Sugary and crunchy, cinnamon flavoured, guilt-free sized bites of indulgent puff pastry. It’s easy, delicious and uses up products that might otherwise go to waste.
I’ll be honest – this is a recipe made from offcuts of puff pastry (puffcuts?). It’s all due to my obsessive reluctance to chuck out even smallest scraps of dough, pastry – food, in a nutshell.
No obsessions are completely healthy and an obsessive person isn’t usually pleasant to be around, but this is one obsession I positively cultivate rather than suppress. Arranging forks in the drawer so the tines all face down – I admit it is a bit over the top. Counting strawberries when I top and tail them – harmless but thoroughly silly. And the odd number of socks coming out of the washing machine distresses me quite inordinately. There certainly are grounds to call me mildly anal.
Wasting food is a crime
But wasting food is, with no exaggeration, a global cataclysm so I pat myself on the head for working and posting this recipe. It might be silly, trivial and small scale, but once you learn how to use up scraps of pastry, you’ll be less likely to bin good food only because it’s a day past the use-by date.
I do detest those use-by labels with passion. I understand that retailers and producers err on the side of super-cautious, lest they be taken to court charged with attempted poisoning. But there is a label and there is common sense, and my heart breaks when I see and read about tonnes of food that end in the landfill, a lot of it never unwrapped.
I should understand it: I can’t bring myself to bin leftovers while somebody else has a fear of food poisoning and won’t risk eating less than perfect produce or cut mould off cheese. But a pandemic of icky tummy isn’t as frightening as three quarters of the world starving. Which could be easily staved off if we didn’t waste so terribly much.
Thrifty pastry habits
Back to my pastry habits: when I make scones there’s always a ’prestige’ shaped from the offcuts. When I make biscuits, there always a couple of completely misshapen, end ones. I stash a ball of dough too small for a pizza in the freezer for a future lunchtime tart. And I despair how puff pastry sheets are always slightly too large for two sausage rolls but not big enough for three.
So here’s my astonishingly thrifty snack, easy to make by a semi-skilled toddler. The puff pastry can be homemade, the rough puff which I recently discovered, or shop-bought ready rolled – no matter which, there will always be offcuts. If it’s a shapely rectangle, proceed as per recipe below but even if it’s a tangle of empty post-biscuit strips, you can use them as they are.
How to make the cinnamon sugar bites
Simply brush the pastry with egg white – and that’s another thing I scrupulously save and store in freezer bags – and sprinkle with coarse sugar flavoured with your favourite spice. I love cinnamon so it features here but cardamom, vanilla, lavender or citrus zest will serve the purpose as beautifully.
Once the pastry is generously sprinkled, cut or snip or tear it into tiny little bites, sit them sugared side up on the parchment, chill in the fridge for at least half an hour and bake.
It’s an absolutely great by-product. These bites were made on the occasion of puff pastry straws and you know? They were gone mega-quicker than the straws themselves.