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.
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.
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.
Super Simple Chocolate Croissants
Makes 12 average sized croissants
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