Love and Olive Oil

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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  1. 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?

    • 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. :)

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

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

  5. If you would like, you could visit our Tuesdays with Dorie Baking Group Blog. Croissants are the recipe of the day –
    The ones I made –

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

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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!!

  10. 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.

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

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

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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!!!

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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

  22. 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)

  23. I made croissants for the first time recently, but I did cheat slightly and used my breadmaker to make the dough!

  24. 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 (…) :)

  25. 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.

  26. 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 ;)

  27. 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):

    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!).

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

  29. Autie Sally, our farmhouse is in Umbria, Italy. Lindsay designed the website!

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

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

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

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

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

  37. 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!

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

  39. 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!

  40. 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…. ;)

  41. 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.

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

  43. 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.

    • 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.

  44. 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!

  45. 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!

  46. 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!

  47. 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! =)

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

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

  50. Eeeeeee I should totally do this with you!

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