Bringing Paris Home: Chocolate Croissant in a Box

If you’re a serious croissant lover but can’t afford to go to Paris to try the authentic, buttery pastry at the moment, here is your answer: Chocolate Croissants from William-Sonoma.

This is another one of the purchases I made during the holidays from my favorite destination for anything kitchen-related, including bake-at-home pastries. I finally decided to open up the box that had been sleeping in my freezer for the last several weeks for breakfast today. Although you have to let the frozen dough sit outside overnight (or nine hours) to let it rise, preparing for it is simple and it takes less time than getting in your car to head to the nearest bakery! After the dough rises, all you have to do is pop it in the 375 degree F oven, and you have a perfectly baked croissant in less than 20 minutes!

These croissants are delicious, there is no doubt about it, but I found them to be a little too buttery and flaky. I guess that’s really not something that I should complain about but I realized that I personally prefer a slightly more dense and chewy pastry. But I would definitely recommend this for anyone who’s looking for a wonderful pastry where you can eat it piping hot out of the oven while enjoying the amazing aroma that will fill your house!

Paris in a Box: French Macarons

I ordered a bunch of goodies from Billy (William-Sonoma) this holiday season – from peppermint barks, to hot chocolate mixes, to chocolate croissants (how can I resist one of Oprah’s ultimate favorite things?). They were mostly given out as gifts but I had to get Parisian Macarons from Galaxy Desserts for myself. I tried making these French almond treats at home but ended in utter failure so I had to resort to outside help to satisfy my craving for these lovely cookies during the holidays.

I was most impressed with the way these macarons were delivered. The boxes that contained 24 cookies were placed in a sturdy ice box, then carefully packed in a cardboard box with dry ice. Every cookie arrived uncracked and perfect! Cookies were much smaller than I grew accustomed to in Paris (felt like I got ripped off a bit) and they were little on the grainy side (almonds tasted too coarse) but the creamy fillings were delicious. Out of all the flavors (they came with raspberry, lemon, pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, and espresso), my favorite was pistachio.

If you’re looking to send a cute Valentine’s Day gift, this might not be a bad idea, but at $49 for 24 cookies (plus tax and shipping), I think I’ll be saving that money for my next trip to Paris.

Barking Over Fantastic Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with your love ones! I spent the Christmas Eve at my parent’s house, celebrating the holiday over a pot of bubbling cheese with my mother, my father, my sister, and my boyfriend. Yep, we had a fondue party! 🙂

It was interesting that my mother decided to do fondue instead of the traditional ham, beef, or other meaty dishes that we’ve been enjoying for the past several years, especially because we have never had fondue together in the past (this was actually my first time, ever), but the party was a hit. Yay!  She boiled asparagus, Brussels sprouts, baby potatoes, and broccolis, and sliced up chunks of baguettes and sourdough breads, and we all used the metal barbecue skewers to dip the cheese sauce made with Emmenthal and Grueyer cheeses. She was smart to pick up the packaged fondue mix from Trader Joe’s so we didn’t have to be bothered with shredding the cheese blocks. We ended up adding about half a cup of white wine to thin the cheese sauce out toward the end, but it was a hassle free way to enjoy the lovely Swiss dish without the mess! We ended the meal with chocolate fondue and dipped fresh strawberries, bananas, and apples to the velvety chocolate sauce! It was an amazing Christmas dinner!

I had the chance to enjoy the traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, ham, and all the other delicious sides the following day, when I was invited to my boyfriend’s family Christmas party! This was my first Christmas that I didn’t either cook or host in years, and while I missed entertaining, I actually enjoyed a very relaxing day, wrapping gifts and eating blocks and blocks of William Sonoma’s famous chocolate barks that I had ordered online.

Speaking of the bark, have you had one before? OMG, the peppermint bark from Billy (that’s what my boyfriend and I call William Sonoma … got the idea from my friend Gabriel) is what holiday is all about. It has layers of thin but decadent milk and creamy white chocolates, topped with peppermint candy bits.  When you bite into each block, you marry the two chocolates together in your mouth, with a little crunch from the candy. It’s so heavenly. I’ve given them as gifts in the past but never tried it myself, and I’m kicking myself that I’ve deprived myself of this sweet deliciousness for all my life!

Anyway, time for me to clean up the house. Since most of my Christmas shopping was done online, I have mountains of boxes that I have to get rid of / recycle. I wonder why people still shop brick-and-mortar style. I can never go back to anything other than online shopping now … seriously.