French Breakfast Croissant Rolls

Friday, April 25, 2014

If you're looking for a very easy and very tasty breakfast or brunch item then this recipe is a must try. I cheat using store-bought crescent roll dough and do a simple but perfect combination for the filling. I use French ham when possible -- it has a great flavor (more taste than boiled boring ham but not as harsh as black forest style) -- and classically pair it with a little grain mustard and gruyere cheese. The mustard adds a nice sharp flavor that enhances the flavor of the ham as well as brings out the sharpness in the gruyere. The cheese adds great texture and warmth to the croissant, and that classic sharp/nutty taste we love from gruyere.
You can assemble these earlier in the day or even night before, wrap them up tightly with plastic wrap and bake off in the morning or when ready to eat. They are delicious piping hot out of the oven or just warm, even room temperature. For a vegetarian version you can omit the ham and go straight with the mustard-cheese combination. If you don't prefer gruyere, try a milder Monterey jack cheese or even pasteurized mozzarella (I.e. not the fresh mozzarella you'd use for a caprese) or mild cheddar. If you can't find grain mustard then use a little Dijon.
These are fantastic for quick weekday breakfasts, weekend brunches, snacks for the beach, or parties and church functions. I like serving them with cloth napkins; there's something warm and comforting and just "french" about serving these with cloth napkins for some reason to me. Enjoy! 

French Breakfast Croissant Rolls
1 container store-bought croissant dough 
about 1/2 pound French style ham
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
grain style mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take the croissant dough and unroll each piece. They will be in a triangle shape with a longer pointed end. Smear a little mustard in the middle of the triangle piece. Take a slice of ham -- you may have to cut the ham slices into halves to make them fit -- and place it at the long end of the triangle (i.e. the opposite end of the long point). Add a good pinch of the cheese.

Now starting with that longer end, begin rolling the dough into a log moving towards that pointy end of the triangle until you've rolled it all up into a log. You can gently move the roll into a crescent moon shape if you like or leave them straighter. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake in oven about 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cook time will depend on your oven's strength. If they are starting to brown too quickly reduce your oven's temp.

Remove and set aside to cool for a minute or two. The cheese may bubble and ooze out of the croissants; no worries -- it will solidify as it cools. Serve warm.

I like serving these with a hot cup of coffee or freshly squeeze orange juice. If for a party just pile them into a basket lined with cloth napkins or a serving platter. Oven-roasted asparagus would go great with these as well for a brunch or lunch meal. You can also freeze these and bake off as needed.

Dessert Pizza: Chocolate with Strawberries OMG

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I've done a version of this as a calzone with resounding success. It also works great for a pizza. Not a novel idea by any stretch of the imagination, yet it's always a crowd pleaser, easy to do, and fun to make with the kids especially. The classic combination of chocolate and strawberries comes through here. I use a combination of chocolates: nutella for the spread, a combination of chocolate chips for the topping to add flavor and color, and finally the strawberries of course. A drizzle of chocolate sauce on top adds yet another level of flavor. You can add whipped cream to this, toasted nuts, coconut...really anything you like. We served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was amazing.

Dessert Pizza: Chocolate with Strawberries

1 package pizza dough
1 Tbsp olive oil
nutella or other hazelnut spread
1 pint fresh strawberries
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
chocolate sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take the strawberries and cut off the stems. Quarter each berry (you can keep the tiny ones intact) and set aside.

Take the pizza dough and stretch it out or roll it into your desired shape. I like using rectangle for this for easy slicing. Place the dough onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Take the olive oil and brush a little on top of the dough. This will help it get golden and slightly crisp. Bake in oven about 13-15 min or until the top just begins to get golden. Cook time will vary depending on your oven.

Once the dough is cooked, remove from oven and let stand a minute. While still warm, spread with the nutella (this is like your sauce). Sprinkle the strawberries, chocolate chips, and other toppings you may use on top. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and serve.

I recommend not making the crust terribly thin if you're planning on using berries. They can be heavy and will break the crust if you make it too thin. You can use any topping you like for this. I also recommend not adding too much to weight the pizza down. The beauty of it is to use a couple of ingredients for color and for flavor and not overloading it "supreme" style.