baked sweets/ vegan

Dark Chocolate Vegan Hob Nobs

Ingredients in McVitie’s Chocolate Hob Nobs:
Rolled Oats, Milk Chocolate [Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Dried Skimmed Milk, Dried Whey (Milk), Butter Oil (Milk), Vegetable Fats (Sal and/or Shea, Palm), Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin, E476), Natural Flavouring], Wholemeal Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (Palm), Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Ammonium Bicarbonate), Salt.

Ingredients in these Vegan Chocolate Hob Nobs:
Rolled Oats, Whole Wheat Flour, Dark Chocolate [Cocoa Powder, Cocoa Butter, Soy Milk, Rice Malt Syrup], Olive Oil, Rice Malt Syrup, Wheat Bran, Raw Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt.

Take your pick!

Ingredients~
Makes 10 cookies

Dough:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsps wheat bran
3 tbsps mild olive oil (or sub with melted coconut oil)
3 tbsps rice malt syrup or maple syrup
1 tsp fine raw sugar (or sub with light brown)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt (less than 1/8 tsp)

Chocolate frosting:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsps cocoa butter*
2 tsps unflavored soy or nut milk
1-4 tsps rice malt syrup or maple syrup (add based on desired sweetness)

*you can substitute the cocoa butter with coconut oil, but know that the frosting won’t harden up as much (if at all) at room temperature and might require a few tsps of powdered sugar instead of syrup and milk (cocoa butter seizes up and becomes creamier when combined with syrup/milk, while coconut oil does not)

Instructions~

Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F

Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes until noticeably golden brown and crisp around the edges; they well get a lot crunchier once set.

baked sweets/ breakfast/ vegan

A Simple Fruit Crisp

Ingredients~
Serves 4; makes a heaped amount for one 7-inch pie pan 

Filling:
1 medium-large red apple
1/2 cup fresh cherries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries*
2 medjool dates, mashed
2 tsps fresh grapefruit juice, including the pulp (or sub with orange)
1 tbsp potato starch
2 tsps chia seeds
Pinch of table salt (scant 1/8 tsp)

Topping:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 packed cup whole wheat pastry flour*
2 tbsps mild olive oil or melted coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsps rice malt syrup or maple syrup
1/4 heaped tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp table salt

* using fresh berries is fine, but know that they may contribute e a tad less liquid to the filling as they cook
* you can substitute the whole wheat pastry flour with half regular whole wheat and half all-purpose

Instructions~

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the topping takes on a deep golden/light brown color. Check on the crisp after 2o minutes to ensure it’s not browning too fast; if it is, loosely cover it with foil.

gluten free/ mains/ vegan

Vegan Radish Cakes (luó bo gāo)

Ingredients~
Serves 2-4

Radish cake batter:
1/2 pound (226.8 g) daikon/Japanese radish, shredded
2/3 cup white rice flour
1 1/2 tbsps potato starch
1/3 cup & 2 tbsps water
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 heaped tbsp white onion, finely chopped
1 scallion, finely chopped (reserve green bits for garnish)
1/4 tsp chili paste (I used dou ban jiang)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp table salt (add up to 1/4 tsp if your chili paste isn’t very salty)
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Dipping sauce:
1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
2 tsps water
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp spicy chili paste (optional)

Important note: this recipe was loosely adapted from the Woks of Life’s turnip cake recipe!

baked sweets

Healthier Graham Crackers

I found a way to make a good thing still good without the bad stuff. Hmm? Let me paraphrase: I made graham crackers without the heaps of sugar, oil, more sugar (but this time in liquid form), and other not-whole-food ingredients, and they turned out highly recommendable!!!

For some reason, store-bought graham crackers connote healthiness. Maybe in comparison to Oreo’s and Chips Ahoy they’re good for you, but wholesome and healthy? Not really. I realize that it’s very difficult, perhaps oxymoronic, to try and connote actual healthiness with a cookie, but if there is a way, and I think there is, these graham crackers cookies would be it. While store-bought graham crackers contain a little over 4 grams of refined sugar per cracker, these ones contain less than 2 (and a less refined, blood-spiking one at that). I also switched the standard ratio of white flour (more) to whole grain graham flour (less), resulting in a far more fiber-packed cracker. These graham crackers prove that healthier substitutes don’t have to be gut-wrenching to make, and that they can go a long way, quite literally, in providing you with more plentiful energy throughout the day. I had three of these crackers at 3 PM and didn’t find myself eager for dinner until 8 PM, which is very, very, unusual for me.

I remember Honey Maid’s graham crackers fondly; they were crucial in sealing together the best part of a summer spent on the Oregon coast: hot, gooey marshmallows and dribbling milk chocolate. At the traditional family camp fire by the beach, hot dogs and baked beans were passed around and devoured, but not indulged in, because everyone knew (well, the kids at least) that the best part was saved for last: s’mores to sing songs about and pray to God that you get the chance to eat again before you’re old and mature and reply ‘no thank you, I no longer eat sugary, processed fake food’ when someone offers you a free s’more. The notoriously American s’mores of my childhood definitely spoiled me. Every other s’more I’ve had since I was 10 or 11 hasn’t been the same. Even my healthier ones. Surprised? Probably not, and neither was I. Obviously, the above pictured s’mores aren’t quite as mind-blowing as the one’s I enjoyed as a kid on the beach. Maybe I’m recalling the childhood memories with a bit too much pleasant nostalgia, but I think it was probably the insane amount of sugar added to Honey Maid’s graham crackers, marshmallows, and Hershey’s chocolate, that made said s’mores as memorable as they are. With that mind, if you’re not looking to fill your body and mind with:

(the ingredients from Honey Maid’s graham crackers)
UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), GRAHAM FLOUR (WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR), SUGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, HONEY, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN, 

then good on you, but don’t seal the warm and fuzzy childhood memory of s’mores away forever; instead, color it in with a new shade, i.e. homemade graham crackers that are full of fiber, slow-releasing sugar, and fat sans the hydrogenated part. And maybe, if you’re lucky, a thick layer of dark chocolate and ooey gooey marshmallows will sketch themselves into the picture. Maybe.

Ingredients~
Makes eight 3-inch long crackers

3/4 cup graham flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (plus 2-4 tbsps for dusting)
2 tbsps coconut oil, melted
3 tbsps rice malt syrup (sub with maple syrup or honey)
1 tbsp applesauce or banana puree*
1 tsp molasses
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 heaped tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp table salt

Topping:
2-3 tsps fine raw sugar or brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

* You can substitute the fruit puree with more oil if you’d like a slightly less puffy cracker that’s more in line with the store-bought kind.

Note: These crackers are sweet enough in my opinion (especially when made into a s’more sandwich), but definitely subtly sweet compared to standard graham crackers (hence the appropriate ‘healthier’ label), so, if you’re after a slightly sweeter cracker, simply add 1-2 tsps of sugar (fine raw or brown) along with the rest of the dry ingredients; doing so won’t greatly alter the batter, though you may have to adjust it by adding 1/2-1 tsp water.

Instructions~

baked sweets

Homemade Fig Newtons

Ingredients~
Makes 6-7 large fig newtons

Dough:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsps coconut oil
2 tsps fine raw sugar (sub with light brown sugar or coconut sugar)
2 tsps rice malt syrup or honey
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsps fresh orange juice
1 egg yolk
1/2 scant tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

Filling:
1 cup (149 g) dried figs (I used Turkish, but any kind will work)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Optional: 1-2 tsps liquid sweetener or applesauce (I omitted this and found the filling to be sufficiently sweet)

