Do you ever do something that just makes you feel free? You know those moments where for a mere second you don’t have a care in the world. I think as adults we tend to forget the importance of letting go.
For example, I like to open my windows of my minivan and play the music loudly. I stick my hand out the window and just feel the wind as it pushes against my palm and I sing at the top of my lungs. I really don’t care that I don’t know the words and the wind is blowing my hair into a knotted mess. I’m good with the fact that there are teenagers in the next car looking at me like I’ve lost my mind. It is okay that I’m not thinking about anything. (Well, I mean, I am still following the speed limit and obey traffic laws.)
When we were kids, these are experiences we had daily. Whether it be jumping on the bed or skipping to the bus stop, our minds would be nowhere but in that exploit. The activity really doesn’t have to have a goal, it just is a diversion to whatever you were supposed to be doing.
Given the parameters of this year, I think we need to spend the next two months regressing and finding our freedom again as only kids do. Maybe you could hide behind a corner and jump out and scare your significant other. (That was a favorite of mine as a child but it usually involved one of my sisters attempting to whack me…but it was still a blast.) Perhaps you could even go to a playground and swing for a few minutes, pump your legs and feel the coolness of fall on your face. I’d even recommend a twirl or two in your office chair. Guess what? Despite childhood parental warnings, that chair will not break if you keep going around in circles!
This freedom can also be applied to food. I’m not saying be reckless and eat ice cream for dinner EVERY night but I wouldn’t shame you if you tried it once. Put that weird ingredient on your pizza just to see what it might taste like. Mix your juices into a colorful slurry that may eventually just turn brown. I’d even crack an egg on my head just to see if I could do it gently enough not to cover my face in yolk.
One of my releases that I’ve tried during the pandemic entails an almond croissant. It is one of my go to orders if I see it on a menu. There is something about the buttery-ness of the croissant paired with a thick rich almond filling. It makes my mouth water just thinking of it.
I’ve never made them at home. I admire the artistry in pastry making but by no means have ever mastered such tasks like croissants. So, you know what? I threw all my beliefs about “it has to be 100% made by scratch” out the window. Why can’t I just improvise and have a good time?
I bought a HUGE container of croissants and can of almond filling. (Almond filling is usually found near all the pie fillings in the baking aisle.) I came home and delicately cut each croissant in half lengthwise. I scooped out some of the gooey almond filling and slathered in the middle of each croissant.
I also made a simple amaretto syrup and brushed it on the tops of each one with a sprinkle of sliced almonds before I heated them in the oven. Topping them with a light dusting of powdered sugar was the finishing touch that made this afternoon treat complete.
With reckless abandon, I picked one up and chowed down. There was almond filling oozing out of the sides and gently down my chin. I had powdered sugar falling on my shirt and it didn’t matter. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that these weren’t technically homemade. I didn’t care that the hot almond filling could have given me a first degree burn on my mouth. I just enjoyed the moment.
We’ve all had a pretty weird year. For some of us, it has been hard to escape the “adult” moments. I’m not sure if the next few months will be any better but for the sake of your sanity remember to find your freedom because in the grand scheme of things you’ll never regret taking the time to “eat that croissant!”
Quick Almond Croissants
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons of Amaretto
1 12.5 ounce can of almond filling (not paste) I like the Solo brand the best.
¼ cup sliced almonds
Oven at 350 degrees.
Prepare a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
Place water, sugar and amaretto in small saucepan over medium heat. (If you don’t want to use amaretto, add a small amount of almond flavoring or vanilla.) Stir until sugar is dissolved and remove from heat. (Simple syrup)
Slice your croissants lengthwise (like you were going to make a sandwich).
Put equal amounts of almond filling in each croissant bottom. (I like A LOT so one can was perfect for 6 croissants.)
Put the top of the croissaint on the almond filling.
Brush the top of each croissant with simple syrup and stick some of the almond slices on top.
Bake for about 12 minutes. (You want the filling warmed up and the top a little brown but not too brown.)
Remove from oven. Dust with powdered sugar!
Ta-dah. Eat it before dinner, in the middle of the day, while taking a shower, on a walk with the dog, in the park on a swing, skipping to a song in your head, driving down the road to Hootie and Blowfish….whatever makes your day!