Today's post isn't really a recipe but I think that it's something that not everyone knows but should know. Vanilla extract is dead easy to make! It's simply vanilla beans and vodka, or another type of hard alcohol such as rum or bourbon. You let it sit for several weeks and that's about it. It's cheaper than buying extract (especially if you make big batches!) and you also end up with vanilla seeds in your homemade extract, which always adds a fancy touch to any dessert.
It is 3:30 in the morning and I am getting ready for work, which will probably be a 12 hour day because we're in Christmas production mode and that shit is crazy. If you're a long term reader of this blog, that sentence may sound awfully familiar to you because I said almost exactly the same thing when I posted this chocolate cake for my birthday last year. Except last year, it was 6:30 am instead of 3:30 am. Not much has changed.
If I could make crème brûlée for every post, I'd be pretty happy. I love custards of any kind. Ice cream, pot de crème, crème brûlée, pastry cream, crème anglaise, french buttercream, the list goes on and on. There's something about the creamy smooth feeling of custards that I can't get enough of. I work in a place that makes a damn good crème brûlée, which I have for lunch every so often and I make crème brûlée at home. And last night, I went for dinner with some coworkers and for dessert, I ordered crème brûlée. One of my coworkers asked me why I would order something that I can easily make at home or have at work. And I replied, "Because I like crème brûlée. I want to eat crème brûlée, so I ordered it. And this is a delicious crème brûlée."
Back when I was in university, over 4 years ago, before I had any notions of starting a blog, let alone going into the pastry industry, I followed one blog. I didn't know about any others and to be honest, I can't remember how exactly I stumbled across this one blog. That blog was A Cozy Kitchen.
I checked that blog every. single. day. And she posts every few days, which is just ridiculous. I went through the recipe archives and read every post there was to read. I would be taking notes on my laptop in my classical archaeology classes and in any spare minute that the professor wasn't talking, I simply typed in the letter "a" and it was autofilled to my favourite blog. I was obsessed.
Have you ever had a double baked almond croissant? You might have seen them in bakeries or patisseries and thought to yourself, "I am going to get me one of those things". If not, you really should try one.
From a business standpoint, doubles (as we call them in our kitchen) are a great way to use up unsold croissants from the day before. However, our doubles are so popular that we purposely bake more croissants than we need (sometimes up to 60 more per day) just so we can make them into doubles. We keep ours traditional - just almond cream and almonds. Classic, you know? But at home, I like to mess around with flavours and create something new and different. That's how the Pumpkin Pie Double Baked Almond Croissant and the Chocolate Hazelnut Double Baked Almond Croissant came about. It's a heck of a long name, I know, but what can you do.