Trade Up With Croissants From Trader Joe's

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Eve M. Tai
Your own private French bakery.
Few Trader Joe items don't incite intense loyalty among the devoted (except maybe the "fresh" produce). But even I was a little skeptical when my friend Karen told me about their croissants. As I pictured perfectly uniform and robotic crescents squished into plastic bags, Karen read my mind. "They come frozen," she said. "You leave them out overnight and then you bake them in the morning."

Bake them in the morning? In your own kitchen? Now that was clever. Unless you live close enough to Honore or Bakery Nouveau to scoot over in your bathrobe and scuffs, it's quite the trick to get a croissant fresh from the oven into your hot little hands. Even then, you miss out on the scent of baking croissants wafting through the house.

I should know better than to doubt Karen. She's one of those friends who shrouds her killer competence in a disarming softness. And she was right about these croissants. In a big way.

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Eve M. Tai
Not huge, but not exactly mini either.
Trader Joe's Mini Croissants come eight in a box the size of a small paperback novel. The croissants are tucked inside, cute as tiny piglets. I set a few out overnight to defrost and rise. (Baking literati call it "proofing.") The next morning they had bloomed in size. After baking them for 20 minutes, out came these fluffy, gorgeous creatures. Unless you're a Big Gulp sort, the word "mini" is misleading. They're sized as the French eat them, i.e. normal.

I pulled one apart to reveal soft, steaming skeins of dough. Eating one was like tasting buttery, yeasty heaven. You could dab a bit of marmalade on, but this croissant really doesn't need it any more than Sophia Loren needs more eyeliner. And it gets even better. Trader Joe's also carries Chocolate Croissants (four to a box). I won't even get into how that warm, oozing, melted chocolate will send your endorphins spiking.

Come fall and winter keep a supply of either the Mini or the Chocolate Croissants--or both--in your freezer, and you just might have to put away your lightbox.

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