Pains au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants)

Get fancy and make your own Chocolate Croissants with this easy to follow recipe.

pain-au-chocolat

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today we’re getting fancy with my all-time favorite French pastry. Last year I tackled a challenge I’d made for myself. Conquer the art of making croissants from scratch. After a massive fail I succeeded and was beyond excited to share the results with all of you. Now some of you might remember that I promised to update the post with some step by step pictures to make it easier to follow along. My original aim was to get ’em up by Christmas, but time just got away from me. But I didn’t forget ;).

pain-au-chocolat

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I couldn’t help but think that this was a great time to whip up chocolate croissants. I actually can’t imagine a better time, ha!

So follow along and let me show you how to pull off this French classic.

pain-au-chocolat

I started taking pictures after the dough had its final rising/chill time overnight in the refrigerator. I figured that looking at a ball or folded up piece of dough wouldn’t really be all that helpful. After rolling out the dough and cutting it into smaller rectangles, I simply placed pieces of dark chocolate onto each rectangle. About 1 ounce per rectangle.

Now if you were to make traditional croissants, you’d simply cut the rolled out dough into triangles and roll them up. You could also fill them with anything your heart pleases.

pain-au-chocolat

Here’s the first row. All the chocolate croissants are placed seam-side down onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Once you get to this stage you should give yourself a pat on the back. Homemade croissants are almost ready to be baked and gobbled up by you!

pain-au-chocolat

Here they are ready for their last rising time. At this point, you’ll want to keep yourself distracted and busy. The excitement and anticipation I feel knowing that these are hanging out in my house, makes me want to go and check on them every 5 minutes. Exactly what you’re not supposed to do. Just let them go and wait until they’d had their chance to almost double in size.

pain-au-chocolat

A couple minutes before they’re ready to meet the oven, I brushed them with an egg wash and off they went. Be prepared to have your home filled with the wonderful aroma of butter. Lots and lots of butter!

pain-au-chocolat

Hope you enjoy. Let me know if you have any questions!

Pains au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants)
Yields 14
Chocolate Croissants are a special treat for a very special occasion. You won't be able to stop eating these!
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For the Preferment
  1. 1/2 cup (6 oz) skim milk
  2. 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  3. 1 1/3 cups (6 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
For the Dough
  1. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  2. 1 3/4 cups (14 oz) whole milk
  3. 6 cups (28 oz) all-purpose flour
  4. 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  7. 14 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, more for drizzling
Roll-in Butter
  1. 2 3/4 cups (22 oz) unsalted butter, cold
Egg Wash
  1. 2 large egg yolks
  2. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  3. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. 1. Start by making the preferment (this is part of the dough with a batter-like consistency that slightly ferments and gives the croissants incredible flavor and aroma). In a medium saucepan, bring milk temperature up to 80-90 degrees F. It doesn’t have to be exact – you just want it to be slightly warm to the touch. Pour milk into a medium bowl and sprinkle with the yeast. Using a wooden spoon, stir until yeast is incorporated. Then stir in flour (dough will be sticky). Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, for 2-3 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).
  2. 2. Before you make the dough, make sure you have all your ingredients measured and ready to go. Place preferment into the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the dough attachment. Add yeast to the preferment and mix on low speed until fully incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stop mixer, scrape down sides (to make sure everything gets mixed and incorporated evenly). Turn speed to medium and mix for another couple of minutes. Slowly add half of the milk and mix until fully combined.
  3. Reduce speed to low and add flour, sugar, salt, melted butter, and the remaining milk, mix for 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and let dough rest for 15-20 minutes. Increase speed to low and mix until you have a smooth and elastic dough, no longer than 4 minutes (too much mixing will result in tough croissants). If the dough seems too firm, add another tablespoon at a time to loosen it up (I added a total of 2 tablespoons). Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a cool place to rise until doubled in size yet again, about 1 ½ hours.
  4. Flour your work surface. Turn dough out onto the surface and press into a rectangle, about 2 inches thick. Cover with plastic wrap and place dough into the fridge to chill for 4-6 hours.
  5. 3. An hour before the chilling time is over, place the cold butter into the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove from the bowl, form into a rectangle and cover with plastic wrap. Return to the fridge.
  6. 4. Now begin the laminating process (incorporating the butter into the dough). Lightly flour your work surface. Remove dough and butter from the fridge. Unwrap the dough, place onto the floured surface, and roll out into a rectangle, measuring 28x12 inched. The longer side of the rectangle should be facing you. Starting from the left side, break pieces of butter off the rectangle and spread and spot over 2/3 of the dough (leaving the right side without any butter). Make sure the butter stays as cold as possible, don’t touch it too much. Fold right side over the butter (to the center) and do the same with the left side, as if folding a business letter. Using your fingers, seal the seams.
  7. Give the dough a quarter turn (90 degrees). The seams should be on your right and left and not on the top and bottom as before. Roll out the dough one more time into a 28x12 inch rectangle and fold in the same way as above. Wrap in plastic wrap and place into the fridge for 2 hours.
  8. 5. For the final fold, dust your work surface one more time. Remove dough from the fridge, unwrap and roll into a 28x12 inch rectangle. Fold like a business letter one last time. You should have a rectangle, measuring roughly 9x12 inches and 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and place onto a cutting board. Put dough into the freezer for 1 hour. You can either move on with the next step right away or transfer the dough from the freezer to the fridge to chill overnight or until you need it the next day. The dough can be made ahead and kept in the freezer for 1 week.
  9. 6. Once you’re ready for the final step, flour your work surface one last time. Roll out the dough into a rectangle measuring 32x12 inches and 3/8 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 6-x-4-inch rectangles . You should end up with 14-16 rectangles.
  10. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1 ounce of chocolate onto the center of each rectangle. To shape each croissant, make sure the long side is facing you. Rolls up each one, making sure the chocolate stays in the center. Place the croissants seam side down with enough space onto the prepared baking sheets. Cover with clean kitchen towels and place croissants in a draft-free, cool place. Let rise until at least double in size, about 2-3 hours. Croissants are ready when they’re puffy and if you press a croissant with your fingertip, the indentation fills in slowly.
  11. 7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and make the egg wash. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients and using a pastry brush, brush each croissant with the egg wash. Let the wash dry slightly before baking, about 10 minutes. Place the croissants into the oven and immediately turn oven temperature down to 400 degrees F. Bake croissants for 10 minutes, then open the oven door, rotate sheet pan quickly 180 degrees to ensure the croissants bake evenly, and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Croissants should be deep golden brown, crisp on the outside, and feel light when picked up. Let croissants cool on wire racks and repeat with remaining croissants. Heat additional chocolate in a heatproof bowl and drizzle over croissants.
Notes
  1. Croissants are best when enjoyed while still slightly warm and on the same day. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days and reheated in a 375 degree oven for 6-8 minutes.
  2. The process of making croissants works best in a relatively cool kitchen. Anywhere from 68-72 degrees is perfect.
Adapted from tartine
Adapted from tartine
Deliciously Yum! http://deliciouslyyum.com/
pain-au-chocolat

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Comments

  1. So these pretty much look unreal in my book. Absolutely unreal! Wow!

  2. Wow, these are perfection!!!!

  3. These look so perfect! I’ve always wanted to make these (and then devour them!). I think you’ve inspired me!

  4. Hi Kathi,

    If I allow the preferment to rest in the refrigerator overnight, should I allow it to come to room temperature before I start to prepare the dough the next day?

    Thanks!

  5. Hi,
    I read your blog for a few weeks that I really appreciate.
    I am French and it is with pleasure that I see you like our “pains au chocolat”.
    This recipe is very “technical” and long, but the result is great!
    Yours look perfect to me!
    I hope to soon test a few of your recipes, for I confess they attempt me much, it only remains for me to find “cups” and “spoons” in France difficult to find (in my little town lol).
    See you soon ! A bientôt !

    Jezabel from France

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