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March Kitchen Challenge Results: Croissants

March Kitchen Challenge: Homemade Croissants

Mission, Croissants: Accomplished. What fun! And not nearly as difficult as I expected! Time consuming, yes, but actual level of difficulty was surprising in its straightforward simplicity. And the result is pure satisfaction as you dig in to your first warm croissant, in all its buttery, flaky glory.

Making Homemade Croissants

I am not going to re-print the recipe here as Cooks’ Illustrated did such a wonderful job of including detailed information and step-by-step photos, you’d be much better off following the recipe directly.

But I will share a few things I learned:

  • Mind your temperature. Don’t even attempt these if it’s warmer than 75 degrees in your kitchen. Like Cat discovered, your croissants will melt into buttery puddles.
  • Grab your ruler. Yes, I am suggesting you bake with a ruler by your side. The Cooks’ Illustrated recipe is very specific about measurements, and I found if you are accurate in your rolling and cutting, your croissants will be perfectly proportioned.
  • High protein flour. I didn’t buy anything special here, instead I just mixed 1/2 cup of bread flour to 3 3/4 cups regular all-purpose. The bread flour ups the protein content, promoting better gluten formation and preventing the dough from tearing.
  • Freeze ’em. 22 croissants is a lot, and considering they are best right out of the oven, you probably don’t want to bake them all at once. I baked about 8, and the rest I arranged on baking sheets and put in the freezer for a few hours. After they are frozen solid, simply bag ’em and tag ’em. To bake, just arrange on baking sheets and let proof according to your recipe, adding about 2 hours to the total proofing time.
  • Almond paste. I made a few almond croissants in addition to the regular ones. I simply rolled a small log of almond paste into the croissant. While it didn’t quite ‘melt’ into the pastry like I felt like it should have, it still added a nice almond flavor.
Making Homemade Croissants

How else are you supposed to cover tightly with plastic wrap while not letting the plastic touch the dough? Why yes, those are shot glasses, thanks for asking. Am I the only one who feels like plastic wrap never sticks to anything but itself? I was about ready to throw it through the window by this point.

Homemade Croissants Recipe

In this case, the light at the end of the tunnel, the reward for a job well done is a pillow of flaky pastry layers, crisp and buttery and golden brown and delicious. That’s one of the things I love most about baking. Granted, it takes 24 hours of work to create something that takes 2 seconds to devour, but that’s beside the point. It is still so totally worth it.

You know what else makes me happy? That so many of you took this challenge along with me! I am so impressed with your gorgeous croissants, your lovely layers, your golden brown beauties.

What’s next? Stay tuned, I’ll be announcing the April Kitchen Challenge theme on April 1st (no joke). But tell me, what’s on your baking bucket list that you’d like to see featured in a future Kitchen Challenge? I know I have a few ideas but I want to hear yours too!

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  1. Hiya these look great but the link to the recipe doesn’t work. Does anyone have the recipe at all?

  2. What no cronuts? ;)

  3. Did anyone happen to print the recipe from CI before their website went to Member’s Only, and be willing to email it to me? I successfully baked my first ever batch of croissants using the recommendations here and their recipe a couple weeks ago and loved them, but now I can’t get back in so that I can bake more :/ I’d be much obliged!

  4. They look great. Homemade croissants are one of the best baked goods ever. Unfortunately, just plain almond paste won’t make an almond croissant. You need a frangipane mixture, simple syrup and day old croissants. Cut the croissants almost in half, dunk in the hottest simple syrup you can stand (i usually wear a few layers of latex gloves), fill with frangipane (i make mine with some pastry cream added in – really makes it nice and fluffy), close the croissant and add a dollop of frangipane on top. Some people add slivered almonds, but I don’t because they have a tendency to burn. Once baked and cooled, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy. Let me know if you want my recipe for everything!

  5. I just learned so much from your process. Croissants have been on my bucket list so long so I will have to pin this for when I get brave enough. Plastic is a pain. I love how you placed the glasses on the sheet. I dampen my finger and run it around the edge of the pan before I try to get it to stick. This seems to help.

  6. Oh my! these all look lovely. So much flaky, tasty goodness :)

  7. That is one beautiful collection or should I say “gallery” of lusciousness. I wish I had a few of these right now.

  8. These look amazing! wish I’d seen this post earlier! Might still try and make them anyway, well done!

  9. Well. Looks like I have no more excuses to be afraid of making croissants at home. I wonder how Colorado’s dry air will affect them…

  10. Great job on the croissants! And everyone else too!

  11. So gorgeous! These croissants look heavenly. Great job on them! Everyone else’s are lovely, too.

  12. Deeeeuuuuum!

  13. first, I love getting all MacGyver in the kitchen, so that third picture really made me laugh!

    second, can’t wait to participate in April’s challenge!

    third, these look gorgeous!

    finally, Baklava would be on my bucket list! tried it once and failed miserably, but I know I can {eventually} get it right :)

  14. You have the best ideas :) I really wanted to do this kitchen challenge but I was too weak to step up to the plate. I will have to do this at some point in my cooking life! I can’t wait to see what challenge you have on April 1st :)

  15. I’ve never tried to make croissants, but those look pretty to easy to bake. I’ll have to give them a shot on Sunday – the perfect breakfast!

