Please Don’t Tell Anyone I Made Croissants for Afternoon Tea

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Say that word to me and I will think of Jasmine tea and yum cha. Two things I grew up with in New York.

But when spoken at my in-laws in Scotland, it usually means dinner (like that meal you have after lunch. Lunch being the meal one would have around noon in case there is any ambiguity). This was confusing to me for a while. I think it still is. When I’m asked, “Would you like some tea?” sometimes I’m not sure if I’m being asked if I would like a cup of hot tea or if I’d like to have dinner that night. I’d hate to miss out on a meal so saying “yes” usually covers all the bases.

But then there’s also “high tea” like tea at the Burj Al Arab where you have scones with clotted cream, mini sandwiches, beef Wellington, pastries, oh and of course tea…or coffee…at tea. However, this “high tea” is in actuality a “low tea” because traditionally it was served on a low table.

Confused yet? Yeah, me too. Thank you Wiki for clearing things up.

I was recently invited to my friend Milly’s place for “afternoon tea”. It was very kind of her to put the “afternoon” in her text message otherwise…

When I accepted the invitation, I had my mind on the current month’s Daring Baker’s challenge which was to make croissants. It seemed like a perfect opportunity even though the really long croissant-making instructions and prep time were intimidating. After all the effort, what if it turned out awful and I had to throw out the whole batch?

It’s certainly not like a quickbread that can be whisked up in a jiffy. But I was going to try it – especially since I felt guilty for having chickened out on the previous baking challenges (making fraisiers and candy).

The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

There was a lot of rolling and folding, and putting the dough in the fridge, then taking it back out, rolling, folding, into the fridge, out of fridge, and repeat, and repeat.

The instructions came with measurements of how wide and how long the dough had to be pressed or rolled out – since it was the first time I was making croissants, I wanted to do it right and used a ruler.

I think it took me 1.5 days from start to finish because of all the multiple rising times.

croissant pastry

Using a rolling pin should seem easy right? Well, I can’t seem to roll with the proper pressure and my dough often came out lopsided. I thought that a smaller rolling pin would make things easier.

It didn’t.

Cutting the croissant pastry dough

I didn’t know I was supposed to place the croissants seam-side down. Maybe I should have watched Julia Child’s excellent how-to video before I made them instead of after. But you see, sometimes I eschew being perfect (joke) so every now and then I just wing it.

So my croissants didn’t come out perfect (*shrugs*). I had fun making them even though it seemed to take FOREVER.

They look kind of okay right?

But wait!


The very first croissant that I shaped and rolled went all rogue on me:

rogue croissant

And my last croissant didn’t resemble one at all:

from croissant to pain au chocolat

I felt bad for the little guy so I threw in some Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips and hoped that it would turn out like a pain au chocolat. And it actually did! It was scrumptious and I may have to throw in more chocolate chips for the next time.

Milly made Death by Chocolate brownies with glitter. Can you see the irridescence?


brownies and tea

Okay, how about now?

Iridescent Brownies

How did the croissants turn out?

The first batch were burnt and overcooked and set off the fire alarm in the kitchen. We had to open the balcony door to let the smoke out. Just as we were doing that, the doorbell rang. It was building security checking to see if we were burning the place down. Man, he was fast.

Needless to say, there was not much fluffiness going on in that batch. The croissants were slightly hard and over-crunchy.

Now I see why the seam has to be rolled onto the bottom of the croissant – so the tips don’t unroll and look like burnt cranes (the bird, not the thing that builds Dubai). Or burnt pterodactyls.

croissants first batch

Ah! A glass of white wine to ease the pain of the funny-looking croissants. More essential than tea or coffee, in my opinion.


And ever since my Burj Al Arab “high tea” experience, I feel that no British tea would be complete without scones (I’d never had one before then).

These scones were homemade by Milly’s husband and were much better than my croissants:

Scones for Tea

Served with clotted cream, jam, and smiles.

Eating Scone

The second batch of croissants were better, not perfect, but better. Although anything is better than burnt. They were even fluffy on the inside. Not very fluffy but more than I thought they would be.

Check out those swirls – woohoo!

Fluffy Croissants

I am very pleased with my first effort at making croissants. And big thanks to Milly and her husband J for having Scotch, Wee Scotch, and I over for afternoon tea where we even stayed for tea (remember that big meal after lunch? Or supper as they call it).

But please don’t tell anyone I made croissants because I’d hate for people to think that I’m all domesticated now. Which I’m not because I refuse to perform task #57 in the list of Things-You-Must-Be-Able-To-Do-Well-To-Be-Considered-Domesticated which is iron. As in, clothes.

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  1. amazing post…was soo funny!!! Hilarious post, your sense of humor is so catching. It makes me feel I was right there with you in that kitchen.

  2. Haha I love yum cha, but I also love high/low tea. I also love the fact that you shared your imperfect croissants with us and not just the perfect ones. They look delicious – all of them really.

  3. You know lady, I love croissants so much that I bet I could have even the most burnt of 'em all. Dipped in a cup of cappuccino, and they'd be gold. That long crazy one on the left is my favorite, people need to switch up the shapes of their croissants every now and again so I consider yours as being creative. 😉

  4. I tried to make some croissants once from some ready rolled dough from a tin but even they didn't come out looking quite right- imagine!

    And I am totally on board with you about task#57- cannot iron, will not iron! 🙂

  5. hahha! loved the post. I think I have learnt to accept the fact that baking is not for me, i do try sometimes and instead of seeing 1 rogue croissant, I can assure you mine will have a dozen of them.

  6. Hilarious post, your sense of humor is so catching. It makes me feel I was right there with you in that kitchen. Keep 'em coming!

  7. Bravo for scones – no tea is complete without them…you are so right. Well done for making croissants. I think it is still too hot to make them even with the ac on full blast! PS I won't tell anyone 🙂

  8. amazing post…was soo funny!!! Congrats on the effort and the swirls looks perfect!!! I liked the table mat behind the croissants.. so pretty, compliments the food!

  9. haha ! this is exactly how i feel when i make ANYTHING ! "wait, this doesn't look anything like the picture", and then an hour later "What am i doing WRONG ! *sob*"

  10. What a hilarious post. This is teh exact reason why I shy away from making croissants. Way too much hard work. But regardless, yours have beautiful swirls and you obviously had fun. The only thing missing from this post is wee scotch stuffing one in his mouth :0

    1. haha – I totally forgot to take photos of Wee Scotch eating the croissants that day. But Radia has promised me her croissant recipe so there may be a second chance…

  11. hahahaha!!!! What a great post!!! i laughed so much! I don´t think i will ever have the patience to do my own croissants!!! I´m very impressed they lookk great and i learned sooo much about TEA!