Instructions~

1. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolk before adding the rest of the wet ingredients (including the orange zest). Once combined, sift in the flour, along with the baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients together before fully combining them with the wet. Dollop the dough onto the center of a sheet of parchment paper and fold it up, shaping/patting it along the edges to create a wheel (more or less). Allow the dough to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 4.
2. As the dough chills, begin making the filling by pouring hot (just boiled) water over the bowl of figs. Allow the figs to sit for 15 minutes until tender and easy to mash. Use a food processor/immersion blender if you own one or simply mash them with a fork (and a great deal of eagerness, as I did). Stir the cinnamon into the fig mash, along with 1-2 tsps of liquid sweetener/applesauce if you’d like a sweeter, less chunky filling. Set aside the filling as you roll out the dough.
3. Preheat the oven to 170 C/338 F. Once an hour is up, unwrap the wheel of dough and leave it in the center of the parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll it into a roughly 6 by 9 inch long rectangle. Feel free to roll the dough out a bit thinner if you’d like to get more newtons out of it, but don’t stretch it by more than 1-2 inches or the dough may not be able to hold the filling.
4. Once rolled, create a log down the center (2 inches wide) using the fig filling. Take the left side of exposed dough and fold it over the filling. Next, take the right side of dough and fold it over the center. There should be a bit of overlap so that you can lightly pinch the flaps of dough together, ensuring the filling is sealed in. Gently turn the log over so that the overlapped/sealed side is resting on the bottom. Use your hands to lightly pat down the sides of the log, giving it more of a dome shape (as fig newtons so famously have). Bake the newtons for 14-17 minutes or until the dough is light golden and not squishy or wet to the touch. Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes on a rack until warm but not too hot to hold, before transferring to a sealed container. You’ll obviously snag a couple as they cool, but allow the rest to sit in a closed container for a couple of hours or overnight to achieve a truly fig newtony exterior, i.e. soft and cakey, but still a cookie. Either way they will be delicious! 

Important note: this recipe was loosely adapted from Bravetart’s homemade fig newtons!

mains/ recipes/ vegan

Hearty Rye Pie Crust

A hearty rye pie crust; a pie crust made with heart, for the heart. “Rye Pie” is fun to say. It’s also fun to make because it’s a little out of the ordinary. To be honest, I thought I had purchased spelt flour, not rye, so upon combining the ingredients and beginning to knead the dough, I realized that kneading wouldn’t be possible and that my spelt flour was definitely some other guy. I found the receipt from my flour purchase, did a little online translating, and discovered that the spelt dough I was excitedly anticipating in pie crust form was actually an imposter called rye. I wasn’t sure if the crust was going to work out, given that I knew nothing about baking with rye (other than: DELICIOUS DARK GERMAN BREAD), but I proceeded with the crust-making anyway.

So, how did it go? How did sly rye fair in a pie? Simply put: do it. Make the same, but hopefully for you, conscious and purposeful, mistake and bake with rye. Make a loaf of bread, okay, sure, yummy no doubt, but everybody knows rye is for bread. Instead, get a little jiggy with it, go a little ham (only in metaphors, of course), and press it into a pie pan. Bake it until firmer and noticeably darker and fill it up with sage mushrooms and mashed potatoes or, better yet, a sweet and tangy cherry filling. There’s definitely a cherry rye pie on my horizon. This crust may sound unusually good for you, but it’s far, far from tasting like cardboard. Sure, it’s not a standard, white and buttery, flaky crust, but that’s the beauty of it. This rye pie is different and a whole lot better for you. Do I sound like your mom? Good, that means I’m probably saying the right things.

Rye is a powerhouse grain. One cup of rye flour contains 11 g of protein, 12 g of dietary fiber, 16% of your rda of magnesium, 15% of vitamin B-6, 14% of iron, and 10% of potassium. For the same serving, white flour offers 10 g of protein, 2.7 g of fiber, 5% of your rda of magnesium, 0% of B-6, 6% of iron, and 3% of potassium. It’s clear who comes out on top. I’m not anti white flour, but I am all for swapping it out with more nutritious and flavorful flours when the opportunity presents itself. Luckily for me, white flour can almost always be replaced. This pie crust would probably accompany the word ‘rustic’ in a visual dictionary; there are no fancy ingredients and no heaps of butter or sugar. Instead, there is rye flour, olive oil, salt, water, and a dark, texturally pleasing, biscuit-esque pie crust as a result. I used whole grain rye flour, which is very coarse and contains the bran, germ, and endosperm of the rye kernal. Finer rye flours, such as light or medium rye, probably wouldn’t churn out the same pie crust, seeing as they lack the deep flavor and rough texture offered by the whole grain, but nonetheless, slightly more refined rye would still be a step above plain ol’ all-purpose in the creativity and health departments.

Looking at this crust awakens the cow girl in me; I want to swing onto a horse and ride through prairies with a wagon full of rye pie tugging along behind me.

Ingredients~
Makes enough dough for one 7-inch pie crust 

3/4 cup whole grain rye flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsps olive oil (chilled in the freezer for 30-45 minutes until sludgy)
1/2 scant tsp rice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 scant tsp table salt
1-3 tbsps ice cold water

Instructions~

recipes/ vegan

Dark Chocolate Orange Truffles

Chocolate is kind of like pizza, the bad stuff is still pretty good and the good stuff is a godsend. Then there’s the really good stuff, the silky, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate that offers the perfect dose of bitter and sweet. You know when you’ve had a taste of the really good stuff; you’re so focused on the flavors and textures it offers that you don’t even think about stuffing your face with more. You eventually do (stuff your face with more), but you do so gradually, one truffle at a time, because hastily consuming something so delicious would be a tragedy.

These truffles are a chocolate fudge hybrid. They get their fudginess from the cocoa butter, which, when combined with the other ingredients and chilled in the fridge for a bit, hardens up the truffles enough to create the ultimate soft and creamy filling. I’ve tried subbing coconut oil for the cocoa butter, and while it does satisfy my chocolate craving, it’s just.. not quite as ridiculously good. The cocoa butter may be a bit of a hassle to find, I had to purchase mine on Amazon and wait a couple of days for it to arrive, but it will carry your chocolate making/eating to new, far more favorable, heights (heights you will never want to step down from). Also, thanks to the cocoa butter, these truffles can last more than 5 minutes out of the fridge/freezer without melting. They may soften up a little after the 10 minute mark (depending on how warm your environment is), but they won’t turn into a brown puddle like coconut oil chocolate will.

These truffles don’t ask a lot of you. Simply stir together cocoa powder, cocoa butter, orange juice and zest, and one mashed medjool date (or sweetener of your choice), pop the resulting mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes, roll the mixture into balls, coat the balls in a cocoa powder + cocoa butter + orange juice sauce (or omit this and suffer no consequences), allow the balls to chill for a liiiittle bit longer, and voila, there you go, there you have it, FUDGY chocolate TRUFFLES sans the unpleasant refined sugar and heavy cream and butter. You won’t find any chocolate wax here. Only velvet. And silk. And thick waves of healthy chocolate cream.

Ingredients~
Makes 6 truffles

Truffles:
3 tbsps cocoa powder
2 tsps cocoa butter
4 tsps fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 medjool date, pitted and mashed

Chocolate coating:
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp cocoa butter
1 tsp fresh orange juice

Instructions~

1. In a nonstick saucepan on low-medium heat, melt the 2 tsps of cocoa butter. Whisk in the cocoa butter, whisking until no lumps remain. Stir in the orange juice, zest, and date mash, until the mixture is combined and quite thick and sticky. You will have to let it chill in the fridge, covered, for about 30 minutes before handling it.
2. As the mixture chills, make the chocolate coating. In a nonstick saucepan, melt the cocoa butter until completely liquid. Whisk in the cocoa powder until no lumps remain before whisking in the orange juice. The consistency will be similar to a liquidy ganache. If you’d like it to be a bit runnier, add another tsp of orange juice or liquid sweetener (rice malt syrup, maple syrup, etc.) Set aside as you form the truffles.
3. Once the truffle mixture has finished hardening, use your hands to roll together 6 balls. If you’d like them to be quite larger, you’ll probably get 4 out of this recipe. Once shaped, poke them with a fork and dunk them into the chocolate sauce, turning the handle of the fork to ensure that the entire truffle is coated (the area with the fork holes might be difficult to completely coat but that’s okay). Gently slide each truffle off the fork so that the punctured part is on the bottom and out of view. If you have any leftover sauce, dollop it on top of the truffles or pour it onto parchment paper and chill it in the fridge to enjoy later. Allow the freshly coated truffles to sit in the fridge for about 45 minutes to an hour until the outer shell is hard and your finger doesn’t leave a noticeable indent upon touching it. Enjoy!!!

baked sweets/ breakfast/ gluten free/ vegan

Healthy Cinnamon Pop-Tarts (gf/vegan)

Ingredients~
Makes 5-6 pop-tarts

Pastry:
1/3 cup & 1 tbsp white rice flour
1/3 cup & 1 tbsp buckwheat flour
3 tbsps & 1 tsp cornstarch or potato starch
3 1/2 tbsps coconut oil, melted
1/4 tsp agar agar powder (you can probably sub with 1/4 tsp xanthan gum)
2 tsps fine raw sugar (or sub with 1 tsp white and 1 tsp brown)
Pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
1-2 tbsps ice water

Filling:
5-6 medjool dates or about 1/3 cup date puree
1 1/2 tsps coconut oil, melted
1/2 heaped tsp cinnamon

Instructions~

baked sweets/ vegan

Rich & Fudgy Vegan Brownies with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Tried to make a lemon tart. Failed to make a lemon tart.

Tried to make a lemon meringue pie. Failed to make a lemon meringue pie (or rather, failed to make meringue out of chickpea brine).

Threw a self-pity party that lasted a few too many hours. Eventually got bored of feeling sorry for myself and decided that pity should leave the party to make room for a very special guest: chocolate. Chocolate ended up staying the night, laaate, late into the night, if you know what I mean (because chocolate contains cocoa and sugar, two energizing ingredients, duh.)

In all seriousness, chocolate can heal emotional wounds. It fills voids left behind by awful lemon tarts and is capable of mending broken hearts. That being said, pure chocolate is too often muddled with it’s antithesis, namely the highly refined and processed, sugar and vegetable fat. There are definitely more nasty common add-ins, but I’ll go easy on the chocolate of my childhood. It’s true that some commercial chocolate contains the magical stuff, cocoa and cocoa butter, but rarely do you find a grocery store chocolate bar that lists them first, side by side. Instead, sugar usually comes out on top, followed by milk solids, and, if you’re unlucky, some vague vegetable fat will be used to replace cocoa butter. My findings have taught me that not all chocolate has been created equal. And so, in an effort to bypass the too sweet or to eat dilemma (i.e. is this chocolate going to be too shockingly sweet and shitty to eat or has it passed the test and can I eat it?), I got down to the basics and purchased some cocoa butter and cocoa powder.

I’m a big chocolate person. Big as in the thickest swabs of chocolate ganache on, uhm, everything, please. And another handful or two of chocolate chips in that cookie batter, please. And, uhm, heaps more cocoa powder dumped into that brownie batter, okay? I mean please. Please and thank you. Unsurprisingly, my excitement for chocolate translated into me consuming a lot of it, which, in turn, translated into me thinking more about it while still eating a lot of it, until, thankfully, I started to think about what was actually in the chocolate I was eating; is this really as healthy of a snack as I’ve let myself believe it is? It may be 60% cocoa but that means it’s close to 40% sugar. Hmm.

