A note to my friends: Please don't wish me a happy dirty 30. There is nothing dirty about entering a new decade (and perhaps the best) of your life. Besides, I realized well before today that my biological clock is ticking. Sorry future child, you may be getting the old eggs. But i'm celebrating, with a cocktail or two because I can.
So it just dawned on me that in a matter of days, I will be turning 30. What is all of this Dirty 30 I hear about? See for yourself....
According to the Urban Dictionary:
"The age at which single women without children realise that their biological clock is ticking, As a consequence they may lower their standards and increase their willingness to perform sexual acts as a matter of desperation in order to find a mate/sexual partner. They may also attempt to hook up with younger males as an attempt to elongate their youth."
At 25 I felt like my biological clock was ticking. At 30 I now have the clarity to realize that it was the biggest blessing that I didn't run to the alter just to pop out some babies shortly after. In fact, if I had married at age 25, I honestly would have married the wrong person. Besides, more women than ever are having babies after the age of 35. So I still have time....yeeee! C'mon people, have some standards! I don't even understand how this whole 'Dirty 30' came about or why its even directed towards women. But that is an entirely other topic.
And did you know that people are having 'Dirty 30' themed parties?? Encouraging guests to dress up as hobo's and eat dirt parfaits made out of crushed Oreo cookies. Lets just stop this irrational way to celebrate another year on earth. and dress up as yourself, surrounded by your favorite people and eat lots and lots of cake. Ahhhh yes, EAT MORE CAKE. Never hurt nobody. Now THATS a celebration people.
Photo by Kelly Lemon Photography
But 30's is the new 20's. And to be honest, I've never been happier in my life. My final years in my 20's have been incredible, and have trumped endless nights on 4 hours of sleep from studying and parting the night before or counting every penny I spent on cheap beer and taco tuesdays. Don't get me wrong, I had the time of my life in my 20's but I definitely don't have the desire to time warp back to my early days.
Why I'm celebrating my not so dirty 30's:
1) I'll never have to hear "Its not you, its me" (or at least I hope that I never will!). I'm married folks, and the journey of heartbreaks and uncertainty of who i'll have children with has finally come to an end. I was fortunate to cross paths with the best man on earth 3 years ago and make the commitment to be together forever.
2) I know who my friends are. My True Friends. No more of that petty "You spend too much time with your boyfriend" hurt feelings. It also means I can invest the time in the people I care about and who reciprocate the same in a friendship. I don't have time to be friends with people just out of politeness and I'm sure they would appreciate it if i just saved us both from having fake conversations.
3) I can afford to plan a trip to Europe and stay in a hotel. A real hotel! Hostels, you were good to me but not that good. Although most weren't all that bad, I prefer to shower without shoes on or lock my bags while exploring the city. And have you ever seen that movie Hostel?? Yup, i'm done. But really, i'm going to celebrate being more financially secure and having the freedom to travel and do what I want.
4) I developed my own passion that isn't the sports i'm required to do in school. So long swimming.....I choose to run. And I'm taking the risks i've always wanted to take but was too afraid because of fear of what my parents would think. Hence the development of my passion for baking and the start of this blog to document my journey and recipes.
5) The best nights out are spent with a couple friends! Or with my husband going to a concert, or grabbing a drink or two and calling it a night. No need to stay out past midnight or go to some dive bar simply because thats where you heard the rest of the crew is hanging out. Good conversation, food, drinks and company is all a girl needs.
6) I'm starting to use social media to build my brand, not brag about the new job promotion, or what I got from the best boyfriend ever for my birthday or post a selfie of my latest haircut. Social media definitely has its purpose and its great for keeping in touch with what your friends and family are doing but I'm kinda over the 'Let me show you what I ate for breakfast' crap.
And so I live on, in celebration, health, happiness, passion, love, and excitment of what my 30's will entail. I honestly CAN"T WAIT. I'll have a drink to that!
Photo by Kelly Lemon Photography
Everything you have heard about making homemade croissants is most likely true. Yup, it has lots of butter and yes, they are time consuming and a tid bit difficult to make. So let me start by saying- strive for improvement each time, not perfection.
On my baking journey, I am striving to teach myself at home how to make some of the most challenging pastries (even for professional pastry chefs). In fact, French Macaroons were my first endeavor almost two years ago. It took ALOT of patience, trial and error, time and well, almond flour. But after I finally made the perfect batch and shared with family to see their reaction, I was reminded that it was all worth it.
And so, on to my next challenge. These melt in your mouth puff pastries known as the Croissant! I must say, it was the first time in a while that I truly felt challenged. These require time, a lot of folding of the dough, the right eye and touch for the temperature of the dough, the perfect rolling of the dough and you have to work fast!
These are some of the tips and tricks I learned from The Art and Soul of Baking by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet.. Hopefully this will help you at home to bake croissants with some ease and success!
Flour- it seems to make the most sense to use pastry flour because croissants are a 'pastry'. However, they require more gluten formation than other pastries. All-Purpose Flour or Bread Flour are higher in protein than pastry flour and when combined with liquid, gluten is formed.
You may also use a combination of bread flour with cake flour. Bread flour will have the highest amount of protein, while cake flour has more protein than pastry flour but less than All-purpose flour. Make sense?
Make sure to brush off any excess flour when folding the dough. You don't want unnecessary gluten to form and create a tougher dough than desired.
COLD Butter - the butter must always be cold. If after rolling the dough, it becomes soft (because it has become too warm) stop there and place it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until cold again.
The butter block simply put…..is a block of cold butter. No need to add additional flour to the butter block. The easiest technique to produce cold but flexible butter, needed in order to fold in with the dough block is to wrap the COLD (this is critical) butter block loosely in plastic wrap. Now for the fun part! Use a rolling pin to beat the butter until it is malleable. it will have a somewhat flat and even surface.
Folds- its super easy to lose track of how many folds you have done. Keep track! Too many folds will prevent the layers from rising (therefore, it will not bake those beautifully layered crust).
Make sure to line up the edges and square off the corners when folding the dough. This will give you more perfectly even layers with the butter generating a more perfectly flaky and high rise when baked.
Make Dough Ahead of Time- you can make the dough, incorporate the butter block, and folds then refrigerate for up to 24 hours before using the dough. You can also freeze the dough for up to 2 months. For the longest preservation in the freezer- wrap 1-2 times in plastic wrap and add to a freezer bag. Or take it one step further and precut the dough to make baking that much easier.
Importance of Temperature- the temperature in the room will affect the time it takes for the dough to rise. Its a hot summer day but you have the A/C cranking? Your kitchen is most likely at an optimal temperature (65-70 degrees) to allow the dough to rise. A hot summer day and no A/C? Probably not a good idea, place in the refrigerator and wait for it to cool down.
Chill Dough Before Baking- remember, cold butter! This will produce the best rise AND give you that flakiness you worked so hard to create.
Make it Your Own- the most traditional fillings are chocolate and ham and cheese. But be creative and make your own variation!
Hello! I'm Candice and I love baking. This blog is dedicated to all things sweet, exploring your passion, staying inspired and encouraging you to Eat More Cake!