Nutella Croissants

Croissants are a true weakness of mine. The fluffy, golden layers of loveliness call to me. Dinners at grannie’s house usually included a basket full of little, flaky croissants. I would watch the oven in amazement as these little pale pieces of dough would rise and rise. When they were done, my little hand would wisp a croissant off the cookie sheet and I would sit on the porch with my treasure. Before I took a bite, I would hold the pastry up to my mouth to look like a smiley face. I thought of it as a last request from the buttery croissant.  Then, I would devour the pastry quicker than I could realize my mouth was burning from the piping hot croissant. I never learned my lesson though. To this day, I still swipe croissants off the cookie sheet without thinking twice, and sometimes, in private, make a smiley face with the pastry.

-This particular recipe came from my sisters and me in desperate need of a fast, chocolate dessert late at night. We used what we had on hand: Nutella- check, puff pastry-check, future happiness in our mouths-check.

Recipe: Makes 12 pastries

1 package of puff pastry (thawed)

½ cup of Nutella

1 egg, slightly beaten

4 Lindt Truffles (optional)

Preheat oven to 400o

Lay out each sheet of pastry on a cookie sheet layered with parchment paper. The pastry will be creased in thirds (which is perfect for this recipe!). Just cut along the creases and you will have three equal pieces. Then, cut each piece in two long triangles. You will have 6 pastries on each cookie sheet. Lightly brush the egg mixture on the edges of the pastry, this acts as the glue to the pastry and also is a line that the chocolate dares not cross! Put about half a teaspoon of Nutella on a spoon and spread the Nutella across the pastry (starting on the fatter end makes this easier). Then you can add a nugget of truffle at the fat end, this is completely necessary the chocolate lovers. Then, starting at the fat end, gently roll up the pastry to the skinniest end. Lay the pastry on the cookie sheets and brush more egg wash on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and lovely. Eat (or devour) immediately!

Blackberry Turnovers

Hot, steamy Louisiana summers became a little more bearable with a bowl filled to the brim with blackberries and honey. I remember lugging a pale, pink wash bucket that matched my pink flower bucket hat to the blackberry bush in my grannie and paw-paw’s backyard. The bucket was the chosen vessel for my little, plump, black treasures. My paw-paw taught me how to pick blackberries. I remember his strong, patient voice warning me of the thorns, how to gently pull the fruit off the bush without breaking the stems, and what the color of a perfectly ripe berry looked like. So I heeded his advice, slowly reached my little arm into the bush and lightly picked the fruit from the plant.  Within moments, my bucket was filled to the top. With all of the courage in my arms and my legs, I lifted the bucket to my neck and hugged the pink pale all the way to my grannie’s utility room. My treat would be a bowl of blackberries sweetened with either sugar or fresh, local honey. I loved the way the little berries burst in my mouth. You could always tell whenever I got into the buckets in the utility room, the confirmation lied on my teeth, stained dark purple from the berries. I could never hide the evidence because I could not help but smile after devouring the little gems.

 

Recipe: Makes 8

2 cups of blackberries

½ cup of sugar

¼ cup of water

1 teaspoon of pectin

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 package of puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbs. raw sugar

Combine blackberries, sugar, water, and pectin in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat. Add vanilla. Boil for 20-30 minutes, skimming the foam on top. Cool for 30 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Unroll puff pastry on cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Cut each sheet into 4 equal squares. Fill the center of the squares with 1 Tbs. of blackberry filling. Seal the edges with egg wash. Fold corners together to form a triangle. Crimp edges of the pastry with a fork and puncture the top of the pastry enough to allow the steam to escape. Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream!