Few things compare to the decadence of a pastry. It's hard to not be completely entranced when you walk into a bakery. If I could go to a bakery every day I would, but like most people, my schedule often does not lend itself to my love of quality bread products. Luckily a certain hipster grocery store chain has my back — Trader Joe's, perhaps best known for its Hawaiian shirt-wearing employees and devotion to all things pumpkin-flavored. But, if you weren't already aware, the store makes exceptional, inventive baked goods. In fact, I think this is their hidden specialty. Their newest creation? A mouthwatering croissini, a 27-layer combination of croissant and breadstick.
If the word "croissini" sounds vaguely familiar but difficult to picture, that's because it's not an established concept (until now). Trader Joe's croissini is a mix of two quintessentially European snacks: French croissants and Italian grissini (thin, crisp breadsticks). The resulting offspring is described on the store's website as "...twenty-seven layers of delicate, buttery puff pastry dough cut into roughly 1.5 x 5” strips, then twisted into irregular shapes and completely coated with sesame seeds." As an added bonus, the croissini is free of oil. It's made exclusively with butter, making it that much more rich in flavor.
Funny enough, the inspiration for the product didn't come from France or Italy, rather it was a treat from a baker in Greece that captured the heart (and palate) of its developer, according to its product description.
Okay, I'll admit it: I'm a baked good snob. When I treat myself to a baked treat I expect it to be worth the blood sugar crash to which it will inevitably lead. One thing I have always struggled with when buying them somewhere other than a bakery is a noticeable lack of freshness. Sure, all cookies are good cookies, but popping a store bought cookie in the microwave is hardly comparable to the experience of biting into a chef-prepared oatmeal chocolate chip straight out of the oven.
Luckily, the culinary masterminds at TJ understand this. In fact, this is yet another perk of the Croissini — you buy it frozen! Never again will you try to fill the carbohydrate void in your soul with subpar, room temperature eats. To prepare the 27-layer croissini, all you have to do is remove the frozen twists from their packaging, and pop them into the oven to bake. Absolutely no kneading or proofing needed. In minutes you'll have a freshly-baked, savory pastry perfect for pairing with butter or jam, dipping in olive oil, or even spreading with nut butter (if ya feelin' adventurous).
The release of the croissini follows a trend of hybrid foods (particularly baked goods) in the culinary community. Dominique Ansel, a French pastry chef created one of the first viral baked good hybrids back in 2013: the cronut. When word of the croissant-donut hybrid hit the world wide web, Ansel became a household name (though, it should be noted the chef was already well-established in the pastry world). In the five or so years since the cronut rose to fame, Ansel has continued to satisfy eclectic sweet teeth with creations like chocolate chip cookie shot glasses and Oreo cookie spread.
Other culinary combinations that have captured the attention of the internet as of late include one made up of a donut and a macaron, a bagel-donut, and most recently a cold brew-red wine hybrid — it seems like our love of crossover foods is nowhere near dying out soon.
But if some of these aforementioned crossovers sound slightly intimidating, perhaps you should stick with the croissini; it's hard to go wrong with a combination of two delicious (and pretty benign) bread-based snacks. Trader Joe's croissini can be found in the grocer's freezer section, and sells for $3.99 for a box of eight twists.