Please note: This post was created in collaboration with Chase Freedom Unlimited. All opinions, images and content are my own.

I took on one of my hardest projects yet in my most recent bake for my “be a better baker challenge” in collaboration with my friends at Chase Freedom Unlimited! Croissants have been on my to-bake list for ages; they’re one of my favorite French pastries but have always felt way too challenging to manage making at home. I started to feel a bit more confident after some of my bread baking and pretzel-making experiments, and a laminated dough felt like the most logical next step to continue to challenge myself.And what a challenge it was! Making croissants is no joke – it’s probably one of the hardest recipes I’ve ever tackled. I started, like I’ve done with most recipes, doing tons of research into different methods and techniques to get a handle on where to start. One of the big takeaways I learned from a few croissant recipes I read was that a silicon baking mat would be key to success, so I ordered one up with my Chase Freedom Unlimited card (which allows me to earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, so I’m always earning!). I also used my cash back credit card to gather ingredients, which was essentially a shopping list of butter, butter, and more butter.

I landed on a recipe from the King Arthur Flour cookbook I bought with my Chase Freedom Unlimited card for the challenge last month, and leaned on a few baking blogs for tips and tricks. This was the first time in the baking challenge where I was more than intimidated by the directions – even though I followed them very closely, things didn’t turn out exactly the way I expected. The croissants came out delightfully edible and tasty, but didn’t quite have the fluffy, flakey layers that I was aiming for. As I nibbled on my not-so-perfect croissants I dug back into the recipe to see where I went wrong, and I think my butter and dough was never quite cold enough (baking in warm early fall weather has its challenges!). But like any learning experience, I am striving for progress– just like how I’m Always Earning with my cash back credit card, which helps me feel like I’m making progress no matter how challenging the recipe is! Attempting them in the first place was a big stride for me, and I totally ate several of the buttery little treats despite their imperfections.