The Cruller Purple

Raise your hand if you’re embarrassed about something you’ve done in the past decade. I’m currently typing with one hand while the other is waving proudly in the air. I imagine most people (at least those in their twenties) reading this are doing the same.

I could choose to write about probably a billion things from my high school years. Maybe I could tell you about my diary entries in which I planned my marriages to several boys at the local prep school. Then I could go on to describe the week in which I got a perm, cried and cried at the wet poodle look, chopped my hair off to my skull to start over, and endured months and months of bowl cut to mullet in the spirit of growing it all out. Finally, I could tell you to top it all off, having successfully survived and maybe even thrived in high school, how I began my salutatory address at graduation by singing. No warning, no accompaniment, not a song that anyone would know, but instead a soulful ballad from the musical version of The Color Purple (which I haven’t even seen).

In the somewhat epistolary form of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Celie writes letters to communicate to her sister, or even to God. Her letters are filled with horrible tales of domineering or abusive men, societal restrictions, and broken heartedness. Keeping all of that in mind, I’d like to communicate a message to my younger self.

Dear High School Laura:

Go ahead and dye your hair. Chop it all off; hair grows back. Plan your diary marriage to any one of those Devon Prep boys, even the ones you’ve only spoken to twice. Planning fake weddings is fun. Do goofy things and do them because you chose to. Sing your heart out at high school graduation because at no stage in life is singing out loud unacceptable. No one is stopping you, and that’s a beautiful thing!


Present Day Laura, who is contently reminiscing on the embarrassing moments and munching on a cruller purple.


Cruller batter:

1 cup water

1 stick butter

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 eggs

Canola oil


1. Bring water, butter, salt, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract to boil in medium saucepan. Add flour and beat with wooden spoon over heat for about two minutes. (Batter should be smooth and should come away from the sides of the saucepan easily.)

2. Transfer batter to standing mixer and allow to cool until lukewarm. Begin to beat batter, adding eggs one at a time. Use piping bag or hands to form batter into desired cruller shapes. (These can be disks, tubes, or anything, really!) If batter is sticky, put already shaped cruller batter into freezer to firm up.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees. Drop each cruller in, allowing to cook for about eight minutes (turning occasionally for even browning and cooking. Remove from oil and place on paper towel.

Blueberry glaze:

3/4 cup blueberries

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup milk


1. In blender, combine blueberries and lemon juice. Strain into bowl, then whisk in milk and confectioner’s sugar until glaze is smooth. Drizzle over warm crullers. Garnish with confectioner’s sugar.

Enjoy blueberry glazed crullers with Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and check in at for future recipes and book reviews!


Peter Pain au Chocolat

J.M. Barrie’s beloved Peter Pan has lasted the test of time. In fact, after a Disney movie and live television production, it’s easy to forget that this beloved story began as a series of novels.

Each and every one of us has an idea of Neverland, a place where we don’t have to grow up and deal with “grown up” things. The idea of Neverland seems pretty good to me right now as I think about earning, saving, budgeting, planning, networking, and choosing. The anxiety of being (a few months away from) mid-twenties and not being certain of goals or direction or finances is ever-present.

But I ruminate over these things and realize that I’m eating chocolate for breakfast and petting my anthropomorphized, humongous dog, and suddenly those scary adult things seem very far away.


2 1/4 cups bread flour

1/8 cup yeast

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 sugar

1/4 cup whole milk

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

plus 3 tablespoons melted butter

~1/2 cup chocolate chips

2 eggs and an optional dash of cinnamon (for egg wash)


1. Dissolve yeast into water. Meanwhile, whisk flour, salt, sugar.

2. To dry ingredients, add melted butter, whole milk, and finally dissolved yeast. Combine either in standing mixer or with hands.

3. When everything is incorporated, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead dough until smooth. Form into ball, wrap lightly in cling film, and let rise for two hours.

4. Knock back dough (basically, punch dough to let air out) and roll out to rectangle of about 9×7 (approximately a quarter inch thick). Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with cling film, and let rise for an hour.

5. Roll out dough again to quarter inch thickness. Spread softened butter onto two-thirds of the dough. Fold the dough like a posted letter, first with the un-buttered third and then with the remaining buttered third. Roll out, then rotate the letter-like parcel 90 degrees. Fold in the same manner – thirds – and roll out again. Place back on baking sheet, cover, and leave for an hour.

*Any of the resting times can be done in the refrigerator; however, this slows the yeast and may need to be increased to several hours.

6. Roll, rotate, and fold twice more, ending by rolling out entire dough to quarter-inch thickness. Slice into eight triangles. At the tip of each triangle, place three or four chocolate chips, then roll towards opposite side. Place each rolled croissant seam-side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Let rest for at least an hour.

7. Brush each croissant with egg wash. Bake in 375-degree oven for 12-15 minutes, until croissants are deep golden brown.

Enjoy pain au chocolat with J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, and check in at for future recipes and book reviews!