During the weekdays, The Boyfriend and I like to e-mail each other – sometimes with a piece of news or other importance, sometimes just to say hello.
Last week, I received an e-mail titled “Mornin’, Sweets”. Inside was a link to Destination Dessert’s post on Craquelin. The Dessert Traveler’s description upon first tasting Craquelin was intoxicating to read, and from The Boyfriend to me it was a clear and direct compliment of my own sweetness.
“I instantly realized that this was no ordinary brioche …Nothing could prepare me for the nirvana on my taste buds. The craquelin was simply phenomenal! I quickly cut myself a second piece, and then a third: I was hooked!” – Destination Dessert
*Swoon* you hear that? I’m no ordinary brioche!
I decided to reciprocate by making my own Craquelin over the weekend – sweets for my sweetie.
But first, what is it?
Craquelin (also known as Suikerbrood, or sugar bread) is a French brioche, dough studded with nib sugar, and top so crisp you literally crack into it – hence the name (meaning, The Cracker). It is often served as a breakfast treat, or with tea, and is common throughout the Netherlands and Belgium. So sweet and cloud-like, the perfect combination of bread and pastry, it would be a sin to cover it up with jams or spreads.
Brioches are a family of breads typically made with lots of butter and many eggs. The dough is worked very thoroughly (no fear of over-mixing, here!) so that the butter gets between the sheets of gluten. After a good leavening, the dough forms many pockets of air and butter – and in the oven, the butter melts. This creates a delightfully rich, but light-as-a-feather, loaf.
There are two types of sugar used in this bread that are less-than-common here in the states: Nib (or pearl) sugar, and caster (or superfine) sugar.
(Nib (pearl) sugar and Caster (superfine) sugar)