Chocolate croissants: the perfect recipe for a bored home baker

Traditional+chocolate+croissants+have+lots+of+distinct+layers+and+chocolate+running+through+the+middle.

Betsy Quimby

Traditional chocolate croissants have lots of distinct layers and chocolate running through the middle.

Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional baker. If you want to try out this recipe for yourself, I would recommend checking out Chef John’s video on making croissants as he explains the process a lot better than I can.

 

If you’re friends with me, you probably know that I really like to bake- breads, cakes, cookies, you name it, I’ll try to make it. Recently, I took on the endeavor of making chocolate croissants, also known as “pain au chocolat,” from scratch. I looked to one of my favorite cooking channels on YouTube, Food Wishes, and found the perfect recipe waiting for me. Chef John’s chocolate croissants, while requiring some technical skill in the kitchen, are much easier to make than I imagined, and only require a few simple ingredients.

I, like many people, have been a bit apprehensive when it comes to making fancy French pastries like croissants. While I wanted to be able to try the crispy, flaky, buttery treat, I didn’t want to mess up the recipe and waste lots of time and ingredients. However, since I’ve been bored out of my mind lately and have baked almost every other recipe in the book, I thought now would be as good a time as any to try and recreate the perfect croissant. 

I started out by watching countless YouTube videos on how to make chocolate croissants and trying to work out and memorize the technique in my head. After I was sure I knew what to do, I got to work. Due to the current pandemic, some ingredients like flour and yeast have been harder to find; the recipe calls for active dry yeast and bread flour, but you can really use any type of flour or yeast that you can find in the store at the moment- all purpose flour and instant yeast worked just fine for me. When I arrived at the step of rolling out the butter (the step I was most worried about), I was faced with the problem of the butter not sticking together. If you decide to make this recipe, I would recommend leaving the butter to sit for three to four minutes to soften a bit. Then, once you’ve been able to mold it into the square, make sure to leave it in the fridge for around 20 minutes to harden back up. I also want to stress the importance of keeping this dough chilled the entire time you’re trying to work with it- otherwise the butter will melt all over your hands and countertop and make a huge mess.

So if you are somewhat of an experienced home baker (or even a beginner- with enough prep, this recipe is totally doable) and have been afraid to try to make a recipe such as pain au chocolat, I would encourage you to try it out yourself. The end result is totally worth the wait, and if you mess up, you still made bread with chocolate in it; I can’t imagine a world where that’s not a success.

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