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March Kitchen Challenge: Croissants

Kitchen Challenge March 2013It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone, as is true of many areas of life, including in the kitchen. It’s easy to think that trying new and difficult things is setting yourself up for failure. It’s easy to stick with what you know and increase your chances of success.

But sometimes the easy way is not the most rewarding.

I’ve decided I need to force myself out of my bubble, make myself tackle things that have intimidated me for years.

Scary, complex, temperamental recipes: I’m going to face them head on.

And I’m going to document it all right here, failures and all.

First up: CROISSANTS. I think I’ll follow the thorough instructions from Cooks Illustrated, which you can view here.

The Challenges:
– Finding the right butter. European style. Hello $$$. Better start saving my pennies now.
– Finding the time. CI says good croissants take about 10 hours from start to finish.
– Finding the muscles. I guess making croissants could basically be called an arm workout, right? I’ll take that over the gym any day.
– Finding the chocolate. Because you know I won’t be satisfied with just plain croissants. Or, ooh! Almond!

Who’s with me?

If you’re up for the challenge, whip up some croissants of your own by March 20th. Send me a photo if you want to. I’ll document my experience and also share the images/links to those who’ve taken the challenge as well. If it goes well we’ll make it a monthly thing.

Let’s do this!

Tell me, what else is on your culinary bucket list that you’ve been too timid to tackle?

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59 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Eeeeeee I should totally do this with you!

    Reply

    • Posted On March 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Yes, yes you should. :)

  2. 2
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I am ALL over this! It has been a LONG time since I have made croissants. Thanks Lindsay!!

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I made croissants about a month ago for the first time!! It had been on my bucket list too. Awesome project!!

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Hmmm, croissants are on my to-try list, so this might be just the inspiration I need to actually do it. Count me (tentatively) in for now! =)

    Reply

  5. 5
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Omg girl! I made them from scratch a few years ago! I followed the recipe and techniques from “Baking” by James Peterson and it took three days (I lived next to my egg timer). I’m sure you’ll find a much easier way. They were the yummiest thing ever and I even stuffed some with chocolate!

    Reply

  6. 6
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Better you than me :) I did just tackle baklava last month and overnight buttermilk cinnamon rolls. I’ll let you handle croissants! They sound amazing and C.I. is always a trusted source!

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I was just looking at a few croissant recipes today and decided I should try them out! I was inspired by a picture of some chocolate croissants I saw. I will have a go at them before the end of the month. Good luck with yours!

    Reply

  8. 8
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    You’re a brave woman. The last time I tried to tackle a layered dough I made danishes, it seriously took hours. Of course the end result was 100% worth it but I’m not sure I’d ever do it again.

    I’m a croissant cheater, I love the little cocktail sized ones at Sam’s Club.

    Reply

    • Posted On March 1, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      P.S. I was at the store tonight and actually found the European Style butter, it wasn’t terribly expensive. $3.69 for 8 ounces.

  9. 9
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Awesome idea, Lindsay. Croissants have been on my list for so long. Now is a better time than any!

    Reply

  10. 10
    Jessica
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I’m gonna do it! I have been trying to work up the courage to try for loooong time, I’m afraid that they take sooooo long. Macarons are next on my list.

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    These are on my bucket list…but with a toddler and a newborn, I might have issues with the “finding the time” bullet. Tempted though…. ;)

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Croissants have been on my to do list for years. I’ve been gathering my notes and planned to do this soon so hopefully I can make them by March 20th to share on your blog and mine. Chocolate is my favorite as well!

    Reply

  13. 13
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    I’ve added your challenge to The Food Blog Diary. Hope you get lots of entries :)

    Reply

  14. 14
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I was just thinking of attempting croissants. I’m afraid of dough so it could be disastrous, but now it looks like I’ll have to take the leap!

    Reply

  15. 15
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Fun! I’m up for the challenge and what happens, happens!

    Reply

  16. 16
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make these!! Yum!

    Reply

  17. 17
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    This is totally the push I need to make some croissants! They’ve been in the back of my mind for months!

    Reply

  18. 18
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Oh my gosh, I have been trying to phsych myself up for croissant dough for forever, this is just the motivation I need!

    Reply

  19. 19
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Sounds like a ton of fun. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to participate in this round but it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out and what you choose in the future!

    Reply

  20. 20
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Lindsay, they have been on my “to do” list for years. I made them from scratch years ago, but haven’t tried them since. In Italy we call them brioche, and I will gladly sign up for the challenge as I’d love to make them hot and fresh for our farmhouse guests.

