Sweet Puff Pastry Twists
I love living in Southern Oregon but sometimes the weather can be cold and drab at times… Rain, fog and snow are not uncommon during the cold winter months. Many of the wild birds that chose to spend their winters here in the Rogue Valley rely on backyard bird feeders for their food sources. That’s precisely why I always make sure that my bird feeders are stocked with thistle seed, suet and sunflower seeds and that my hummingbird feeder is filled with sweet nectar.
While preparing my Sweet Puff Pastry Twists this morning, I noticed a flurry of activity outside my kitchen window. Several species of birds were visiting the feeders that I have placed out in our backyard. The usual visitors that show up every winter are dark-eyed juncos, house finches, scrub jays, black capped chickadees, lesser goldfinches and spotted towhees. Sometimes I am treated to less common birds to my feeder such as California quail, red breasted nuthatches, and evening grosbeaks. Then there are birds that I would rather not have visit at all… Sharp shinned hawks, great blue herons and great egrets. Sharp shinned hawks hunt the little birds that frequent my feeders. The herons and egrets try to make a fish dinner of my koi in my pond… Don’t get me wrong, I think that they are all beautiful but I’d rather not observe their eating habits in my yard.
A female dark eyed junco. The males have darker heads and rusty backs.
A female lesser goldfinch. The males are bright yellow and have a black cap on the tops of their heads.
A ruby crowned kinglet zipping through the air towards the suet feeder. This bird constantly is moving back and forth so it was hard to snap a picture of him. It seemed that every time I would focus, he would pop out of the frame. His face looks so intent as he bounced his way to the feeder. I see this bird nearly every winter. Whenever he would get excited, he would display a large red crown of feathers on his head. What a cool little bird!
A female house finch. The males are brightly colored with a purplish red breast. Do you see the sunflower seed in her bill?
A sharp shinned hawk in the tree above my feeders. When he is around, all the little birds quickly fly away and hide… When there is no activity at my bird feeders, you can bet he is the reason why. This little hawk is lightning fast and even tries to take down birds his own size! He is such a beautiful and skillful hunter. I like him better when he stays away from my
hawk bird feeders :).
Back to the cookies… My Sweet Puff Pastry Twists are reminiscent of a cookie that I used to purchase years ago at the old Harry and David country store here in Southern Oregon. They called their cookies “Croustilles”. Unfortunately, they don’t sell them anymore but I think my cookies are a pretty good “knock off”. They’re easy to make, light and airy, crispy and delicious. They taste wonderful with a hot cup of coffee or your favorite tea. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. Enjoy! Tessa
- 1 sheet puff pastry (thawed)
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 egg (beaten)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees farenheit. Begin by rolling out the puff pastry into a 12″ square. Combine both sugars in a small bowl. Sprinkle half of the sugar on the puff pastry dough. Be sure to cover it evenly with the sugar. Take a rolling pin and lightly press the sugar into the dough. Gently, flip the dough and repeat on the other side. On one side of the dough, lightly brush with the egg.
Take a pizza cutter or knife and slice the puff pastry down the middle. Do the same for the remaining two halves. You should have four rectangles… Each 12″ by 3″.
Now, slice each rectangle into 3″ by 3/4″ strips. You should now have about 64 puff pastry strips.
On a silpat or silicone lined baking sheet place each strip about 1 1/4″ apart. Twist each strip 360 degrees in the middle, making sure the egg brushed side is up. They should all look like little bow ties. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until a golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately place the twists on a wire rack to cool. Makes about 5 dozen Sweet Puff Pastry Twists.
*** Note: This recipe is not rocket science. Not all brands of puff pastry are the same size when you unroll it out of the package. Some puff pastries are larger that what I described. The key to this recipe is even coverage of sugar and uniformity in size and twists of the dough strips. And of course, keeping an eye on the twists while baking is also important. They do brown quickly!