Trader Joe’s is my happy place. One of them, anyway. (C.Wonder, Pinterest, Stars Hollow, and beachy places also qualify. And I’m pretty sure I would love the Hamptons.) There’s just something about TJ’s that makes me cheerful, calm, and peaceful, even when it’s a busy Saturday and surely the occupancy level is over the legal limit. The employees are always so friendly, the prices are so reasonable, and everything just seems good somehow, you know? I can’t get enough, I just wish there were more locations in Columbus!
I was there two weeks ago. While passing the frozen desserts (ogling chocolate ice cream, who am I kidding) when my eyes spotted a much more intriguing temptress: Kouign Amann. Frozen. Ready to bake after a few hours of “proofing.” A box of 4 for $3.99. YOINK. In my cart that box went.
So before I go any further, surely some of you are like “Kou-what????” Kouign amann is pronounced like “queen yah-mahn.” The Trader Joe’s box told me that, but you can also find that information online. I think the first time I saw this pastry was on the Cooking Channel or Food Network. I don’t really remember much, only that it was buttery, full of flaky layers, involved caramelized sugar, and what else do I really need to know?? As David Lebovitz says, “Is there anything more fabulous than something created through the wonder and miracle of caramelization?” Kouign amann is a French thing, hailing from the region of Brittany which is why you might see this referred to as a “Breton” cake. While variations differ (is it a cake with a dense crumb or layered and flakey like a croissant?), the general consensus seems to be bananas over the flaky version. It all starts with a bread dough, and then it’s folded a bunch of times, rolled together, folded, rinse-and-repeat, with butter lovingly schmeared between each laminated layer, just like croissants. In terms of delicious factor on a scale of 1-10, it sounds like a solid 12. But it sounds tiring, doesn’t it? Oy vey.
That’s why I love Trader Joe’s for bringing us a boxed version. All I have to do is remember to leave it out before I go to bed so the dough can “proof,” i.e. rise. One of these days I may be crazy enough to make my own attempt, but right now, who has time for that? Especially at $4 for a box of four! #gimmegimme
We ate these like literally 5 minutes ago. They were good. Like so good that maybe we should’ve made all four just for the two of us and then just devoured them out of food-happiness. But not really because that’s a terrible idea. That thing about being a 12 on a scale of 1-10? Totally holds up. I even brought out some ganache I had in the refrigerator from a cupcake project two days prior, and you know what? We didn’t need it. It actually distracted from the delicious pastries. So keep them plain. I might try a smidge of jam with them next time, but I’ll bet you $5 (that’s more than they cost!) I’m going to say the same thing again.
To answer anyone’s suspicions, no, we are in no way affiliated with Trader Joe’s. I WISH! Hear that, TJ’s? Call me! No, this is purely out of good ol’ brand loyalty product lovin’ curiosity. So tell us—what are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s products? We could go on and on, but we’d love to know what you love!