    Reply

    • Auntie Sally
      Posted On March 1, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Deborah, where’s the farmhouse?

  21. 21
    Auntie Sally
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Wouldn’t it just be easier to go to Paris???? ;-)

    OK, I’ll try the ones from the Tartine cookbook.
    Let you know how they come out.

    Reply

  22. 22
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Autie Sally, our farmhouse is in Umbria, Italy. http://www.umbrian-farmhouse.com Lindsay designed the website!

    Reply

  23. 23
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    I love croissants and always wanted to try making it. I “might” this time :D

    Reply

  24. 24
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Love them.. and they were on my kitchen bucket list and I tackle them last year.. post is here (with a good link to a good recipe and instructions): http://www.sweetbitesblog.com/journal/2012/2/28/gcc-croissant.html

    But I may give them another spin!

    mmm.. I have the following still there to make: french macaroons, I know, I know.. they are passee.. but I need to give them a go!
    Bake Alaska, Smörgåstårta (Sandwich Cake) and a very, very complicated cake, making each component from scratch (fondant, I’m looking at you!).

    Reply

  25. 25
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    I LOVE this challenge! I ate so many croissants growing up…my mom had an obsession with this bakery by my house and would always come home with a dozen at a time. Thanks for opening up the challenge to others! Fortunately I make my own puff pastry from scratch all the time and I know they are similar, so I’m not crazy scared, just a little ;)

    Reply

  26. 26
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I’ve been wanting to tackle different types of sauces to serve over meat. I never think about it until the meat is done and we’re at the table and I feel like something is missing. Sauces would be my thing to tackle for sure.

    Reply

  27. 27
    Posted On March 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    I love this idea Lindsay! Not sure if I can participate this time but I’ll be following along for sure. Next up- macarons? Complicated layer cakes? I’m in the process of making my own baking bucket list so this is a great push. I’m headed to Paris in two weeks so I can compare how good mine are in comparison (…) :)

    Reply

    • Posted On March 1, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Ooh and creme brulee? I’ve always wanted to make it.

  28. 28
    Posted On March 2, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I made croissants for the first time recently, but I did cheat slightly and used my breadmaker to make the dough!
    http://www.carolinemakes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/chocolate-croissants-or-pain-au-chocolat.html

    Reply

  29. 29
    Posted On March 2, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Oh I think I need to join you in this. I have been crossing things that scared me off my list lately, but croissants still kind of scare me to death. This could be a project for next weekend. (Besides making the croissants, I need to recruit a few friends to help eating the croissants. I cant be trusted with a whole backing sheet full of freshly baked, warm croissants)

    Reply

  30. 30
    Posted On March 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I have an unfair advantage because I make croissants a lot and I can tell you, there’s nothing like a fresh one. I learned at the CIA and once the intimidation of working with laminate dough is accomplished, your family will love you! I’ll join in, for sure, XOXO

    Reply

  31. 31
    Posted On March 2, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I’m in! I love croissant, but I was afraid to make them. I’m going to give them a go and see how they turn out. Crossing fingers!! What a great challenge! I love it!

    Reply

  32. 32
    Jessica R
    Posted On March 2, 2013 at 11:01 am

    wow, what a great challenge! Croissants have been on my “baking bucket list” for the longest time now along with a few other things. I hope I can make them before the 20th to share with you on your blog.

    Reply

  33. 33
    Posted On March 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Croissants have been one of those that I have always said I wanted to try and you now gave me a date to try them by. Challenge accepted and I will let you know how it goes.

    Reply

  34. 34
    Posted On March 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Trader Joe’s and other places carry the Kerry Gold butter which works well. I love that most of the croissant recipes “require” you to make pain au chocolat, too. :D

    Reply

  35. 35
    Danielle Freitas
    Posted On March 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Ok this a challenge!
    I have been following you for a very long time, trying tons of recipes that you post, but …….. croissant it’s my passion and living fair away from Europe and a good bakery have been difficult! If you can find a good recipe, I’m telling you, I will follow you forever!!!
    :)

    Reply

  36. 36
    Rosey
    Posted On March 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I haven’t had croissants since I developed an intolerance to cows’ milk. However, the health food store near my house has raw goat milk and goat butter. I’m in!

    Reply

  37. 37
    Posted On March 3, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    My husband is OBSESSED with croissants! I’m so in :)

    Reply

  38. 38
    Posted On March 3, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    I’m definitely in for this, I’ve wanted to try making croissants for a long time. Another item on my baking bucket list is Julia Child’s French Bread Recipe.

