Monday, October 03, 2011

Pain au chocolat

Hi everyone!  In the last few days the weather has gotten considerably cooler and rainy.  So after I watched my favorite football team play yesterday (Go Steelers!), I decided that I would bake something.  I always have a long list in my mind of things that I would like to try.  However, I decided on a tried and true favorite...  Chocolate croissants!! 

My love for them started in Culinary school.  The first class that I took was a bread class. I thought chocolate croissants would come later in my breakfast and pastries class.  Nope!  Much to my surprise, I was making these delicious little treats only a few weeks into school.  Every 2 month cycle (that is how long each class would last), I would go back to the breads instructor and he would give me a chocolate croissant from his demo batch.  Yum!  I was hooked!  

So when my sister gave me this book... 

Pastry: Savory and Sweet

and I found that there was a recipe for them, I had to try it!  Now this book has tons of good recipes for all things with pastry.  Pies, savory tarts, puff pastry, brioche, croissants, pate a choux (cream puffs), pizza dough and more!  If you like all those things, you would really like this book!  

Anyways... back to the croissants!

Chocolate Croissants
1 oz fresh yeast  (this really is better than the instant yeast and you can find it in most grocery stores these days by the butter)
generous 1 cup whole milk
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. fine salt
1/4 sugar
1 1/4 cup butter, cold but not too hard
eggwash (beat 1 egg yolk with 1 tbsp milk)
Chocolate chips

  • Break the yeast up so it crumbles into a bowl.  Add the milk.  Let it sit for a minute or so and then mix with your fingers so the yeast dissolves.
  • Put the flour, salt and sugar into a mixer bowl.  Use a stand mixer with a dough hook.
  • Turn the mixer on low, gradually adding the yeast mixture.
  • Stop working the dough as soon as a nice ball forms and it does not stick to the sides of the bowl.  (If it is dry, slowly add a little bit of milk until it comes together.  If it is too wet, slowly add a little bit of flour.  You want it to form a ball, but not be too sticky to the touch.)

  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 75 degrees) for about 45 minutes to an hour.  It should double in size.  
  • Knock back the dough by flipping it over and letting the gases out, but do not over work the dough.  Do this gently.  
  • Cover the bowl and chill for 4 hours in the fridge.  Do not chill for more than 8 hours.  
  • Roll the dough out so it forms a long rectangle.  
  • Cut the butter in thin strips and place it in the center 1/3 of the dough.

  •  Fold one side over the butter.

  • Then fold the other 1/3 of dough on top of that.

  • First turn- turn the dough 90 degrees so that the next time you roll, you roll it in the opposite direction.  
  • Lightly flour the surface and roll out the dough just like you did the first time in a long rectangle.  
  • Fold in three.
  • Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

  • Second turn- give the dough a quarter turn, roll out to a rectangle, fold again, wrap and chill as you did for the first turn.
  • Third and final turn- roll the dough out in the opposite direction from the 2nd turn to a rectangle and fold as before.  Wrap in plastic and chill 30 minutes.  No more than 1 hour.
  • At this time, I cut the dough in half to make it easier to roll out.
  • Roll the dough out so that it is about 1/4 inch thick.
  • I cut mine into 10 even rectangles.

I usually like to use pain au chocolat sticks from King Arthur Flour, but I was out.  So I used whatever chocolate I had.  It happened to be these.  Love them!

  • I placed chocolate chips in the middle 1/3 of the dough.

  • Eggwash the bottom third of the dough.
  • Fold the top part over the chocolate, and then the bottom part with the eggwash.  This will help everything to stick together.

  • Flip them over so the seam side in down.
  • Press the edges together so no chocolate escapes during the baking process.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut a couple slits in the top so that steam can escape and they do not explode open in the oven.

  • Eggwash and proof in a warm place for 1-2 hours, so they can rise and double in size.
  • At this time, I turn the oven on to 350 degrees.  
  • Eggwash one last time before you put them in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.  You want to make sure they are a very golden brown!  There are many layers of flaky goodness in there and you want to make sure that all the layers have baked!  No one wants to eat a raw croissant!
  • Cool slightly and enjoy warm!

Look at all the flakiness! So yummy!

Now, I know this recipes takes time.  It can be intimidating the first time you try this.  But I promise, it is worth the wait and patience!  Store bought chocolate croissants do not even compare to these!  Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Happy baking!  :-)


  1. I love Pain au chocolate, I've been experimenting with them for the past few weeks, will try your recipe ( I just haven't been happy with the croissant recipes I've found so far) It's sad when the store bought puff pastry is almost good as a croissant you spent 10 hours making. Fingers crossed!

  2. Good luck! I have been making this recipe for awhile now, and everyone loves them! The do take time to make, so sometimes I make extra and then freeze them before you proof and bake them. Then, just let them defrost in the fridge overnight. Then, proof and bake as normal. It is nice to enjoy them even when I do not have all the time to prepare the dough.