KOUIGN-AMANN, FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE

When life shakes you down hard, cooking becomes iffy, at least for me. Being sick with the worst cold in 25 years didn’t make it any easier. From Brazil, apart from a very heavy heart, I brought a virus, one that clearly was a brand new acquaintance. I had to fight it from scratch from an immunological point of view. And my beloved was hit  too. We were in horrible shape for a week.  Anything you set yourself to do seems to demand a lot more energy. Simple tasks drain you. And a lot will go wrong. Like a tomatillo sauce, poured down the garbage disposal, much to my despair. Still puzzled by that one, as it was a recipe from a very reputable source. Only possible explanation, I grabbed a mutant jalapeno pepper with off-the-chart capsaicin levels. Trust me on that one. I love pepper, being the Daughter of my Dad. That thing could scare all three dragons from the Game of Thrones into hiding. Liquid lava.  But, after that fiasco, I decided to grab the bull by the horn and go for the kill. I would make something more involved than dumping things in a blender. I would make a concoction that has been sitting on my list of culinary goals for a long time. I would tackle Kouign-Amann.

OVERVIEW OF THE RECIPE
(from Sugar Rush, a great cookbook!)

First you make a simple dough from flour, a little yeast, salt, and a little butter. That goes into the fridge to rest from a couple of hours to overnight.  You will also make a slab of butter with a precise dimension and cool it until firm.

Then, the dough is rolled out, the cold layer of butter placed on one side, and the dough folded in the usual puff pastry making technique. A few differences, though: only four folds are needed. Sugar gets sprinkled over the dough before each fold. No lengthy refrigeration between folds, because you do not want the sugar to melt into the dough. That’s about it. After four folds the dough is refrigerated for only 10 minutes, then rolled out and 4 inch squares are cut to form the individual pastries. They sit for 45 minutes before baking so that the yeast has a chance to work its magic.

They are best baked in rings, although muffin tins can be used. They are baked for longer than you would expect, so that the sugar gets really dark. And utterly delicious.

I did not ask permission to publish the recipe, but my friend Karen has made a beautiful batch in the past, and the recipe is available on her site. She also talks about the origin of this interesting pastry from Brittany.

recipe available here

Comments: This one goes to the OMG files. With honors, with a red carpet rolled out for its entrance. My gosh, this is good. This is so good it should probably be illegal. Think of a croissant, but with sugary caramelized bites in between the layers. A croissant that married a muffin and had a beautiful baby. It won’t crumble into buttery pieces in your mouth. It is actually a lot more sturdy, with the butter tamed by sugar. Oh, yeah. Butter tamed by sugar. Perverse, isn’t it? If you low-carb, if you keto, if you Paleo, this is not for you. But let me tell you one thing. Life is short. The pleasure you’ll have by biting into one of these babies is worth a little restraint for a few days. A few more push-ups, one more mile on the treadmill. There. I hope I made my case.

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ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, Yin and Yang

TWO YEARS AGO: Chocolate Toffee Banana Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, June 2014

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

FIVE YEARS AGO: Baked Coconut and “The Brazilian Kitchen”

SIX YEARS AGO: Honey-Glazed Chicken Legs

SEVEN YEARS AGO: French-Style Rolls

 

 

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18 thoughts on “KOUIGN-AMANN, FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE

  1. Aww. You had me at “A croissant that married a muffin and had a beautiful baby.” xoxo Thanks so much. I shed happy and sad tears my dear. You write so beautifully. In English!!

    For me, there is nothing more therapeutic than baking bread, and sometimes, the more complicated, the better. It takes my mind off of my troubles and worries.

    P.S. I hope you are an Amazon affiliate because I bought the book. I clearly have issues!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not affiliated – you know, I am a dinosaur blogger 😉 Actually, I dont think wordpress allows that, as my blog is not self hosted. But I am glad you got the book, it is pretty awesome!

      Karen, I have issues too. But you know what? There are worse addictions in life – I love reading cookbooks, I love to dream about recipes, and life is short to keep saying no to things that give us pleasure… So there! 😉

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  2. Oh wow. I think Kouignn Amann are of the best things ever to make from the world of viennoiserie and yes, they are incredibly wonderful to eat. Great, great job. And what a satisfying treat after a miserable bug.

    Liked by 1 person

    • indeed! Such a fantastic little concoction! It gave me the desire to make the traditional one, which is a single large cake – it is amazing what a little sugar and extra baking can do to a puff pastry – changes it completely. It is hard to think that something could be better than a croissant, but… this one puts up a nice fight

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    • Colds are indeed awful, but this one was something else. The headache I had was so strong that I honestly thought my head was going to explode. And PHil was in bed for two straight days, which is absolutely unheard of. It pretty much knocked us down in our knees… I hope it s going to take at least another 20 years to face a bug like this

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  3. I hope you and Phil are both recovered. One day I want to make traditional croissants. The closest I’ve gotten are the ground pork cracklings that I make sometime in which the fatty pork/lard is a ‘sort of’ substitute for the butter. They’re supposed to end up with a similar type of lamination.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gee whiz, Sally. On my best day I couldn’t make these. You do it as part of recovery and rehabilitation! I have heard about these but the only ones I have ever tasted were the frozen ones from TJ’s. I can only dream how good the homemade ones must be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had never tried one, so I don’t know how mine would compare with Trader Joe’s – but I can tell you, it was one of the best things I’ve made in the past few years… so so tasty!

      I think tomorrow we’ll have one for breakfast… counting the hours!

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