September 30, 2010

ah, the power of puff pastry

It's time for another confession. Back when all the Daring Bakers were making puff pastry from scratch, I was overwhelmed with feelings of respect, obviously, but also of smugness. I kept saying to myself "Suck-ahs!" because the ease of preparation and high quality of the storebought stuff has always been and will probably always be good enough for the Gracemeister.


I'm no fool--I understand that if successful, the pride and sense of accomplishment one would have after preparing puff pastry from scratch would be incredible. I can only assume that it tastes better than the Pepperidge Farm version too. So I tip my hat to you folks--well done!


Me, I'll stick with the easy stuff until I stumble upon the fountain of ambitiousness and take a drink. :)


Behold, my recipes for some awesome beastly pastries:

Bear Claws
1 cup almonds, ground
1 cup pecans, ground
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 sheets puff pastry, ambitiously homemade or lazily storebought

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To prepare the goo, simply mix together the nuts, eggs, and sugar until well-combined.
Roll the thawed puff pastry into a large rectangle (9 x 12 inches, give or take) and make twelve 3-inch squares. Apply an egg wash to the top of each square. Plop about two tablespoons of goo onto each square and form it into a log on the bottom end. Roll the bottom about one-third of the way to the top and then fold the top down to meet it. Press gently to seal. Make four diagonal slits into the bear claw-in-progress. Pinch to form the traditional shape, egg wash the top, and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Repeat with second sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool on wire rack and top with a powdered sugar glaze if so inclined.



Elephant Ears
2 cups granulated sugar
cinnamon to taste
dash o' salt
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour 1 cup of the glorious mixture on a flat surface. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. Roll the dough into a 12 x 12-inch square and press the sugar into the puff pastry on top and bottom. Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold one half over the other half as though closing a book, making 6 layers. Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Repeat with second sheet.

Bake the cookies for 6 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

83 comments:

Natalie @ Perrys' Plate said...

Was that the DB challenge where they made Apple Strudel? I did that one! And yes, I felt very accomplished. lol. I'm sure these are divine. It's hard to go wrong with puff pastry :)

♥peachkins♥ said...

I am drooling!!!!I can almost imagine the taste..

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Homemade puff pastry is indeed better than any store bought pastry!!! Nothing compares to it. It is not difficult to make. Just time consuming...

Lovely bear claws!

Cheers,

Rosa

jelena said...

I agree, why mess with the good stuff that someone has already prepared for you! Beautiful ears!

Angie's Recipes said...

As much as I like to mess up the kitchen and make the my own pastry, I appreciate the storebought pastry too.
They are mouthwatering! Gosh, they make me crave for some high sugar stuff.

Barbara said...

I read a few months ago that Dufours frozen puff pastry was as good as homemade. And I think it's true. I can find it at Whole Foods, where I am definitely going this morning so I can make your delicious pastries! Your photos are particularly mouth watering today Grace!

Foodessa said...

Our dear Gracemeister has a very valid point about some things can still be store-bought and pulling off a great outcome. I, myself have still not gone in the direction of making my own puff pastry...although, one day, I'm sure I will have to just for the heck of it. Time is essential...and right now it's slightly minimized in my camp!

Love these easy claws and ears...sounds scrumptious.
Well done Grace ;0)

Ciao for now,
Claudia

Faith said...

I've never tried my hand at homemade puff pastry...I guess it would be good to conquor, but the store-bought stuff is just to tasty and convenient for me right now. :) Your bear claws with that almond filling are calling to me!

pigpigscorner said...

I always go for store-bought..so convenient!

Melanie said...

Dude, I still haven't drunk from that fountain so it's storebought for me, too!

TKW said...

People who make their own puff pasty have WAY too much time on their hands!

lisa is cooking said...

I'd like to try making puff pastry one of these days, but the day hasn't arrived yet! These are treats I should not have seen before breakfast. Starving now!

kat said...

Oh yeah after making it once I'll continue to stick with the store bought, thank you

Nutmeg Nanny said...

OMG I did that daring bakers challenge and it sucked ass big time. If you recall my post they were like little hockey pucks of non fluffy butter dough. From now on it's frozen pre-made all the way. I love elephant ears by the way...delicious!

jose manuel said...

Que pinta tan estupenda tiene, esto se ve tan delicioso.

Saludos

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

These look so delicious! My husband would LOVE these. It is on my list to make. Have a great rest of the week!

vanillasugar said...

well doesn't that just make perfect sense. another fabulous use for puff pastry. genius girl genius!!!

Cheryl said...

Efalant Ears, I freaking LOVE them, had no idea how to make them till now!

bellini valli said...

I have been contemplating all morning on how best to use the puff pastry I have in the freezer...now I will look no further.

Hungry Dog said...

I am totally with you--why put yourself through that hassle of making this stuff when you can buy it in the store? Your pastries look downright dee-licious.

oneordinaryday said...

