I took mini chocolate croissants out of the oven, let them cool briefly, and then dashed out the door with them to go pick up my kids at school. The smell of warm bittersweet chocolate was killing me as the aroma concentrated inside my car. I imagined how excited my kids would be when they were greeted by this bakery scent. Then I patted myself on the back and said to myself, "You rock." I couldn't think of anything more awesome than greeting them with pastries just out of oven. In fact, I would like to be welcomed this way.
Needless to say, my kids loved the bittersweet chocolate croissants. I let them eat the messy, flaky treats in the car because we were scurrying to get to the ice skating rink after school. Well, more like crawling down the crowded 405 freeway in LA traffic.
When we arrived at the ice rink, my 12 year old daughter took off and pirouetted away as she is an experienced ice skater. Now it's my 8 year old daughter's turn to master the ice. I watched her intently as she tried. She was solid on the ice. Strong, not wobbly. Her eyes were fierce, focused, and intense. I saw determination and excitement on her face and sensed a strong life force flowing through her. And, in that moment that I saw her so alive, I was reminded that this child almost died. I was overcome with emotion, and tears ran down my cheek. Witnessing her joy became all the more precious to me.
My younger daughter was born two months prematurely at just over 2 pounds. When she was one week old, she caught an infection in the hospital. The virulent bacteria spread throughout her body and nearly took her life. By some miracle, she made it and started to thrive.
We have been on a bumpy road with her. Although, she has a normal, happy life, she has been through several more health episodes that have included hospitalizations and surgeries. I watched her fight for herself all those times, just like I watched her intensity at the ice rink. She used every fiber in her being to remain upright as she moved across the ice. It's her sheer determination and life force that has kept her here. Conquering the ice should be easy compared to everything that she has overcome already in her short life.
So why do I drag up the past? I get so annoyed when my painful emotions bubble up and throw tears on a happy situation. I think that my memories get triggered when I see my daughter's determination and passion for life. I am reminded of the other times when these strengths have served her well. In addition, it's because of these memories that I do not take the precious moments for granted. The joy and triumphs are all the sweeter in contrast.
I tried to pull myself together at the ice rink when I became overwhelmed with a swirl of mixed emotions. All at once I cried from past trauma, drank in her joy, and beamed with pride. Then I reminded myself that sometimes life is hard, and sometimes it's miraculous. Life and its emotions are messy and bittersweet, just like my chocolate croissants.
Now about that recipe...
I adapted this recipe from Kimmie of Bake.Love.Give. Check out her dessert blog for creative baking ideas that are perfect for gifts and bake sales. The beauty of this recipe is that it uses just three ingredients. The shortcut is premade frozen puff pastry dough which can be found in the freezer section of most markets. Make sure you are buying "puff pastry," not phyllo dough or pie crust. I found these handy small squares of puff pastry at Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica, CA. They are five inch squares, as seen in the photo above. However, frozen puff pastry commonly comes in large sheets and can be cut to size. Also, I used the baking instructions that came with my brand of puff pastry as a guide and then adjusted the time based on watching for doneness. I recommend doing the same. In addition, a Ghirardelli chocolate baking bar conveniently breaks into squares which are easy to use for this recipe, but any chocolate will work just fine. With three ingredients, warm bittersweet chocolate mini croissants can be yours.
|Easy, Mini Chocolate Croissants|| |
- 1 package of frozen puff pastry dough (I bought 1 package of Indo-European puff pastry squares, which comes with ten 5" x 5" squares.)
- 10 Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate squares, cut in half (I bought 2 Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate baking bars, 4 ounces each. I had some left over.)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Defrost puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight. Or one time I winged it and let the pastry defrost on the kitchen counter for about a half hour.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Working on a cutting board, cut a puff pastry square in half, and work with one half piece of dough at a time. Brush top of pastry dough lightly with egg wash. Place a half square of chocolate on the short end of the dough near you. Flip up the dough and chocolate together and keep rolling so that the dough fully wraps around the chocolate. Place the dough with seam side down on the lined cookie sheet. Keep pairing a half square of dough with a half square of chocolate.
- Brush the tops of the rolled croissants with egg wash.
- Place the cookie sheet full of raw, rolled croissants in the freezer for about 10 minutes while the oven preheats. Heat a regular oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (or 367 degrees for a convection oven). Alternatively, following the baking temperature and time for your particular brand of frozen puffed pastry.
- Bake in the oven for 17-19 minutes until croissants are dark golden brown and cooked through inside. Cool on a rack. Resist taking an immediate bite because the chocolate is very hot just out of the oven. Serve once cool enough to eat. Store any leftovers in an airtight container on the counter.