Once upon a time, I was hooked on the 50% and lower milky stuff and, dare I say it, even enjoyed the occasional bar of fake stuff (also known as white chocolate). I somehow thought that so long as chocolate was brown, it was healthier than the other, devilish sweets that lined grocery store aisles and airport terminals and school cafeterias and hospitals. Sugar shows up everywhere and it’s a little weird. It also shows up, in big percentages, in chocolate. And so, with that disconcerting fact in mind, and with a strong inclination to deliver as much goodness to my body and mind as I could, I decided to make more of my bites of chocolate count.

Gone are the days of tooth shocking, nap inducing, sugar laden chocolate. Dark chocolate is the new black and it’s cool to care about what you’re feeding yourself. Cue these super fudgy brownies with dark chocolate ganache. Definitely don’t forget about the ganache. And definitely don’t skimp on the cocoa powder or cocoa butter. If you can’t get your hands on cocoa butter, coconut oil would be the next best thing, but know that the brownies won’t harden up as much as true fudge as they cool. These brownies are packed with wound healing and spirit lifting properties (in simple speak that means lots of beneficial antioxidants, as well as energy-inducing magnesium and electrolytes. And that’s just provided by the cocoa powder). If you’re like me, a lover of chocolate and all things baked with chocolate, then show yourself a little love by combining a handful of ingredients in a bowl and baking them until a rich, rich smell emanates from your oven.


Ingredients~
Makes one small batch or about 10-12 small pieces  

Brownies:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 1/2 tbsps all-purpose flour
2 tbsps smooth peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
2 tbsps cocoa butter, melted (or sub with coconut oil)
3 tbsps rice malt syrup or maple syrup
1 chia egg*
Scant 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
Optional: 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Ganache:
2 tbsps cocoa butter
2 tbsps cocoa powder
1-2 tsps unsweetened soy/nut milk
Optional: 1-2 tsps powdered sugar (for a less bitter ganache)

*1 tbsp chia seeds combined with 3 tbsps water, left to congeal for a few minutes

Instructions~

Preheat the oven to 180 C/356 F
1. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, melted cocoa butter/coconut oil, syrup, and vanilla extract. Stir in the chia egg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Dump the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet and stir well until a thick and goopy batter forms.
2. Line a pan with parchment paper and pour in the batter. Bake for 19-25 minutes or until a toothpick is mostly clean when removed from the brownies (the brownies should be very tender/fragile to touch and may seem a little undercooked and wobbly, but this is what we want for optimal fudginess).
3. As the brownies cool, make the ganache. In a saucepan (preferably nonstick), melt the cocoa butter. Once the butter is completely liquid, turn off the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until no lumps remain. Whisk in powdered sugar if using before whisking in 1 tsp of milk to start. If the consistency isn’t quite thin and silky enough for your liking, add another 1/2-1 tsp milk. Once the brownies have thoroughly cooled and set, gently spread on the ganache and dig in!! Know that these brownies get extra fudgy when left in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, as the cocoa butter (if using) will very slightly harden, resulting in a brownie that’s WAY closer to rich chocolatey fudge than cake. Try it!!

baked sweets/ breakfast/ recipes

Flaky Buckwheat Croissants

Am I a little nutty for adding buckwheat flour to my croissants? Maybe a little. These croissants are a little nutty, too. The standout flavor is definitely butter, but unlike standard croissants, these ones take you to unchartered territory, where buckwheat and butter can be found living in harmony.

In all seriousness, these croissants are very tasty. As I made them my mind wavered from concernedly questioning the addition of buckwheat, to excitedly exclaiming how cool it would be if the grey sheet of dough in front of me actually resulted in flaky croissants. I wanted to believe that the buckwheat had the potential to puff and crisp up alongside it’s totally opposite pal, all-purpose flour, but I was afraid it might smell my eagerness and desperation, so I tried to remain level-headed, disinterested and cold. Of course, I was practically inflating my insides with giddiness, so much so that I think it started to run through my veins.

