The Best Croissant in Paris

Gontran Cherrier boulanger

Yes, I am still blogging about Paris because FOOD, obviously…

David Lebovitz, foodie blogger knows his quality Parisian noms. CNN echoed it while Travel and Leisure reiterated the same.

So while in Paris we went on a search for “the best croissant,” because why not eat tons of croissants while in Paris? (sidenote: the same goes for French wine and cheese.  Like the saying goes, “When in [Paris]…”) We found Gontran Cherrier, Artisian Boulanger  (22 Rue Caulaincourt, 18th Arr.) while exploring MontMartre.

Gontran Cherrier

Admittedly I’m not the best person to review food because: 1) really like eating all food and 2) will pretty much eat anything so long as it stays out of my allergy categories (shellfish, cauliflower, lima beans, and pumpkin).

When it comes to sweets and all things bread I pretty much like everything, too.

Translation: while I might love any and all bakery items in France and will love all over these yummy foods, do take the professionals’ word and try the “bests”.   You can’t go wrong!

Mike picked a baguette-like item, which really wasn’t a baguette (Parisians, feel free to comment below and help me out), filled with white chocolate bits and dried fruit.  Further translation: yummy, light, tasty, sweet bread goodness.

Croissant and bread at Gontran Cherrier

The croissants by Gontran Cherrier?

To die for! Flaky, light, crispy yet delicate.  So delicious. Fabuleux.

Croissant Gontran Cherrier

To meet the credit card charge minimum of €10 we happily picked out a few more treats.  This also evened out the calories burned while wandering the Rues and Avenues.

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Now you can wipe that drool off your keyboard and enjoy your lunch Lean Cuisine and try not to think about your New Year’s Resolution of eating better.

You’re welcome.

(But seriously, if you’re in Paris go to Gontran Cherrier boulanger. Word on the street is Tokyo has one too!)

Baking Therapy

candy cane baking

Baking calms me and meanwhile excites me.   You mix separate ingredients and end up with something new, hopefully something tasty.  There’s a routine to it, an expected result.  Occasionally you literally spice it up and diverge from the recipe.  When creative moments turn out even better than the scripted ones, I feel proud.  When I fail, burn, or goop-it-up, Mike still eats everything happily.

While the above feels like some metaphor for life, and probably is, I honestly love baking.

White Chocolate Puppy Chow Mix

During this last week of teaching before winter break, when my heart felt heavy and my brain exhausted,  we needed to bake in my classroom.  We also needed the classic Christmas, 30-minute movie breaks and cheerful picture books like Snowmen at Night and Tacky the Penguin.  More than anything I, me as a teacher, needed to see their eyes light up with wonder as I demonstrated how to turn paper into a snowflake.  I needed to hear them “ooh” and “ahh” over melting chocolate.  I cherished the glitter everywhere.

So we “baked,” if you can call making Puppy Chow baking.

Only one kid ever-so-slightly burnt himself and another took too deep of a whiff of peppermint extract, but wow did they have fun.  They laughed deep belly-laughs while using their pencil-boxes to smash candy canes.   They giggled as powdered sugar escaped when shaking the bag of mix. Finally, they fell silent while munching on the fruits of their labor, which we shared with pride at our class and parent holiday party. (And I felt patiently joyful watching the sugar take hold.  We had extra recess that day.)

I needed that. I needed to bake. I needed the happiness.

I hope anytime my students make or eat Puppy Chow, they remember that time in 2nd grade when we made the entire school smell like melted chocolate.   Most of all I hope they never find a reason to stop smiling.

Some of my favorite Baking Smiles:

What are some of your favorite baking recipes, which make you smile?

Oreo Stuffed Cookies!

oreo stuffed cookie

Feeling like replacing your wholesome lunch with a hearty, decadent cookie?  Well then do I have the recipe for you!

This is basically your typical chocolate chip recipe (a variation on Nestle Toll House) doubled, and with an Oreo cookie inside.  It tastes great (how could it not?!) and is a real crowd-pleaser.  Even those folks who claim they can’t eat a whole one can cut these bad babies in a half, because obviously…

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients:

5 cups all-purpose flour2 teaspoon baking soda2 teaspoon salt1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup Crisco (add 2 tbsp water)

1 ½  cup granulated [white] sugar

1 ½  cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

4 cups (2, 12-ounce packages) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

1 package of Oreo Cookies (about 36 cookies)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels.

Refrigerate cookie dough for one hour.

Freeze Oreos (in package, as is) for one hour.

Roll a heaping tablespoon into your hand, gently push an Oreo cookie into the dough. _MG_0466

  Add another tablespoon to the top.

oreo stuffed cookie process

Form a pouch, rounding off the corners and adding extra dough to “seal in” the Oreo. It should be the size of a golf-ball, if not larger (seeing as I don’t play golf I’m comparing it to a small koosh-ball — that totally make things clear).

oreo stuffed cookie raw

Make sure you cover the sides of the Oreo well and create a nice little home for them to bake.

Place balls of calories onto ungreased baking sheets.

Cookies do not spread much, but do allow space between them (about 8 cookies per sheet).

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Bake in preheated 375-degree Fahrenheit oven for 13 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

_MG_0464 oreo stuffed cookies cooling

Thank you, Pinterest, for always inspiring…

oreo stuffed cookie1

Happy Birthday America Bark!

crownbutton

While I might dislike the music of Bruce Springsteen and don’t prefer the chocolate and peanut butter combo, everything else about me is truly American!

For this afternoon’s BBQ I made Happy Birthday America Bark! 

No, I am not turning into a dog (bark, get it?).  I found this on good ol’ Pinterest (a very American thing to do?), which lead me to a recipe for Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark.

This is a great, easy to follow recipe.  The bark is even easier to make!  I would adapt it next time by putting 2 more teaspoons of cake mix into the white chocolate.

I used red and white stars and sprinkles, along with traditional sprinkles (jimmies?), for my patriotic birthday look!

However you celebrate our nation’s independence, I hope you are safe and have fun!

Bark, bark.  Bark!

National Chocolate Cake Day

According to this post, today is a very special day.

TODAY IS NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CAKE DAY!!!!!!!!

Some smart woman somewhere did a very good thing by making today happen.

If you ever find yourself at a bar with me, about an hour or so after we arrive, you will hear some version of these words: “I could really go for some chocolate cake right now.” (and after years of saying this, I do know which DC bars serve beer and cake)

I love chocolate cake.

  • I love chocolate so much that the top tier of our wedding cake (currently in our freezer – talk about self control) is a death by chocolate, chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream icing.
  • I love chocolate cake so much that I rushed to write this post minutes after my friend notified me of today’s significance.

 

I apologize for not getting the word out sooner.  With proper notice I might stuff my face with chocolate cupcakes for breakfast.  A good ol’ fashioned chocolate cake might have graced our teacher’s lounge.  But of course, some chocolate truffle cake will on the plate for after dinner.

 

I always need a good excuse to have me some chocolate cake for dessert.

So what are you waiting for?

Go now. Stuff thy faces.

For today? Is National Chocolate Cake Day!*

Changing the world, one slice of chocolate cake at a time.

(Please leave links to any awesome chocolate cake recipes in the comments, to celebrate!)

*feel free to do the same on 1/28 if you missed the cake festivities on 1/27. and the same for 1/29. ah heck we all need more chocolate cake in our lives.