Kouign Aman(n) for the Common Man

A lot of my favorite and fanciest recipes have been introduced to me by my friend Beth. We have been baking together since high school and we did plenty of kitchen duty together when we lived in London. We have never lived in France, but I think it's safe to say that if we ever got the chance to go, it would be a food-tasting Tour de France. Yum! Luckily we don't have to go to France to eat Kouign Aman. The most difficult thing about these pastries is pronouncing and spelling their name. Wikipedia would have it "kouign amann"but Martha Stewart says "kouing-aman." They can't both be right . . . can they? Maybe it's one of those transliteration issues, but I didn't think Breton had different characters than French. Hmm.

Anyway, this is a recipe I wouldn't have tried without Beth to walk me through it. She came over and we laminated the dough together and then nearly killed all eleven of our children with smoke inhalation. The pastries themselves didn't burn, but butter in the dough drips down from the pan and smokes like crazy! I am not quite sure how to overcome this problem, but in subsequent tries I have at least covered the bottom of the oven with foil so it's not so hard to clean up! Maybe if I was using "tartlet rings" instead of plain old muffin tins it would be better.

The recipe is from Martha Stewart, and you know Martha; if an ingredient isn't "high-quality" you might as well throw it right in the trash. I've changed her "mineral water" and "fleur de sel" to regular-person ingredients in this post. Now we don't have to feel ashamed for the "poor quality" of our pantries!

The hands-on part of this recipe is the lamination of the dough: the folding and rolling and wrapping. But it's not hard at all, and if you have a morning free, it's a lovely way to spend it, with the anticipation of warm, crisp, buttery, flaky pastry at the end.

Kouign Aman
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Bunnies

Can you guess why I am so happy in this picture?
Yes. It is because I have a tiny bunny.
So snuggly!
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Daisy is four!

Four has been my favorite number since I was four, and it is definitely one of my favorite ages too. I just LOVE four-year-olds! They are smart, sweet, and fascinating. And they make delightful companions! So I'm just as happy as can be that Little Miss Daisy had her birthday last week. What would we do without our bright little daisy-flower?

Every now and then I take a bunch of pictures of one of the children as they are talking to me. I always love these pictures because they show so many facial expressions and, collectively, they seem to portray the child better than one picture can. So, here is Daisy telling me all about her dream (it involves penguins in Penguin-land).

She loves to organize and match things together. In this picture, she was sleeping on the floor in my room because she was talking to Junie too much in her room while they were supposed to be napping. We found her sleeping next to all the bunnies she'd collected, each one covered neatly with a folded-up diaper or burp cloth.

And here she is wearing her new yellow birthday dress. We love this little four-year-old sunshine (and we love that Junie-girl too)!
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Better Red than Dead

The sun was so red last night from all the smoke in the air! It was really beautiful.
But the most interesting thing was the red, red light that shone inside the house as the sun set. I loved it!
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