Pain Au Chocolat

On Thursday a Danish Pocket was brought into work and ever since all I wanted was to make were proper, crispy, flaky beautiful croissants. And so I did! 

The last time I got it in my head to make croissants it didn't end well. Small word of advice when making croissants: Use a recipe in a language you speak fluently. F-L-U-E-N-T-L-Y. Also, do not trust Google translate. Google does a great many things but it does not make croissants. 

This recipe is adapted. I don't have my own special croissant recipe....yet. Also, I didn't feel like pounding butter. When I made cronuts in NYC we used whipped butter with flour mixed in. Guess what? It works. It's easier. It's faster. It's amazing. 

The other bit I loved is this recipe has all measurements and a throw-it-all-in-a-bowl mentality. I LOVE that. I put my stand mixer bowl on my food scale and the dough was made in no time flat. Yes. Do this. 

A throw it in a bowl recipe and not having to pound butter makes this recipe VERY accessible to people on every baking skill level. The only part that will slow you down is the relentless rolling. Stretching the dough out it taxing, but for croissants it is worth a little upper body workout! 

Pain au Chocolat 

as adapted from

for the dough
1 lb. 2 oz. (4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
5 oz. (1/2cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold water
5 oz. (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold whole milk
2 oz. (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) granulated sugar
1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) soft unsalted butter
1 Tbs. plus scant 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
2-1/4 tsp. kosher salt

for the butter layer
10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cups all-purpose-flour

for the egg wash
1 large egg

to make it au chocolat
Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a gallon sized ziploc bag.  Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, whip the butter in a stand mixer. Add flour and whip until nice and fluffy.

Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press the dough to elongate it slightly and then begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.

Roll the dough until it’s 8 by 24 inches. Spread half the whipped butter on the left 16 inches, leaving the right third bare. 

Pick up the unbuttered end of the dough and fold it back over the dough, leaving one-third of the other end of dough exposed. Brush the flour off and then fold the exposed dough over the folded side. Put the dough on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.

Repeat the rolling, buttering and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends until the dough is about 8 by 24 inches. Fold the dough in thirds again. Cover and freeze for another 20 minutes.

Without adding more butter, repeat this process two more times. After the fourth turn, return the dough to the gallon sized ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, roll the dough into a long and narrow strip, 8 inches by about 40 inches. If the dough sticks as you roll, sprinkle with flour. Once the dough is about half to two-thirds of its final length, it may start to resist rolling and even shrink back. If this happens, fold the dough in thirds, cover, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes; then unfold the dough and finish rolling. 

Cut the dough into 4 inch wide strips. You should have a 4x8 inch rectangle of dough. Imagine it in thirds. The top 2.5 inches, middle, and bottom, etc. 
Place 2 tbs. semi-sweet chocolate chips in the middle third of each strip. Fold the strip of dough in thirds, wrapping the chocolate in the middle.

Shape the remaining croissants in the same manner, arranging them on two large parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Do not use one sheet. Keep as much space as possible between them, as they will rise during the final proofing and again when baked.

Make the egg wash by whisking the egg with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl until very smooth. Lightly brush it on each croissant.

Refrigerate the remaining egg wash. Put the croissants in a draft-free spot at 75° to 80°F. Do not get clever and think oh, a warmer spot in the sun will make them rise faster! No. It will only melt the butter out the sides of your croissant dough. Odds are you countertop will do just fine. 

They will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours to fully proof. You’ll know they’re ready if you can see the layers of dough when the croissants are viewed from the side, and they are near doubled in size.

Shortly before the croissants are fully proofed, position racks in the top and lower thirds of the oven and heat it to 415°F. Brush the croissants with egg wash a second time. Put the sheets in the oven. After 10 minutes, rotate the sheets and swap their positions. Continue baking until the bottoms are an even brown, the tops richly browned, and the edges show signs of coloring, another 8 to 10 minutes. If they appear to be darkening too quickly during baking, lower the oven temperature by 10°F. Let cool on baking sheets on racks.

Melt about 1 cup of the remaining chocolate chips by microwaving in a bowl for thirty second intervals. Stir between each interval. When melted drizzle over top of each croissant.