From the outside (i.e. as you view videos of professional pastry chefs making 10 kg’s worth of croissants on Youtube), making croissants yourself sounds unattainable. After enough video viewing and jaw dropping you will realize that it would be inaccurate to say you lack the capabilities/utensils/ingredients to make croissants (unless you really don’t have a rolling pin, flour, or butter in your home), but it would be 100% true to say that the flaky pastry requires way too much time. And not just plain ol’ waiting-for-the-brownies-to-bake kind of time, but actual fiddling and rolling and turning time. It’s kind of like you’re on babysitting duty for a few hours; you check to see if it’s risen, you check to see if it’s too cold, and you really hope that it isn’t sitting in a big yellow puddle when you check on it for the last time. If you’re schedule can’t allot you a handful of hours over a two day period, then homemade croissants may sadly be out of the question (although you can find same-day croissant recipes on the internet).

The first time I made croissants I was not nearly prepared enough. The weather in Melbourne was hot and slimy, but I didn’t think much of it, I’ll just work super quickly, I told myself, not realizing how difficult it is to super quickly roll out delicate layers of melting-by-the-millisecond butter and soft dough. My work did result in a batch of croissants, but they were a little lot on the wonky side. Buttery and tasty, yes, but lacking the visibly layered interior that makes croissants the stuff of reveries. This time around I was determined to at least inch a little bit closer to golden flaky galore. And I did. A lot more than a little bit.

It is summertime in Tokyo and the worst time of the year to make croissants. Some days it feels like the temperature won’t stop climbing; the sun is out to scorch and turn naively proofing croissants inside out. In an effort to bypass the unforgiving hot weather, I began my croissant-making in the early hours of the morning, waking at 6 AM to roll out and fold the dough twice before the clock even struck 9. I also turned the air con way up and chilled my rolling pin and cutting board in the freezer before working with the dough. I can now say with certainty that attention to detail truly pay offs (in the form of crispy, buttery pastries).

If you finish reading this thinking, yeah, I’m never going to attempt croissants, I’ve probably done a good job of over exaggerating how lengthy and intricate the process it. There are no handstands and juggling clowns involved, not even the metaphorical ones. There is, however, a little bit of dough handling (rolling, turning, folding, x2) and a fair bit of waiting. Here is a simple breakdown of events:

1. Make dough. Allow dough to rise for 45-60 minutes. Roll, fold, and set dough in fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours.
2. The next day, create the sheet of butter. Allow the butter to chill further if it is melting. Roll dough, sandwich butter in between, and roll again. Perform one book fold and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
3. After dough has chilled, roll and perform one letter fold. Allow the dough to rest in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before performing one more letter fold. After the last fold, allow the dough to chill for 1 hour.
4. Roll the dough out one last time. Cut into two rectangles and then slice into four triangles. Trim off blunt edges. Roll each triangle into a croissant. Brush each croissant with egg wash. Cover and let proof at room temperature (22-25 C) for 30-45 minutes until puffier.
5. Preheat oven to 190 C as croissants proof. Bake croissants for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy croissants while they are warm.

See? It’s not that challenging of an endeavor. There may be a longer than ideal waiting period in between making the dough and baking it, but a little bit of waiting and a lot of bursting-at-the-seams excited anticipation is supposed to be healthy for the mind, body, AND soul. I know because I made these croissants, ate them, and feel just about as good as they look: glowing!!!! But with good vibes, not butter. Okay, maybe a little bit of butter.

Ingredients~
Makes 4 small croissants

1/2 cup & 2 tbsps (87.5 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup & 2 tbsps (46 g) buckwheat flour
2.5 g instant yeast
70 ml (70 g) milk, lukewarm (I used soy milk, but you can opt for dairy milk)
Scant 1/4 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp rice malt syrup or other liquid sweetener
55 g unsalted butter (if using salted, don’t add the above salt)
1 egg (for brushing the croissants)

Instructions~
These instructions may appear long and daunting, but I’m only trying to be thorough. Not knowing exactly what to do when you’re in the middle of a recipe is NOT fun! 