I actually have some in the freezer right now, but I was happy that the homemade version I did last month turned out so well. The close ups look awesome!

livinlocal said...

As long as you're not on Top Chef, store bought is certainly the way to go. Those elephant ears are gonna make their way into my kitchen as soon as this crazy heat wave subsides and I'm willing to turn on the oven again.

sohdalex said...

These look divine! I definitely have been wanting to create my own puff pastries once I'm back home from France and these are perfect recipes for a first timer in the pastry department ;)

Megan said...

They're beautiful... golden, heavenly. Did you see there is now chocolate puff pastry? I have big plans to try that soon!

LyB said...

I have to admit, I haven't had a drink from the fountain of ambitiousness either! I'll try a lot of things from scratch but some things, I'm just not ready for yet! I would be ready to try one of your pastries though, do you deliver? ;)

Jacqueline said...

Elephant ears for me please. Mmmmmmm :P

ps I am with you on the puff pastry issue :)

Mimi said...

Your treats looks fabulous. For the record homemade puff pastry is pretty easy to make. It just requires a lot of resting time, just like me. In a pinch Trader Joe's pp works just fine.
Mimi

Marjie said...

I'm firmly in the Pepperidge Farms puff pastry camp, right with you. Fine looking confections here, Grace!

Fresh Mommy said...

Elephant ears, oh my!!! I WANT SOME NOW. Oh excuse my outburst. But I'm with you on the puff pastry. I don't know that I'm that ambitious. I don't think it looks that easy to make... I have a fear of failure.

:)
~Tabitha

scrambledhenfruit said...

I've never made puff pastry. Maybe one day when I have a lot of time on my hands and I'm feeling adventurous. Just maybe. But for now, that box of P.F. puff pastry in my freezer will do just nicely for these!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I am a cheater~~ the freezer variety works for me!
another friday's favorite for sure :-)

Swetlana said...

such beautiful blog with so many wonderful sweet dishes..every picture is just perfect.just awesome!

Catherine said...

Oh my Grace what a lovely post!
Beautiful, mouthwatering pictures. Marvelous darling!

Carolyn Jung said...

A fine bear claw is a wonderful thing, indeed. The best I ever had were from a Danish bakery in Solvang, Calif. I think yours look like they'd give those a run for their money.

Lucie said...

I gotta say, homemade puff pastry is a little cloud of paradise on earth...but then again, so are your pictures! Mmm, cinnamon ;)

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed said...

Hehe, ambitiously homemade - I wish! I have the ambition yet have never executed homemade pastry. I think I am halted by fear of failure. I really should just get over myself and give it a go :)
These look scrumptious!
Heidi xo

Von said...

I've only made puff pastry once and that wasn't too successful so I still don't really know what homemade tastes like =) I love store bought anyway- and it makes really yummy stuff really easy to make! These bear claws look so good! I've never heard of bear's claws, but I love the name, and I love almost anything made with puff pastry so this sounds really really yummy!

sweetlife said...

I wouldn't even attempt making puff pastry, oh not me...too lazy, i'll stick with ya and make some of these awesome treats, love the bear claws

sweetlife

Lori said...

Thanks Grace for the tipped hat. I do respect fast too. I must say though after using both, I WAY prefer the homemade one. FAR cheaper and much more. But thats not to say I havent opened the freezer door at the store and bought it a time or two. Must say that your recipe has tempted me into making it. Its about that time of year.

Lisa said...

I like to try making things for myself but I'd say 99 out of 100 times I'm with you on turning to the store bought puff pastry. I don't think my waistline could afford me making it often enough to get good at it even if I wanted to. But, wow, those bear claws definitely look better than store bought! A grand compromise, I'd say, and an amazing breakfast treat!

Ingrid said...

I've made homemade puff pastry before but I'll be using PF's to give those bear claws a try!
~ingrid

Gloria said...

Look fantastic Grace, x gloria

Mary said...

Okay, this looks INCREDIBLE! I want some in my tummy, right now :)

Great blog; so happy I found you!!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

Julie said...

Pure deliciousness! I don't think the homemade version is something I'll be giving a try either.

Abby said...

This chick has no desire to make it herself (and be sad because of her disappointment.) But I'll be using the box I have to make these recipes!

cookies and cups said...

I'm a frozen puff pastry buyer and eater. I have no shame.
Your bear claw also looks shameless...yumm!

Seglare said...

I think I have made my own puff pastry once. It turned out very nicely, but truth be told, I couldn't really tell the difference, so I just keep buying it from the store when I need it (usually only once or twice a year, anyway).

Your creations look amazing!! :)

Nicisme said...

I have made it in the past, but I agree - let someone else do the hard work when it comes to puff pastry!

Kerstin said...

Mmm, what delightful treats! I've never attempted to make puff pastry before either, and don't have much desire to!

petite nyonya said...

i've made 2 types of puff pastry in a baking class once. so much hard work but rewarding feeling tho'. :) love those elephant ears!

shaz said...

