Monday, June 20, 2022

Independence Day Croissants to Celebrate

 By Cal Orey

On one early July summer trip to Victoria, British Columbia I savored many things.  I planned to escape Fourth of July crowds. It worked...

Not a lot of celebrations or activity in Canada when I was there. Another memory on the Fourth of July away from home was the concierge dining room’s appetizer bar. At 5:00 P.M., I entered the highest floor of the hotel, with its picturesque panoramic view of the boat harbor, into a room complete with special food for special people staying on top floor rooms.

My dinner? A custom-tailored cheese plate, sort of. I scooped up a plate full of edibles, including crackers, cheeses, olives, croissants, and berries. It’s the stuff I eat when I’m home on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. It quelled the homesickness. I fled back to my suite, with its own "million-dollar" Inner Harbor view. I munched on the memorable feast for one. 

This year due to the chaos of flying during the on and off again pandemic--and not arriving at your destination or catching omicron 1-10, it's time to be creative and romantic. Try to enjoy the holiday in a crowded, crazy tourist town. It's a challenge. And I aim to do it instead of becoming a tourist on the road with the dog and cat stuck in gridlock and paying 10 bucks a gallon for gas and high hotel rates for the holiday. I can do better.

In the past, when I fled to Canada not only did I appreciate the solitude, but it was the fresh, over-sized croissant decorated with cream cheese and a variety of fresh berries that was something to celebrate. It's time to repeat. So, this recipe is inspired by the getaway that gave me memories to cherish. This time it will be in my cozy garden surrounded by privacy trees (including red Japanese Maple), lavender plants, faux icy/lattice, umbrellas,wooden rocking chairs, and a vase of sunflowers...

California Croissants and Berries 

Croissants (I used Pillsbury Grands! but fresh, gourmet-style from the bakery are fine, too)

Honey Walnut Filling

(Make twice the amount if you use Grands! These measurements work fine for regular croissants)

¼ cup honey

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream cheese

Berries (strawberries, blackberries or blueberries), sliced

Confectioners’ sugar (for topping after baked)

You can bake homemade croissants by using dry yeast, milk, flour, sale, an egg white, and cornstarch – but why when we’re coping with a heat wave--likely. Take the easy route and use quality pop open and bake croissants. You can buy pre-made croissants but they will not be warm out of the oven. Place triangles on a cutting board. Set aside. In a bowl, combine honey, walnuts, and cinnamon. Place a large spoonful of filling onto the wide part of each triangle. Begin with the wide end and roll into a crescent shape. Repeat. Let set in the fridge for about 15 minutes. I used a knife and lightly added slice marks to make the rolls look pretty. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 15 to 20 minute or until the bottoms are golden brown. Makes 8. (Each roll without toppings is 150 calories, 3 grams saturated fat, 320 milligrams sodium, and 4 grams total sugar.)

Here comes the healthier California part--our immune-boosting California berries, nuts, and honey. When cool, slice in half and spread with cream cheese. Top with berries of your choice. Sprinkle each croissant with confectioners’ sugar. Or drizzle with melted dark chocolate. So, yes, these Fourth of July croissants are festive and have plenty of texture with the nuts and berries, a kick of spice and sweet nature’s nectar. (I recommend local honey.) Also, the flaky croissants make it a perfect dessert but can also be enjoyed at breakfast or brunch. Enjoy one or two with iced tea or coffee. Your taste buds will experience a festive explosion of flavors! And for a getaway? Ah sweet Fall is my fantasy.

-- Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is

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