Pains au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants)

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Having mastered croissant dough, you might as well use it for as many types of pastries as possible!  In addition to plain croissants and savory ham and cheese croissants, you can also make chocolate croissants, or pains au chocolat, for dessert.

Baking Notes:

  • The dough is best if refrigerated overnight, so you should prepare it one day (about 2 hours) and shape and bake the croissants the next day (another 2 hours).
  • The croissants taste best within a few hours after baking.  If you plan to eat them after that, toast them briefly.
  • The dough is reasonably forgiving, so don’t fret too much as you make it.

Original recipe

 

Pains au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants)
From King Arthur Flour

Yield: 9 croissants (plus 2 Danishes)

  • 1/2 recipe of croissant dough, made with a dough hook or by hand
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 18 pain au chocolat sticks OR about 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips OR dark chocolate bar(s) cut into 18 pieces about 3” long x 1/2” wide x 1/4” thick

 

  1. Dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour.
  2. Roll dough into a 12″ x 18″ rectangle.  Pick it up and dust the work surface with flour underneath the dough as you’re doing this; the dough should move freely over your work surface as you roll.  (Don’t worry if you can’t get it to the perfect size; it will still be okay.)
  3. Trim the very outside edge of the dough with a knife, or if you’re being very particular, with a straight edge and pizza cutter. This takes off the sealed edges of the dough that could inhibit its “poof.”  (Save the scraps for later and tuck them under some plastic for now.)
  4. Cut the dough in thirds in both directions.
  5. Take a piece of dough and turn it sideways. Place a chocolate bar or 2 lines of chocolate chips about 1/3 from the right side, like this:
    img_3863-copy
  6. Wet your finger in water and draw a line down the center of the rectangle.  Fold the right edge over onto the damp line and press gently.  Then lay down another chocolate bar or lines of chocolate chips next to the folded edge, like this:
    img_3865-copy
  7. Wet the left edge of the rectangle, fold it over the chocolate, and press gently so it looks like this:
    img_3866-copy
  8. Turn the pain au chocolat over and put on the baking sheet.  You want the seam to be on the bottom of the pastry so it doesn’t unroll as it bakes.
  9. Take the scraps from earlier and lay them out straight.  You can put some cinnamon sugar or lay down a line of chocolate chips on one strip, and put a second strip on top.  Twist them together into a spiral to make a Danish.  If you want, you can put a spoonful of preserves in the center.  You can make 2 Danishes from the scraps.
  10. Place the pastries on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. You can freeze the unbaked pastries at this point (such as in a rigid plastic container with a lid) for up to 2 weeks.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before egg-washing and baking.
  11. Beat together an egg and 1 tablespoon water to form an egg wash.
  12. Take pastries out of the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 425°F.  Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven so the bottoms won’t burn.  While the oven is heating, brush the tops of the pastries with the egg wash.
  13. Let pastries sit on the counter for about 15 minutes.
  14. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven’s temperature to 350°F.  Bake pains au chocolat for 15 to 20 minutes.  (But remove the Danishes after 8-10 minutes so they don’t burn.)  The pastries should be a deep golden brown.
  15. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
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