New Year, One New Change

one new change
Resolutions can be a recipe for disaster. After the first ‘night out’ drinking soda water or the first dinner-without-dessert since last new year. willpower doesn’t come so willingly. To combat this, I prefer to set myself goals I can invest in.

This year, I have resolved to go on more adventures. The first step was to book flights to and from Bangkok for early March (I am going to jump you like an Olympian, Thailand!) and the second step was to refresh my ski wardrobe at Ellis Brigham in One New ChangeM/b>.

I haven’t been skiing in almost ten years. Though I took to the snow like a fish to water, before I knew it a couple of holidays had passed, a few years had passed, a lot of ladder-climbing had passed, and I ended up here; obsessed with the snow from afar.

It is time to get back on the slopes.

Walking into Ellis Brigham (after the obligatory elevator trip to the top of One New Change to take in London’s dark blues), I was convinced I was going to leave the store with a shiny new pair of ski boots.

I got distracted. Distracted by rainbows of goggles, helmets, skiwear and all of their neighbouring goods. As quick as as money could possibly be spent, I spent it. With black and white skiwear protruding from my closets at home, I opted for the white Era 14/15 helmet from Giro (incredibly comfy, sleek, and made with thermostat control venting) and – my big investment – the Dragon APXs Whiteout 14/15 goggles with pink ionized lenses. Having dealt with a plethora of eye issues over the last year, it was clear goggles took precedence over boots as soon as I started to peruse the cases.

They also make my ski-obsessed Manfriend green with envy. Score.

On the way to check out, I remembered my final piece of non-rentable ski kit essentials – ski gloves – and left shortly thereafter with a bag full of promises.

I’m coming for you, Alps.

one new change
one new change
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How To Make Cronuts, Officially

cronut recipe
Whether you call them cronuts, crodos, cro-doughs, dosants, or any other hybrid croissant and doughnut moniker, there is no way to deny the nom factor of these little cult pastries.

Unfortunately, their moreish nature has no effect on their availability. In London, brainy food spots like Duck & Waffle, Kooky Bakes and Rinkoff Bakery have all come up with ‘best of’ contenders, but are part of a small crowd with small batch capabilities.

If there was any time to DIY, this would be it. Thankfully, the King of Cronuts – Dominique Ansel of his eponymous bakery in New York – has shared his original recipe with us. Strap in, cronut lovers…this is a long rie.

Recipe: How To Make Cronuts

Servings: Over 8
Difficulty: Hard
Cook Time: Over two hours

Ingredients
For the pastry dough:
3 3/4 cups flour, plus more as needed for dusting
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant yeast (preferably SAF Gold Label)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
1 large egg white
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (84% butterfat), softened
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Nonstick cooking spray as needed
For the butter block:
18 tablespoons unsalted butter (84% butterfat), softened
Grapeseed oil as needed
Glaze of your choice as needed
Decorating sugar of your choice as needed

Special equipment:
Stand mixer with dough hook and whisk attachments
Ruler
Large offset spatula
3 1/2-inch (9 cm) ring cutter
1 inch (2.5 cm) ring cutter
Deep-frying thermometer
2 uncut piping bags
Wilton #230 Bismarck metal tip or other Bismarck tube
Ateco #803 plain tip (5/16-inch/0.8 cm diameter)

Cooking Directions
Two Days Before
Make ganache: Prepare one of the ganache recipes below and refrigerate until needed.
Make pastry dough: Combine the bread flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water, egg whites, butter, and cream in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until just combined, about 3 minutes. When finished the dough will be rough and have very little gluten development.

Lightly grease a medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the dough, to prevent a skin from forming. Proof the dough in a warm spot until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.

Remove the plastic wrap and punch down the dough by folding the edges into the centre, releasing as much of the gas as possible. On a piece of parchment paper, shape into a 10-inch (25 cm) square. Transfer to a sheet pan, still on the parchment paper, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Make butter block: Draw a 7-inch (18 cm) square on a piece of parchment paper with a pencil. Flip the parchment over so that the butter won’t come in contact with the pencil marks. Place the butter in the centre of the square and spread it evenly with an offset spatula to fill the square. Refrigerate overnight.

One Day Before
Laminate: Remove the butter from the refrigerator. It should still be soft enough to bend slightly without cracking. If it is still too firm, lightly beat it with a
rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface until it becomes pliable. Make sure to press the butter back to its original 7-inch (18 cm) square after working it.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, making sure it is very cold throughout. Place the dough on a floured work surface. Using the rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 10-inch (25.5 cm) square about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Arrange the butter block in the center of the dough so it looks like a diamond in the centre of the square (rotated 45 degrees, with the corners of the butter block facing the center of the dough sides). Pull the corners of the dough up and over to the centre of the butter block. Pinch the seams of dough together to seal the butter inside. You should have a square slightly larger than the butter block.

Very lightly dust the work surface with flour to ensure the dough doesn’t stick. With a rolling pin, using steady, even pressure, roll out the dough from the center. When finished, you should have a 20-inch (50 cm) square about 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick. (This is not the typical lamination technique and is unique to this recipe. When rolling out dough, you want to use as little flour as possible. The more flour you incorporate into the dough, the tougher it will be to roll out, and when you fry the At-Home Cronut pastries they will flake apart.)

Fold the dough in half horizontally, making sure to line up the edges so you are left with a rectangle. Then fold the dough vertically. You should have a 10-inch (25.5 cm) square of dough with 4 layers. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Repeat steps 3 and 4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The Day Of
Cut dough: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 15-inch (40 cm) square about 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) thick. Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour to relax.

Using a 3 1/2-inch (9 cm) ring cutter, cut 12 rounds. Cut out the center of each round with a 1-inch (2.5 cm) ring cutter to create the doughnut shape.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly dust the parchment with flour. Place the At-Home Cronut pastries on the pan, spacing them about 3 inches (8 cm) apart. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick spray and lay it on top of the pastries. Proof in a warm spot until tripled in size, about 2 hours. (It’s best to proof At-Home Cronut pastries in a warm, humid place. But if the proofing area is too warm, the butter will melt, so do not place the pastries on top of the oven or near another direct source of heat.

Fry dough: Heat the grapeseed oil in a large pot until it reaches 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Use a deep-frying thermometer to verify that the oil is at the right temperature. (The temperature of the oil is very important to the frying process. If it is too low, the pastries will be greasy; too high, the inside will be undercooked while the outside is burnt.) Line a platter with several layers of paper towels for draining the pastries.

Gently place 3 or 4 of them at a time into the hot oil. Fry for about 90 seconds on each side, flipping once, until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.
Check that the oil is at the right temperature. If not, let it heat up again before frying the next batch. Continue until all of them are fried. Let cool completely before filling.

Make glaze: Prepare the glaze below that corresponds to your choice of ganache.
Make flavoured sugar: Prepare the decorating sugar on page 208 that corresponds to your choice of ganache.

Assemble: Transfer the ganache to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Whip on high speed until the ganache holds a stiff peak. (If using the Champagne-chocolate ganache, simply whisk it until smooth. It will be quite thick already.)

Cut the tip of a piping bag to snugly fit the Bismarck tip. Using a rubber spatula, place 2 large scoops of ganache in a piping bag so that it is one-third full. Push the ganache down toward the tip of the bag.

Place the decorating sugar that corresponds to your choice of ganache and glaze in a bowl.
Arrange each At-Home Cronut pastry so that the flatter side is facing up. Inject the ganache through the top of the pastry in four different spots, evenly spaced. As you pipe the ganache, you should feel the pastry getting heavier in your hand.

Place the pastry on its side. Roll in the corresponding sugar, coating the outside edges.
If the glaze has cooled, microwave it for a few seconds to warm until soft. Cut the tip of a piping bag to snugly fit a #803 plain tip. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the glaze to the bag. Push the glaze down toward the tip of the bag.

Pipe a ring of glaze around the top of each At-Home Cronut pastry, making sure to cover all the holes created from the filling. Keep in mind that the glaze will continue to spread slightly as it cools. Let the glaze set for about 15 minutes before serving.

Serving instructions: Because the At-Home Cronut pastry is cream-filled, it must be served at room temperature.

Storage instructions: Consume within 8 hours of frying. Leftover ganache can be stored in a closed airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days. Leftover flavored sugar can keep in a closed airtight container for weeks and can be used to macerate fruits or sweeten drinks.

Ganaches

Vanilla Rose Ganache
1 gelatin sheet, 160 bloom (If you can’t find gelatin sheets, use powdered gelatin. One gelatin sheet = 1 scant teaspoon [2.3 grams] powdered gelatin. For every teaspoon of gelatin, bloom in 1 tablespoon [15 grams] water.)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 Vanilla bean (preferably Tahitian), split lengthwise, seeds scraped
1/2 cup white chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons rose water
Soak the gelatin sheet in a bowl of ice water until soft, about 20 minutes. If using powdered gelatin, sprinkle 1 teaspoon (2.3 grams) gelatin over 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water in a small bowl, stir, and let sit 20 minutes to bloom.
Combine the heavy cream and vanilla bean seeds in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
If using a gelatin sheet, squeeze out any excess water. Whisk the bloomed gelatin into the cream until the gelatin is dissolved.
Place the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds.
Whisk the white chocolate and hot cream until smooth. Add the rose water and whisk until fully blended. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the ganache, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight to set.

