You may be wondering how my journey to Minnesota was, and whether or not I’m having fun. Well, if you follow me on twitter, then you know my journey was long, uncomfortable, long, and long.
This past Wednesday, to get from my island home to the land of 10,000 lakes, I had an entire day of flying and layovers ahead of me. Four flights and three layovers, totaling about 17 hours of travel time. A sacrifice to the family and travel gods that I was more than willing to make.
All went well along the way until I arrived in Chicago. Actually, the trouble didn’t start until I was boarded onto my plane to Minnesota and we were taxiing out to the runway. The captain came on over the speakers and announced that we may not be able to land in Minnesota because of fog. That announcement was very quickly followed by one stating that we would NOT be able to. Our flight was canceled.
Everyone beat a path to the nearest customer service counter in hopes of getting on the next available flight. Unfortunately, the next available flights weren’t available until Friday (today). They did, however, have a six a.m. flight to another airport, so I jumped at it and called my sis to let her know shed have to drive a couple f hours to get me in the morning.
In the meantime, since the flight was canceled due to weather, the airline didn’t provide any voucher for accommodations, so instead, the airport set up dozens of camping cots. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t sleep a wink. There were a lot of factors playing into my lack of shut eye: I was surrounded by lots of strangers, with a man I didn’t know on each side of me…only about a foot away. Very strange. There were these three or four blaring announcements that played on a continuous loop every three minutes of so. Then, around three o’ clock in the morning this odd ringing began and repeated itself about every 30 seconds. Every time anyone tried to move on their camping cot, the creaks that the cots released were loud and grating. Worst of all, though, was how bone-chillingly cold the airport was. It was so miserable, and the blankets they provided were the perfect size…for a small child.
All of that said, I really was grateful that the airport was kind enough to provide this darkened hallway for people to try to rest in. I know lots of friends who have had far worse overnight ordeals at airports. I was also grateful to put my feet on solid Minnesota ground yesterday morning and greet my nephews and sis with lots of hugs, kisses, and IHOP! Sure, I went about 40 hours without sleep, and yes, my luggage is MIA, and I’m still feeling woozy from lack of food and sleep, but I’m here and I’m happy. The boys are the perfect medicine to cure my exhaustion.
This morning, sis and I decided to make breakfast for the kiddos. We made a fast, easy, tasty tasty breakfast that we all scarfed down, so that we can bolt and I get to hit the mall for the first time in almost a year! I can’t wait!
kWe made semi-homemade almond croissants this morning to fuel up for our day of shopping. The reason they’re semi-homemade is because I used frozen puff pastry sheets to make them. I just let it thaw while I made the homemade filling for them.
In addition to thawed puff pastry dough, you’ll need unsalted butter (softened), almond paste, vanilla extract, sugar, all-purpose flour, an egg, and finely grated lemon zest for the filling.
Cut the dough with a fork, or pulse in the processor four or five times, to break the paste up further. Add the sugar to the bowl and cut it into the almond paste until the mixture is well combined and broken up into tiny pieces. If using a food processor, you can do this with an additional five to six pulses after adding the sugar.
If making ahead of time, cover the croissants with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until dark golden brown.
Dust these pretty croissants with some sweet confectioners’ sugar before serving them to give them a little something extra. Yes, yes. That is a tea ball filled with confectioners’ sugar. It makes an excellent duster for the sugar, as well as cocoa powder!
These croissants, along with a batch of delish chocolate croissants, were the perfect fast, easy, wonderfully tasty breakfast for this seriously exhausted aunt to make for three of her favorite boys.
Now, I’m off to hunt down my luggage and be a shopaholic. Wish me luck… You go make these and have a happy day! Enjoy!
Semi-homemade Almond Croissants
Makes 1 dozen small croissants
FOR THE FILLING
4 oz. almond paste
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
FOR THE EGG WASH
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1 cup raw sliced almonds
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
To make the filling (can be made up to 5 days in advance, if kept covered and refrigerated until used): Break the almond paste up into small chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor (or a medium bowl). Pulse the paste 2 or 3 times, or cut with a fork, to break it up into smaller pieces. Add the sugar to the bowl and pule another 5 to 6 times until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is cut up into tiny pieces. If mixing by hand, use a fork or douch cutter to cut the sugar into the almond paste. Add the butter and mix until well blended, then beat in the egg until combined. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla, then add the flour and mix until just combined. Scrape the bowl to evenly combine everything, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats; set aside.
Roll the thawed pastry dough (one sheet at a time) out until it’s about 18×16 inches. Cut the doughy into third lengthwise, then cut it across the middle, creating six evenly-sized rectangles. Next, cut each rectangle into 2 triangles by cutting from the top corner down to the opposite bottom corner.
Place about 1 tablespoon of almond filling on each triangle and spread it to the edges. Roll the triangles up, starting on the shortest side and rolling towards the point. Evenly space the croissants on the prepared baking sheets.
If making ahead of time, cover the croissants with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Otherwise, continue on to the egg wash.
In a small bowl, gently whisk together the egg and heavy cream. Brush the tops of the croissants with the wash then sprinkle them with the sliced almonds.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until dark golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before dusting with confectioners’ sugar and serving warm.
Recipe adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking