"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Tardy goodness: Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate croissants

by Julie on November 1, 2010

in Adventures in Parenting

Here’s a parenting conundrum for you.

Do you get the kids to school on time, or do you let them be 10 minutes late so they can enjoy the highly-touted chocolate croissants you’ve spent the previous 12 hours preparing?

Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate croissants pose just such the conundrum. This was a product I laughed at in the past — You buy them thinking, frozen croissants – pop them in the microwave and pow! Instant breakfast. But then — surprise! — right there on the front you see that they require that you set them out to rise for nine hours or overnight before you even bake them. Anything but instant. And nine hours? My God.  Even I could probably make my own croissants from scratch in that time. What a joke.

That was before a guy I work with wrote me  singing their praises. This is an esteemed investor and columnist, not a man given to flippant hosannas about a grocery product. So I was impressed enough to pick some up the next time I was at TJ’s, which is to say, that very afternoon. Then the checkout girl herself rolled her eyes and told me, Oh my God…I love these, have you had them before, to which I had to reply, no, I hadn’t, but that I would be, and soon.

On the strength of these two recommendations, I was flush with self-interested foresight. So. I set them out the night before.

The raw materials

Unadulterated raw croissant

And this is what they look like in the morning. Much improved. Promising great things:

Frozen croissant that has "risen."

Lo! He has risen!

Do you know what it means for me to have the organization and foresight to set anything out the night before? It means a GREAT HELLUVA LOT!  It means I must be tremendously motivated and have clear intentions.  Anyone who’s read this blog knows I’m an act now/think later, sorta gal, on all fronts, unfortunately. It’s why I never make my own beans, for example; because cooking them from scratch requires an overnight soaking, which requires that I think ahead, and I don’t do thinking ahead very well.  I just wait ’til it’s 5 p.m. and reach for the can opener,  even though freshly cooked beans are superior in every way.

Anyway, here it was, morningtime, and I had four nicely risen chocolate croissants ready to be baked. But me being me I did what I normally do on a school day and hit the snooze button three, four times, until it was 7:28 and I was forced to get out of bed to shepherd the nits through their morning routine. That’s when I read the rest of the directions: Bake 20-25 minutes in a pre-heated oven.

Let cool at least 10 minutes before eating.

It was 7:30. School starts at 8 a.m.

See the problem?

But now I was committed. So I stand watching the stove, and I stand watching the clock, and I do my best to talk down my very obsessive/compulsive teenage daughter who is beginning to hyperventilate about getting to school on time, and doing my best to calmly remind her that we own an automobile that can deliver her to the schoolyard in three minutes flat, two if I’m speeding, and that we will be ok, really, I promise. Even though I myself don’t think we’ll make it and and wonder how bad a mommy it makes me if I get them to school 10 minutes late, and whether or not the office will take a written excuse involving a baked good. Perhaps if I give my warm chocolate croissant to the attendance lady…

At this point the whole kitchen smells like Paris. And I take them out of the oven at 7:55, and they look like this:

baked trader joe's chocolate croissant

Warm chocolate croissant ...or miss the tardy bell?

The kids fall on theirs and burn their fingers. We wrap them in napkins and fly out the door. When we get to Jack’s school the bell has just rung and he has exactly 60 seconds to run to class. Too bad he is covered in croissant flakes. He will have to fend for himself, because the Drama Teen is shrieking at me to close the door and drive next door to her school. She is also covered in flakes, and has chocolate in her teeth. I hope one of her friends tips her off to that fact before she ruins her middle school social standing.

The back seat of my car looks … well. I will have to be organized enough to go to the car wash and rent a vacuum. I hope I can find four quarters.

Were these croissants worth it? Yes they were. And they would have been that much better with a little time to savor them over tea or coffee.

The most pathetic twist: I bought another package that day. I set them out. I hit the snooze bar three times the next morning. And ran out of time for the second day in a row.

Delicious and warm and flaky as they are, I just don’t see these being on regular rotation at our house.

Maybe you’ll have better luck.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

marie March 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Not a quick fix, but would work for afternoon tea! Put them on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet on the floor heater vent. Ready to bake in 3 hours. Please don’t post my email address.


Julie March 23, 2014 at 9:21 am

That is an awesome hack! And what a blogpost THAT would be…thanks, Marie!


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