Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Heart Cooking Clubs: Croque Monsieur Bake & Chocolate Croissants

This week's theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs is baker's delight. We are currently having lots of fun cooking recipes from Nigella Lawson. I love my copy of Nigella Express and decided to make both a sweet and savory delight this week.

It is unseasonably cold here this week. We went from 70 degree weather to 40 degrees at night and in the morning. In light of the frigid weather this morning, I was very happy to have Nigella's Croque Monsieur Bake prepped and ready to bake this morning.

Croque Monsieur Bake - Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson, Serves 4-6
6 slices ready-sliced multigrain brown bread
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
4 oz Gruyere cheese slices
3 slices/3 oz ham
6 eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons grated Gruyere, Emmental or Cheddar
good sprinkling of Worcestershire sauce

Spread the mustard on the bread slices and make sandwiches with the fine slices of cheese and ham. Put each slice of cheese against the mustardy bread, and the ham between them. Make the sandwich and cut each one in half, making two triangles. Squish the sandwiches into a baking dish approximately 10-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches and 2-1/4 inches deep. Beat together the eggs, salt and milk (I measure out the milk into whatever the mustard's been in for maximum flavor penetration) and then pour this over the sandwiches tightly packed in the dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight. Next morning, preheat the oven to 400F and take the dish out of the fridge, removing the plastic wrap. Sprinkle over the grated cheese and Worcestershire sauce and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Several days earlier, I thought I was going to make Nigella's Chocolate Croissants. I thawed my puff pastry to find out hours later that I really thawed phyllo dough. Craving chocolate and not wanting to waste my phyllo dough, I went ahead and made an attempt at phyllo croissants. Needless to say, puff pastry and phyllo dough are completely different. The end result was delicious, but more like a chocolate cigar. I drizzled them with Nutella to dress them up a bit. My daughter and I scarfed them down in mere minutes. We ravished them like a pack of wild wolves.

Notes/Results on Croque Monsieur Bake: I will be making this bake over and over again. I really liked the ease of the recipe and the end result. I would make one change though. I don't think it needs to sit overnight soaking up the eggy mixture. The bottom of the bake was rather soggy. Next time, I will let the bake sit only 30-60 minutes and try it again. This would be fantastic served with some fruit for breakfast or with a salad for lunch or dinner. The Croque Monsieur Bake is as simple as making a sandwich and pouring an eggy batter over the top. Once it bakes, the mustard and cheese combine to make a very creamy sauce that is delicious. I love the ease of this recipe. It is a very satisfying and comforting meal.

Notes/Results on Chocolate Croissants: I think I'm glad I used phyllo dough instead of puff pastry. I loved the crispy crunch of the phyllo dough with the chocolate. I wasn't quite able to roll the phyllo into a croissant shape, so I made chocolate cigars. These were so luscious and sinful! The recipe called for egg to brush over the puff pastry, but I used butter and sugar on the phyllo dough. The end result wasn't very pretty, so I drizzled Nutella over the top. I'd love to try the puff pastry version, but these were scrumptious and yummy all on their own.

Head on over to I Heart Cooking Clubs to check out this week's baking delights. There is still time to bake your own Nigella delight this week! Next week's theme is one-pot wonders!


  1. Two for one! I love it.
    You know, I have never tried a croque monsieur - the flavours sound fantastic.
    And hubby just came home with phyllo when I asked for puff pastry the other day - I love it's crispiness. Great call to drizzle with nutella. Yum!

  2. I love both of these. Going to try the Croque Monsieur this week and take your advice about soaking the eggs. It looks too delicious to not make!

  3. Ah yes, gobbling deserts like a wild wolf... I've been there many times.

  4. Man, these chocolate croissants are showing up everywhere.

  5. I am NOT giving up my chocolate croissants...but I'll gladly have some of your delicious chocolate cigars on the side, LOL!! The Croque Monsier (okay, I'm way too lazy to go back and find the correct spelling) sounds so comforting and homey! Yum :D

  6. Two big winners, Kim! I'm drooling! I'm seriously going to have to try these. I've never had a Croque Monsieur but have been meaning to try them. Looks like the perfect recipe to do just that. Plus, what doesn't taste good drizzled in Nutella? Yum!

  7. Nigella chocolate croissants oh my! I can just imagine the warm chocolaty goodness. Hooray!

  8. Both of these recipes sound delicious!

  9. Wow - chocolate cigars? How can you go wrong with that? Oh - you can't! Great call on the creativity when you thought you had puff pastry. That's given me some ideas!

  10. The Croque Monsieur Bake sounds fabulous and I love the idea of a crispy chocolate cigar, especially with the nutella drizzle. Two great choices for IHCC!

  11. I would wake up in 10 degree weather if it meant I got to have some of that bake! I love it. Kind of like a baked monte cristo casserole. Heaven!

    The chocolate croissants look like they came out cute even with the phyllo mistake. Sometimes accidents are a good thing.

  12. Sounds like two winners, both which I would love to have right now. You are always my inspiration with your choices.

  13. Good to know I am not the only one who has accidentally mistaken phyllo dough for puff pastry! They both are delicious though, so it's not TOO big of a deal :-)

  14. OMG! That croque monsieur bake.....looks delicious! I should join one of those cooking groups...sounds great.

  15. Great job! I like your notes on each dish. I have not tried the Croque Monsoir yet but I was thinking of it for this week. I have done the croissants and used puff pastry. Tasted good.

  16. ooooh, i don't know what i want to dive into delicious!


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