Ha ha Grace, after successfully completing the DB challenge, I promised myself I would always make my own puff pastry....it's yet to happen.

I reckon if you're baking, it's all good. The bear claws looks growlingly good.

hannah {thepastrykook} said...

they look so good i'd eat them in a heartbeat! heck with the bears!

5 Star Foodie said...

Love those puff pastry treats, yum!

Megan said...

When I went to go buy the ingredients for my husband's birthday wish...baklava. I accidentally reached a little to high in the freezer section and came home with some pastry dough instead of the phyllo dough I needed. I have been thinking and pondering what I would do with it...and now I know!!! These look delicious!

Albany Jane said...

One of these days I'll make my own, too... that's what I keep saying. But man... cinnamon wonders you've got there, missy!

tasteofbeirut said...

your photo reminded me of a conversation I had with my cousin Isabelle yesterday who was recalling her trip to the US and said she just adored these Auntie Something cinnamon rolls..
I have a friend who makes her own puff pastry but I would much rather buy mine ; besides it is too hot over here to make it! Love that roll oozing with gaze you have got here :)

Pam said...

I am with you Grace... I do the same with pie crust. Sometimes I am up for the challenge but mostly I like the ease of store bought. Both the bear claws and elephant ears look AMAZING!

Leslie said...

Puff pastry is a PIA to make! Nothing wrong with using the easy stuff!!!! Looks yummt

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Mmm I'm with you. Haven't reached the level of ambition to try many of the great baking challenges including homemade puff pastry. This looks really great and I can definitely appreciate the convenience of storebought during exam time.

The Blonde Duck said...

Puff pastry is good storebought--but not pie crust. :)

Lisa-Marie said...

I make it sometimes and buy it sometimes. If it's just for at home stuff I'd buy, but for a present or a savoury tart, I'd make it.

Your bear claws look immense, we don't have them here! I might have to investigate!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

LOL Grace you make me laugh. I can imagine the "Sucka!" moment too clearly! :P

grace said...

Gracemeister, I love it. These look tasty and sound so simple :)

Chef Fresco said...

YUM! These things are seriously popping off the page. They look freakin amazing!

Jaime said...

mmmmmmm both look mouth watering delicious!!

i *did* feel a great sense of accomplishment after i made my own puff pastry... but now i just keep a few boxes in my freezer ;)

Emily said...

BEAR CLAWS?! You're a genius! These look so very good.

I made puff pastry once and it was awful. Not worth the effort! Thank goodness for PF.

culinography said...

You had me at "bear claws..."

*drool*

Bridgett said...

I have to bow down to those saints who take on making puff pastry on their own, but since it would make me violent, I stick to store bought and remain happy. Bring on the bear claws...

stefania said...

Carinissime le tue varianti, buone :)

Lynda said...

How did I miss this awesome post? I must say these are very drool worthy sweets and I'm now craving me some puff pastry! But I'm with you Grace, I don't want to make it when I can go buy some pretty tasty stuff. That, and I'm just too lazy.

marla@familyfreshcooking.com said...

These treats look so awesome. Homemade puff pastry is amazing, but I thought it was all about the fillings ;)

kimberleyblue said...

I always buy my puff from the store too. In fact, I don't even really notice a difference between the homemade stuff and the storebought stuff, so why bother?

I've never seen something like these bear claws - they look amazing! I love that photo of all that goodness it's stuffed with. I want!

Julie M. said...

I'm not sure why I've never made elephant ears before, they are one of my most favorite sweets to eat! I don't make my own puff pastry either. Not that I wouldn't give a shot to see if I could do it, but there just wouldn't be a repeat performance, if ya know what I mean.

Thanks for sharing these delicious treats and have a great weekend!

DessertForTwo said...

I'll eating anything with buttery pastry, sugar and cinnamon! Thanks for sharing! :)

Sanjeeta kk said...

Beautiful texture for this puff pastry.

Kate Morgan Jackson said...

I never thought of doing this with puff pastry - you are brilliant as always! (and the pictures LITERALLY made my stomach growl!)

Joanne said...

I'm totally with Kate, my stomach is growling as well. And I just had LUNCH. Obviously my belly knows that something was missing because it didn't have one of these to tide it over. Such a shame.

Robin Sue said...

I am a store-bought puff pastry gal myself. I love elephant ears, and bear claws and any other animal part made out of puff pastry, maybe mice noses or piggie tails too?

Kay Heritage said...

I knew I shouldn't have clicked on your site. Now I am going to have to make this and eat it. :)

Bunny said...

Grace my hat is off to you, these look absolutely amazing! Love the pics!!

Hornsfan said...

Grace your tasty treats always make my mouth water!

Pattie @ Olla Podrida said...

Isn't puff pastry wonderful? I use Pepperidge Farm and am always happy with the outcome. These treats look absolutely delicious.

Deborah said...

I'm with you - I take the easy route! Maybe one day I'll have the courage to make something from scratch, but not for now! These both look very delicious.