Monday, February 22, 2010

Super Simple Chocolate Croissants

by Darla

Chocolate croissants. Need I say more?

Okay. You’re right…I do have to say more if I want to share how to make them.

Until we moved to the Northeast, I had never heard of, let alone eaten, chocolate croissants. I mean, in my defense, at the tender age of twenty I wasn’t exactly exploring hot new bakeries; seeking out new pastries and new desserts;  boldly going where no…

Wait. Oops. My geekiness is showing (Star Trek reference). Sorry about that.

When I left Indiana, it was to go to Texas. If you’ve lived in Texas then you know Kolaches are the breakfast baked good of choice down there. Meat and cheese enclosed in a fresh, hot yeast roll…mmmm! They are de-li-cious. But I digress (they’ll be posted another time). Since leaving Texas, we have travelled all over New England and you can find chocolate croissants everywhere. I immediately fell in love. What’s not to love?! Warm, melted chocolate inside of a flaky croissant dusted with sugar…?! Yes, please! And make that two!

A couple of years ago I decided, “I can make that.”  Then I read up on puff pastry dough and chickened out. Have you ever read how to make that stuff?! I’ll make it someday. I know I will. But for now, Pepperidge Farms sells an excellent frozen dough that comes in sheets and makes wonderful croissants (among other pastries). So, lazy girl that I am, I bought some pastry dough and looked into buying some pain au chocolat sticks. These are semi-sweet sticks used in pain au chocolat (or chocolate croissants; I actually thought pain au chocolat was something completely different for a long, long time. I was wrong, it’s almost exclusively shape that differentiates them from croissants). The sticks were only available online and I thought there had to be an easier way to do this (I’m lazy, remember?), so I decided semi-sweet chocolate is semi-sweet chocolate, it doesn’t matter the form it takes. Of course, the only semi-sweet chocolate I had access to in rural Vermont was chips. So I went with it. And it worked! Beautifully, I might add! So here’s the recipe (if you could call it that) that I came up with and have been using for a good 6 years now!

This recipe is excellent prepared the night before, but is also very quick to make on the spot.

To get started, you need your chocolate. If you have access to pain au chocolat sticks, you can use those instead, but I have always stuck with the chips. They’re easy, fast, and readily available (plus, it’s a lot easier to add extra chocolate this way). You can use any type of chocolate chips you like, but semi-sweet is the traditional ingredient (and it tastes best). I’ve also found that higher quality chips melt a little smoother, which lends a better consistency to this recipe.

For the dough, make sure you get the sheets and not the shells.

Remove the sheets from the packaging and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to thaw.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can make just one sheet of the puff pastry and save the other sheet for another time if you like. If you make both sheets, each one will need to go on it’s own baking sheet.

Once thawed, unfold the sheet.

Be sure it’s completely thawed or it will crack along the seams. Some very, very slight tearing on the inside of the seams is normal.

Cut along both of the fold lines using a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

Using the fold lines makes it easier to get the lines straight (when you’re not trying to cut and photograph at the same time, that is) and the pieces even.

Now cut the pastry sheet in half in the opposite direction.

This will make six average sized croissants, but you can make two or three crosscuts to get much smaller, bite sized croissants.

Now you need two tablespoons (or one ounce) of chips.

Place them in the center of one of the rectangles.

Fold the right side of the dough over the chocolate.

Brush with water or egg wash to moisten.

Now fold the left side over the first side and press gently to seal (the water will act as a glue). I usually pinch the two sides together at each end to help them stay together a little better. Put any escapee chips back in the croissant (like you need to be told, huh?).

Repeat with the remaining dough and evenly space the pastries on your cookie sheet. They will puff up quite a bit. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you should be able to comfortably fit a whole pastry sheet’s worth of croissants on each baking sheet. These are ready to go in the oven, or, if you are making them ahead of time, into the refrigerator.

If you’re making these the night before, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight. If you leave the croissants uncovered, they will dry out, which will cause them to unfold as they bake in the oven (such a sad sight to see). Before baking, you can brush these with an egg wash for an extra bit of shine. I never do, but it is pretty.

Heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Bake the croissants for 20 minutes, or…

…until golden brown. You will most likely lose some chips while they bake. These are casualties we just have to learn to accept.

Allow the pastries to cool for about five minutes, then dust them with confectioners’ sugar.

I like to be generous here. It’s okay. Don’t be afraid. Give these beauties a heavy coat. Everyone will thank you.

And that is all there is to it! Definitely serve these warm. Preferably with a tall glass of cold milk or a piping hot espresso.

Prepare these the night before and breakfast in bed is yours in no time at all! Enjoy!

Super Simple Chocolate Croissants
Makes 12 average sized croissants

Ingredients

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry dough
12 ounces (24 tablespoons) good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips

Remove the sheets from the packaging and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to thaw.

Once thawed, unfold the sheets and cut along the fold lines using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, then cut each pastry sheet in half in the opposite direction. Place 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) chocolate chips in the center of each rectangle. Fold the right side of the dough over the chocolate and brush with water or egg wash to moisten. Now fold the left side over the first side and press gently to seal, pinching the sides together at each end.

If making ahead of time, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake the croissants for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm.

Recipe by Darla

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bttrflybabydoll February 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

Mmmmm…I bought some of those pastry sheets, but I haven't used them yet. Must try these this week! I'm starting a diet soon, and I have to get these out of my system first!

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2 Jenniffer February 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Those look DELISH! And I love the Harry Potter cake too! Excellent work!

-Jenniffer
http://cupadeecakes.blogspot.com

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3 Sugarbear February 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Thank you, Jenniffer! I love your cakes!! They're so beautiful!!

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4 Anonymous November 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm

erm…pain au chocolat and croissants are two different things. what you made (and they look lovely) is pain au chocolat. A croissant cant be a croissant unless its the specific shape.

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5 Sugarbear November 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm

@Anon. – Of course! You can't really have a croissant without a crescent, can you? :) But, as most people recognize the term 'croissant' more easily, I wanted to stay on familiar ground. Thanks for the head's up, though.

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6 Anonymous November 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

you're welcome. sorry if i seemed critical. i didnt really mean to. you have a new regular reader. love some of your ideas, particularly the halloween cake :)

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7 Laura October 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm

These look so simple and delicious, I will definitely give them a try sometime!

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8 Trish November 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Wow! So simple & easy! Reminds so much of the choco croissants from Starbucks..love them to bits & pieces! I can’t wait to try to do this!

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9 Pallavi November 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Loved this recipe! Want to know where you got the tea pot/tea set from? Love it !

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10 Darla November 16, 2011 at 11:42 am

Hi, I ordered the set on eBay several years ago. I adore it, but haven’t seen anything like it since. It’s quite old and was made by a German company, but I can’t remember the name off the top of my head. I will check it and let you know. :)

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11 Jessica June 2, 2012 at 5:55 am

Just made these this morning… they were wonderful! Thanks for sharing your genious! :)

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12 Ivette R. December 1, 2012 at 4:58 am

Is there any way these can be frozen for later use once formed? I’d love to make these ahead and freeze for unexpected guests or impromptu breakfast in the future.
Thanks! :)

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13 Darla March 9, 2013 at 11:57 am

Of course! Form them and put them in an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature for about 30 mins before baking :)

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