After writing about healthy food options, I have a confession to make. I have a sweet tooth. Being Swiss, it’s natural that I should like chocolate, correct? One of my favorite breakfast foods is the Pain au Chocolat, or Chocolate Croissants. Flour, butter, sugar, milk, chocolate. Yummy!
Heads up: Making chocolate croissants from scratch (including the pastry dough) does take a little time, largely because of the “repeat-and-rinse” folding and chilling of the dough to create the layers. Having said that, these buttery, chocolaty croissants will melt in your mouth, and they’re worth the extra prep time.
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup low-fat milk (1%)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
1 Tbsp salt
10 oz bitter-sweet chocolate chips(I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips)
1 egg, diluted with 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash
Preparing the Pastry Dough
Combine the yeast and 1/2 cup hot water in a glass, stir well, and let rest until foamy, about 10 minutes (see photo).
In a mixing bowl, combine milk, sugar, 2 Tbsp melted butter, salt, and yeast. Add flour. Mix ingredients in bowl, being careful not to knead the dough too much, until stiff. Transfer to floured work surface, and form into square. Wrap in plastic sheet, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Place the remaining butter on a sheet of plastic wrap, and cover with another sheet. Using a rolling pin, gently pound and shape the butter into a 6-inch, 1/4-inch thick square. Set aside.
Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a 16-inch square on a floured work surface. Unwrap the butter square, and place on rolled dough so its corners line up with the middle of each side of the dough square (see photo).
Fold dough corners over butter so they meet in the center.
Roll dough into 12-inch by 9-inch rectangle, and then tri-fold like a letter. Wrap in plastic sheet and chill for 30 minutes. Repeat rolling, folding and chilling the dough three more times (four in total).
Filling and Rolling the Chocolate Croissants
Roll dough into 20-inch by 14-inch sheet, about 1/4-inch thick. Dough should be chilled when rolling so butter doesn’t melt from rolling friction. Cut in half, length-wise, with a dough scraper. Cut each half into several rectangles, about 3 1/2 inches wide and 6 inches long.
Place a row of chocolate chips or morsels parallel to the width of each dough piece, near the cut, and gently roll the dough to cover the row of chips. Add a second row of chocolate chips and continue rolling the dough to the opposite width of the dough piece to form a tight roll. Ensure the fold is on the bottom of the croissant, and gently press down so the rolled croissant does not unfold.
Place the croissants on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, with folds facing down, and brush tops and sides (but not ends) with egg wash. Let croissants sit until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
Voila! Ready to Bake
Heat oven to 375F. Bake croissants until golden brown, on lower-middle rack, about 20 minutes. Do not overbake to ensure the croissants are chewy and not hard. Serve with a glass of cold, fresh milk, freshly brewed cappuccino, or your favorite beverage!