    Reply

  39. 39
    Liz
    Posted On March 4, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Kerry Gold is the greatest butter to be sold commercially. Very worth the money

    Reply

  40. 40
    Posted On March 4, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Oh man…I really want to do this with you but I am a huge scaredy cat!

    Reply

  41. 41
    Shellie
    Posted On March 4, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Croissants have been on my list for a while. I am going to try the recipe from the Standard Baking Company book since they are the best I’ve ever had. Just trying plain ones first.

    Reply

  42. 42
    Kristen Paige Gathany
    Posted On March 4, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I think the kitchen challenge idea is awesome!! I can’t wait to follow your progress. My current to-do challenge is eclairs – well pate a choux in general I suppose. I tried once and ended up with what looked like deflated long john donuts. So that’s my vote for the next challenge if this continues as a series!!

    Reply

  43. 43
    Posted On March 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Such a fun idea! I cannot wait to see the end product. :-)

    Reply

  44. 44
    Posted On March 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Omg this monthly challenge thing is a BRILLIANT idea!! I totally want in on the croissant challenge – it sounds exciting and terrifying at the same time :D

    I’m also intimidated by the thought of making homemade pasta, souffles, baking anything with yeast, cooking huge cuts of meat (turkey, lamb, chicken, duck), and………stuff that might seem easy but I’ve just never done like making homemade ice cream, making custards, pretty much anything requiring the use of a double boiler, and maybe even the thought of making something using a bain marie. There’s probably more, but those were the highlights.

    Reply

  45. 45
    Posted On March 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I would so fail at this.. but I’ll try once baby doesn’t consume all of my time eep! :)

    Reply

  46. 46
    Posted On March 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    If you would like, you could visit our Tuesdays with Dorie Baking Group Blog. Croissants are the recipe of the day – http://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/lyl-croissants/
    The ones I made – http://ovenchaos.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/croissants/

    Reply

  47. 47
    Posted On March 5, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I love this idea. I’ve been looking for a reason to take the leap into making croissants and I think this is it!

    Reply

  48. 48
    Posted On March 5, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Surprisingly, croissants are not as difficult to make as they are made out to be. It is just time consuming and I think people give up when they’re waiting and that’s when disaster strikes! Good luck, I can’t wait to read about it!

    Reply

  49. 49
    Shellie
    Posted On March 10, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Made mine yesterday(started the dough Friday night). I think they turned out great for my firt attempt. I agree that they aren’t as hard as people think, just several steps and lots of waiting time.

    Reply

  50. 50
    Posted On March 13, 2013 at 2:29 am

    Love the idea! So we basically make this, document it in a post and send it to you along with the pictures? Also, does the recipe have to be The Cooks Illustrated one?

    Reply

    • Posted On March 13, 2013 at 7:21 am

      Sure, or you can just send a photo too. And use whatever recipe you’d like, the CI one was just my reference and the one I used myself. :)

  51. 51
    Posted On March 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I made it a few weeks ago. I have to confess that the most difficult and time consuming it was to make the dough. But it also did plenty of “ynhumy” croissants. :P

    You can see them here:

    http://sweetaffair.pt/post/44559789656/croissants-feitinhos-em-casa-more-a

    Reply

  52. 52
    Troy DeRego
    Posted On March 14, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Great challenge idea. I had the same thought and then came across your blog!

    Here are the results. I used a recipe from Peter Reinhart’s _Artisan Bread Every Day_. Came out great!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/troyderego/8556240367/in/photostream

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/troyderego/8556240367/in/photostream

    Reply

  53. 53
    Clara
    Posted On March 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Hi Lindsey

    My friend and I accepted your challenge and made croissants this weekend. It took a VERY long time to make the dough, but they turned out great! Even my dad gave them a thumbs up (and he is a hard man to please when it comes to desserts!). I thought they would crash and burn since that is what usually happens when I attempt a new type of dough for the first time, but surprisingly enough it all worked out great!!!

    I took some photos of our successful croissants but I don’t know how to send them to you….

    I can’t wait until the next challenge!!! The future challenges I have for myself are eclairs and macarons.

    Thanks so much for all of your recipes the look amazing,
    Clara

    Reply

  54. 54
    Posted On March 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I wish I had paid attention to this sooner! I’ll have to keep an eye out for next month’s challenge. I’ve never made croissants from scratch before, and it definitely intimidates me. But I bet it’s worth it!

    Reply

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