  16. The croissants look great! Because of the amount of work they take, I made them only once 2 years back and never again. Ever since then bought croissants from Kroger & Costco instead. :-/

    By the way, love that idea of using glasses. Can apply this idea to so many other things now! Thanks for sharing :)

  17. Great challenge…cant wait to poke around in April to see whats happening over here….cheers!

  18. Those look like they belong in a paris cafe! WOW, I want one!

  19. Croissants are on my 2013 to do list! How great you accomplished your challenge :) And all those people along with you. I enjoyed reading your comments about making them and they look picture perfect golden brown!!

  20. Thanks for doing this Lindsay. It was so much fun. I would love to try macaroons!

  21. I made my own croissants some time ago and I totally agree, it’s not as difficult as it seems to be :) great work!

  22. Your croissants look so gorgeous!

  23. UAU!!!
    They look absolutely stunning and so moreish!!

  24. I made them too, but completely forgot to send in my pictures! Oh well, they turned out great along with everyone else’s. I love the idea of the monthly kitchen challenges.

  25. I had such good intentions to do this! It’s still on my list. Glad to hear it’s not too difficult. Your’s look amazing!

    Maybe chouquettes or soufflés for future challenges!

  26. I wish I had seen this challenge sooner, I totally would have participated! That won’t stop me from trying this recipe soon though, I’ve been wanting to tackle croissants ever since I saw Meryl Streep make them in “It’s Complicated”.

    Can’t wait to see your next challenge and try that one though. I’ve always been intimidated by souffles and macarons. Why is it the French food that’s always so complicated? Croissants included.


  27. WOW…these look amazing! My hubby is a big fan of almond croisants; I’m sure these would make his day! Inspiring to see so many folks participating. My personal challenge would be Baklava. I’ve always found phyllo dough difficult to work with, so tend to ovoid it!

  28. Wow, the croissants look amazing! Thanks for your very inspiring post! Isn’t it funny how the ratio of bake/cook to eat/devour time is always highest when it comes to such scrumptious treats?

  29. omg! yum there is nothing you can’t do these are amazing looking. we call these rugelach I love the cinnamon ones! must try your recipe!

  30. This looks like an awesome challenge. I don’t think it’s something I can take on, myself. Croissants have always intimidated me. I’d rather buy mine from a good bakery. I think you’re marvelous for taking this challenge on!

  31. Thanks for the report and post about how these went for you! And it’s AMAZING that so many people joined in and seeing all those images is just so rewarding and cool that they DID it; not just talk about doing it. I should take a cue there :)

  32. These look so perfect that I’m tempted to try making them myself! I do believe that it’s always worth paying someone else $2 to bake you a croissant, though. :)

  33. Awesome challenge! I applaud you all!

  34. So many beautiful croissants! Thanks so much for including mine in this roundup!

  35. Thanks for the wonderful challenge! I also froze some of mine- I’m thinking of using them in a bread pudding for Easter!
    I buy the industrial sized rolls of plastic wrap. Yes, it does still stick to itself, but it’s much easier to handle!

  36. what a great idea. I love a challenge and am in for your April one – whatever it may be.

  37. I love seeing how everyone’s turned out!

  38. Yay they look awesome! I totally agree, they are no where near as difficult as I anticipated – just time consuming! Yours look flawless!

  39. I L-O-V-E this idea! And it looks like everyone’s turned out fabulously! (thank goodness–right?)

    Macarons are on my personal challenge list, and French bread :)

  40. Ughh, I really wanted to do this challenge but time was agaibst me :( yours and everyone else’s turned out really good! What’s the next challenge?

  41. Oh can’t believe this date came so quickly. I wanted to make these. I guess I will have to post mine when I finally do make them.

    These all look so wonderful , Wish I could have one with breakfast this morning.

  42. WOW! These croissants look absolutely perfect! :)

  43. I’ve been always afraid of making croissants from scratch, it looks so difficult! The results are amazing, though!
    I totally agree with you about plastic wrap!

  44. Wow! Those look great. :) Souffles are on my baking bucket list for this year!

  45. Oh boy. So much goodness here!

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