sprouts: clean, remove any tough outer leaves, and slice into 1/4-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,  1 tablespoon lemon juice, minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured board, roll dough into a large circle – approximately 13-14 inches in diameter. Transfer to a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread caramelized onions evenly over the dough, leaving a 3-inch border around the edge of the circle. Spread brussels sprouts over the onions. 

Working around the circle, fold border of dough up over the edges of the brussels sprouts, sealing everything in around the edges, but leaving most of the brussels sprouts exposed. 

In a small bowl, whip the egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Brush the egg wash evenly over the top of the exposed dough. 

Transfer to the preheated oven and bake until dough is golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Remove galette from oven, and top with crumbles of ricotta or farmer’s cheese and a drizzle of honey. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!


for the pastry dough:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

pinch of salt

12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water

In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in half of the butter until small pieces are incorporated throughout (the mixture will be the consistency of coarse meal). Cut in the remaining butter. Pour in water and knead dough with your hands until the dough is smooth, and no longer sticky. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

christmas cinnamon buns

As we near the end of December, I’ve found myself reflecting on the past year and its defining moments. I am overwhelmed by countless memories – memories of our wedding, our cousins’ weddings, and time spent with family; memories of welcoming Miles into our lives, our trip to Italy, and celebrations with friends. The boundless fortune and joy that has defined this year leaves me speechless with gratitude and thanks.

Of course, amid this fortune, there were a few struggles too – that at the time seemed punishing and unfair. revisiting them now with a changed perspective, they have taken on meaning and significance. We learned from them and emerged from them stronger than ever. When life throws us lemons in years to come, I hope I can remember that time and perspective will offer understanding, as I have found it always has.

So, with love, faith, and gratitude, I’m raising a glass of champagne [and a warm cinnamon bun] to 2014 – I leave you feeling grateful for what you’ve given me and excited for what’s to come.

christmas cinnamon buns

recipe from Food Network Kitchens

I can’t take credit for this recipe – it is from the kitchens of Food Network [with a few of my own notes]. This is a classic cinnamon bun at its best – simple and true to its reputation – just a buttery, cinnamon-y, warm roll of goodness. A perfect treat for Christmas morning, to enjoy in front of the tree with the ones you love.

for the dough:

1 cup whole milk [I only had 2% on hand, and that worked just fine]

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast [I used one 2 1/4 teaspoon packet]

1/4 cup plus 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for bowl

1 large egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg


for the filling:

all-purpose flour, for dusting

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon


for the glaze:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

First, make the dough: warm the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches approximately 100 degrees [I usually just test with my finger; it should feel like warm bath water]. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the yeast and 1/4 teaspoon sugar [do not stir]. Allow to sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the melted butter, egg yolk, and vanilla. 

Meanwhile, combine the flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and freshly ground nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture. With a dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until thick and slightly sticky. Increase the speed to medium, and knead until the dough gathers around the hook and is smooth [about 5 minutes]. [You can add more flour at this point, if your mixture is really sticky – I didn’t find it was necessary].

Remove the dough and shape into a ball. Butter the mixer bowl, and return the dough to it, turning to coat with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size [Food Network approximates 1 hour and 15 minutes – I found mine took closer to 2 hours].

On a lightly floured surface, Roll the dough to a 12×14-inch rectangle, making sure the longer side is closest to you. Spread the top with the softened butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the far long edge. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, and sprinkle over the top of the buttered dough – still leaving that far edge untouched. 

Brush the unbuttered far edge with water. Roll the dough away from you in a tight cylinder and press on the long edge to seal. Cut the cylinder into 6 equal pieces.

Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan and arrange the cinnamon buns, cut side down, in the pan [making sure to leave a little bit of room around each one]. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled [Food Network approximates about 40 minutes, but again I found mine took a bit longer – a little over an hour. At this stage, after the buns had doubled in size, I transferred the covered pan to the fridge, to bake the next morning].

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and bake the buns, uncovered, until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before serving [don’t be concerned if the buns are swimming in a pool of butter – they will soak it all up as they cool hehe]. 

While the buns are cooling, make the glaze: sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and whisk in cream and melted butter until smooth. Pour the glaze over the buns, and serve warm. 

stone fruit cobbler

we had a name picked out for him before we even saw him. it came to me one day – i’m not sure what sparked it, or where I was, but it came to me and it just made sense. i thought, his name is going to be miles.

we saw him on a warm spring day – it was one of those days when you still appreciate the sun in contrast to the long, cold winter. it’s hard to remember that feeling now, as i sit here wishing for the crisp chill of fall air. we saw him, peering out at us with a look of resignation in his eyes. he had been alive for 15 weeks – what were those weeks filled with? confusion, uncertainty, fear?

it took two days, but we brought him home. actually, henry brought him home. he was scared and we were scared. excited, but scared. we were proud of ourselves for making a decision solely for ourselves – free of judgment or out of doing what was expected of us – but for the first time in our lives, we had something that truly depended on us.

it has been four months now, and it’s been a journey. this dog – he has taught us more than we could have ever imagined. it’s almost as if our feelings are amplified; our love is stronger, our appreciation greater, our priorities realigned. miles challenges us to be better – to be patient, to be genuine, to be mindful, and to be grateful. he makes us stop and reconsider the confusion and chaos that we create for ourselves. he inspires us to be curious, to once again find amazement in things that we’ve grown accustomed to.  he inspires us to love unconditionally. every day, we strive to enjoy life as fully and freely as he.

stone fruit cobbler

this simple and rustic cobbler celebrates the end of summer with delicious, plump stone fruit. the fruit gives it a sweetness and a tartness, while the whole wheat biscuit topping gives it a heartiness that makes it a satisfying breakfast. serve with some heavy cream for an extra special treat, or ice cream for a country-inspired dessert. 

for the whole wheat biscuit topping:

recipe adapted from

bon appétit 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (you can substitute all-purpose flour if you would like a less hearty taste)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup sour cream

in a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. add the butter to the mixture and incorporate using a pastry blender until only little pieces of butter remain, mixed throughout. add sour cream and mix gently. knead the mixture with your hands until ball of dough forms – being careful to not over mix. refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

for the filling:

5 or 6 pieces of stone fruit (I used 2 peaches and 4 plums – apricots would be great in here as well), cut into segments (you can also remove skin, but this is optional)

1/3 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds removed

the juice of 1/4 of a lime

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

pinch of kosher salt

preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl combine fruit, sugar, the seeds from 1 vanilla bean, the juice of a 1/4 of a lime, and salt, mixing gently. add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix to incorporate (depending on how juicy your fruit is, you may want to add slightly more flour, but your mixture should be loose).

pour mixture into a cast iron skillet. remove the dough from the refrigerate and, using your hands, break into small pieces (about the size of golf balls). scatter the pieces over the top of the fruit and bake until golden brown and fruit is bubbling (about 45 minutes).

remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack. serve warm with vanilla ice cream (if desired).