Whipped Lemon Ganache
2 gelatin sheets, 160 bloom (If you can’t find gelatin sheets, use powdered gelatin. One gelatin sheet = 1 scant teaspoon [2.3 grams] powdered gelatin. For every teaspoon of gelatin, bloom in 1 tablespoon [15 grams] water.)
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Grated zest from one lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup white chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Soak the gelatin sheets in a bowl of ice water until soft, about 20 minutes. If using powdered gelatin, sprinkle 2 teaspoons (5 grams) gelatin over 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water in a small bowl, stir, and let sit 20 minutes to bloom.
Combine the cream, lemon zest, and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
If using gelatin sheets, squeeze out any excess water. Whisk the bloomed gelatin into the cream until the gelatin is dissolved.
Place the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds.
Whisk the white chocolate and hot cream until smooth. Let the ganache cool to room temperature.
Whisk in the lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the ganache, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight to set.

Champagne-Chocolate Ganache
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons champagne
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup + 1 tablespoon dark chocolate (66% cocoa content), finely chopped
Combine the water, 2 tablespoons (26 grams) of the Champagne, and the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Mix to a smooth paste.
Combine the cream and the remaining 1/4 cup (76 grams) Champagne in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar together in a small bowl. Stream one-third of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until fully blended, to temper them. Whisk the tempered yolks into the remaining hot cream. Return the pot to medium heat.

Keep whisking! Continue to cook the custard over medium heat until it reaches 185 degrees F (85 degrees C). The custard will turn pale yellow and thicken so that it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder paste until fully incorporated.

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Strain the custard through a small sieve over the chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds.

Whisk the chocolate and custard until smooth. When finished, the ganache will have the consistency of yogurt. Reserve 1/4 cup (50 grams) for the glaze. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the ganache, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight to set.

Flavoured Sugars

Vanilla Sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Vanilla bean (preferably Tahitian), split lengthwise, seeds scraped

Maple Sugar
1 cup granulated maple sugar
Grated zest from one lemon

Orange Sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
Grated zest from one orange
Combine the sugar and its flavouring in a small bowl. Reserve until needed.

Glazes

Rose Glaze
1/2 cup glazing fondant (Glazing fondant is also known as “fondant icing” or “pastry fondant.” It is similar to royal icing but remains shiny when it sets.)
2 tablespoons rose water

Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup glazing fondant (Glazing fondant is also known as “fondant icing” or “pastry fondant.” It is similar to royal icing but remains shiny when it sets.)
Grated zest from one lemon

Champagne-Chocolate Glaze
1/2 cup glazing fondant (Glazing fondant is also known as “fondant icing” or “pastry fondant.” It is similar to royal icing but remains shiny when it sets.)
1/4 cup champagne-chocolate ganache (see above)
Warm the fondant in a small bowl in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring between intervals. When the fondant is slightly warm, about 20 seconds, add the corresponding flavour and stir until fully blended.

cronut recipe

The View From The Shard

view from the shard
I’m not sure any view of London is better than The View From The Shard. Even a helicopter ride would have trouble competing.

On a slightly nippy night in December, The Manfriend and I decided to play tourist and zoom sixty-nine floors into London’s skyline for a glass of bubbles. Natch.

Having visited the Empire State building at the start of our courtship, our expectations weren’t set all that high (views of a major city = pushy, camera phone-wielding crowds in my mind) but knew we would enjoy the ‘scene’ at the very least.

After ascending 800ft, our minds were blown. The 360-degree view is more breathtaking than words could do justice. With London’s major landmarks the size of Monopoly pieces beneath us, our small lift-riding group of four fell silent the second the city came into periphery.

Check out our full experience in the Youtube video, below!

Tips:
– Go on a clear day or night to ensure you see the full 40 mile stretch.
– For crowd control, head straight up to floor 72 when you step out of the final lift as the majority will start on 69 and discover the staircase to floor 72 later on.
– Turn your flash off if you’re taking photos.
– Though we went at night (and it was stunning), I would recommend a time slot near sunset to get the best of both worlds.
– The View From The Shard is open-air, so dress for the weather.
– Go to the toilet (the video will explain all).

T London

t london darjeeling diffuser
As a major advocate of British-born brands, I couldn’t let another blog go by without mentioning T London.

Though they are primarily a bath and body brand, they are running laps around their high-street competitors. Inspired by tea (Ango-tastic) and the delicacy of its subtle and reviving aromas, their products are formulated with the finest botanicals and essential oils; sweet orange, lemongrass, Kerala nutmeg, and lemon.

All coming together to create T London’s signature ‘Darjeeling’ scent, the brand’s Darjeeeling reed diffuser has truly been the best addition to my home this year (barring puppies). Coming in both 500ml and 100ml bottles, the glass diffusers make a beautiful – and comfortingly fragrant – statement in any home.