What is a Kouign Amann? (And how the heck do you pronounce it??)

Kouign Amanns are a simple yet insanely delicious pastry. These crusty, round cakes have been known to cause stampedes among our guests at the B&B. There’s something very appealing about the crackly, caramelized exterior that gives way to a surprisingly light center. And the simplicity of the flavor, which is derived from butter and sugar (LOTS of butter and sugar!) is truly delightful. I could take a bath in it!

Kouign-Amanns

For me, Kouign Amanns are a perfect example of one of life’s simple pleasures. I make many other desserts and pastries that are more elaborate, with complex ingredients and precise presentations. And don’t get me wrong, those elaborate desserts are a lot of fun to create and share with people. But when it comes to simple pleasures, nothing beats a Kouign Amann. A cup of coffee, a Kouign Amann, and a few minutes of solitude has me feeling like…

So what exactly is a Kouign Amann? Kouign Amanns are made using bread dough with layers of butter and sugar folded in. As the cake bakes, the butter permeates the dough and puffs it up. The sugar becomes caramelized, creating that great crusty texture on the outside of the cake.

kouigns

Over time, I’ve perfected this simple recipe to create a Kouign Amann with a center that is lighter and moister than is typical. But sorry folks, that little trick is one I’m going to keep secret!

But I will tell you how to pronounce “Kouign Amann.” It’s basically pronounced like “Queen Ah-Mahn.” The translation of “Kouign Amann” is “Cake Butter,” which is pretty appropriate. The origin of the name is Breton, which was a Celtic-based language spoken in the Brittany region of France during the Middle Ages.

So there you have it… A linguistics lesson and a bit of information about one of my absolute favorite things to bake. Just call me the #KingofKouigns!

Chef Steve Konopelski

P.S. For those of you who live near Denton, Maryland, you can order Kouign Amanns for local pickup.

 

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