1. Combine the flours, salt, and yeast. In a saucepan, mix together the milk and syrup and lightly heat the mixture up (alternatively, use the microwave). It should only take a handful of seconds to reach ‘baby bottle’ warm, so let the mixture cool down if it heats up too much. Pour the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until well combined and it becomes too tough to stir. Very lightly knead the dough (less than 1 minute) in order to form a ball. Allow the dough to sit in a moderately warm place (around 22-25 celsius) for up to an hour or noticeably doubled in volume. If you live in a warmer climate, the dough may very well double in 45-50 minutes!
2. After the dough has risen, gently roll it out into a roughly shaped rectangle and fold the right half on top of the left half, forming a book. Wrap in plastic wrap (any dough that’s exposed to the fridge air will dry out, so wrap well) and set in the fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours.
3. The next day, cut up the cold butter into a few thick slices and layer them beside each other in a small ziplock bag or in between two sheets of plastic wrap. Proceed to roll out the butter until you have a 3 by 4.5 long inch rectangle. If your environment is very warm and the butter is beginning to melt, pop it back into the fridge for a few minutes before continuing to flatten it. After rolling, put it back in the fridge to chill as you roll the dough. Know that you do in fact want the butter to be a little soft and malleable; hard butter will shatter when rolled into the dough.
2. Unwrap the dough and roll it out into about a 6 by 4.5 inch rectangle. You want the dough and butter to be of relatively equal softness before rolling them together. If you have to, very lightly dust your workspace, but don’t over do it or you’ll get extra bready croissants. Place the sheet of butter on one half of the dough and fold the other half of dough on top of the butter, creating a butter sandwich. You want to make sure that the butter pretty much reaches every inch of the dough; if there is a big gap between the butter and edge of the dough, separately roll out the butter a bit more. Roll the butter-dough sandwich into a rectangle, about 6.5 by 8 inches long. Now you’re going to complete one book fold. With the rectangle laid out horizontally in front of you, take the left quarter and fold it onto the second quarter of dough. Now take the far right quarter and fold it over the remaining exposed quarter. Lastly, fold the right half of dough over the left half, creating a book. Wrap the dough in plastic and set it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
4. After the dough has chilled, roll it out into a rectangle again and complete a letter fold. With the dough laying in front of you horizontally, take the left third and fold it over the center third of dough. Next, take the third of dough on the far right and fold it over the dough to the left. So far, you’ve completed one book fold and one letter fold, which results in 4×3 or 12 layers. Wrap up the dough again and set it in the fridge for another 15-20 minutes to rest before completing the former step (one letter fold) again. The resulting dough will have 4x3x3 or 36 layers. After the last fold, allow it to sit in the fridge for 1 hour.
5. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out into a 6.5 by 8 inches long rectangle. Trim off the uneven edges so that the remaining rectangle has straight edges and pointy corners (you can reserve the dough trimmings to make 1-2 tiny croissants or pan au chocolates). Cut the rectangle in half to make two smaller rectangles. Slice each of the smaller rectangles diagonally, creating two long triangles per rectangle. Each triangle will turn into a croissant. Take one triangle and, with the wider edge or crust facing towards you, use a rolling pin to very lightly roll each point out to create a wider edge. Doing this will result in a croissant that has more visible curls on either end. Now, lightly use your fingertips to roll the croissant toward the single tip, being careful not to squash down the down as you roll. Rolling should feel swift and light. Once shaped, lightly brush each croissant with the egg wash (you should have a lot left over), and loosely cover the croissants with plastic wrap or a thin kitchen towel. Allow them to sit at room temperature (22-25 C) for 35-45 minutes or until they take on a marshmallowy appearance (they won’t be quite doubled in size). Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F as the croissants proof. When the croissants are puffier and you can notice the separate layers from sideview, they are ready to go into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until noticeably golden all over. Enjoy immediately with (my favorites) strawberry or apricot jam and maybe even an additional swab of butter (don’t say I told you to)!!!

Important note: this recipe was adapted from David Lebovitz’ whole wheat croissants!