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chocolate croissants

December 29th, 2011 · 11 Comments

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The first time that I made these and shared them with my foodie friend Jeremy, the first words out of his mouth after taking a bite were…well, unrepeatable here. But let’s just say that he thought these were amazing. I went to France last year and I can attest that these rivaled those decadent Parisian pastries. Perfectly flaky with a center strip of delicious dark chocolate…. oh, wow. The thought of them makes me want to sign off here and go whip up another batch.

I told Jeremy that I’d be happy to make the croissants again as long as I could simplify one particular step in the process. Croissants are no walk in the park, but the original recipe included one step that made me want to quit the recipe altogether.  The original recipe involved manually pressing three sticks of cold butter with two tablespoons of flour until the mixture is perfectly smooth. The process was messy and frustrating. I waited a few months before making the croissants again (not many people can afford to eat a dozen chocolate croissants very often!) and I had thought of a way to simplify the butter/flour mixture step. Why not just combine the butter and flour in the mixer with a paddle attachment? It worked like a charm and now I don’t cringe at the idea of preparing these for a dinner party.

Now that I’ve made this recipe twice, I realize that making croissants isn’t really that hard. Time consuming, yes, but not difficult at all. An overview of the process is as follows: make your dough and the butter square. Store separately in the fridge. Place the butter square onto the dough and fold like an envelope, flatten a bit, and then fold into a square. Repeat that last step. Roll out the final dough into a huge square, cut into smaller rectangles, fill with chocolate and bake. Once you realize that it’s just a matter of waiting for each step to be complete, it’s not a matter of if you’ll make these croissants, but when.

chocolate croissants

Prep Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: one dozen chocolate croissants

chocolate croissants

Source: Cook's Illustrated

Best. Chocolate. Croissants. Ever.

Ingredients

Dough
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus more for dusting work surface
1 tbsp instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
1 1/4teaspoons table salt
1 1/4cups whole milk , cold
2 tbsp unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Butter Square
24 tbsp cold unsalted butter (3 sticks), cut into 24 pieces
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
Chocolate Filling
8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (note: use GOOD chocolate here!)
Egg Wash
1 large egg , lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. For the dough: Whisk 2 3/4 cups of flour together with yeast, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Place milk in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Add flour mixture and knead at low speed until ball of dough forms, about 5 minutes. Add butter pieces to dough. Continue to knead until butter becomes fully incorporated and dough becomes smooth, begins to form a ball, and clears the sides of the bowl, an additional 5 to 6 minutes. (Dough should be sticky, but if more dough is sticking to sides of bowl than to itself, add remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary.) Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. For the butter square: Clean out the mixer bowl. Combine the butter and flour in the mixer bowl with the paddle attachment. Mix until well combined using a spatula to redistribute the mixture as needed. Dump onto your workspace and shape into a 7-inch square. Refrigerate butter square until ready to use, at least 30 minutes.
  3. Lightly dust work surface with flour. Roll dough into an 11-inch square. Place chilled butter square diagonally onto dough. Fold corners of dough up over butter square so that they meet in middle and pinch ends of dough together to seal them. Your dough should look somewhat like a giant diamond at this point.
  4. Using rolling pin, gently tap dough, starting from center of dough and going outward, until square becomes larger and butter begins to soften. At this point, start gently rolling dough into 14-inch square, checking often to make sure dough is not sticking and dusting with additional flour as necessary. Fold square into thirds to form long rectangle. (This method of folding is called a “turn” and resembles folding a business letter.) Starting from narrow ends, fold rectangle into thirds again to form square. You have now given dough 2 turns. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Repeat step 4, giving dough 2 additional turns (for total of 4 turns) and chilling again for at least 2 hours.
  6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place chilled dough on floured work surface and gently roll dough into 20-inch square. Use pizza cutter and ruler to cut dough into 4 equal 10-inch squares. Cut each square into thirds to make a total of 12 rectangles, each approximately 10 by 3 1/4 inches. Place 1/2 ounce (about 1 tablespoon) chocolate in middle of each rectangle. Fold the top and bottom halves of each rectangle over the chocolate portion, dividing each rectangle into thirds and place it seam-side down on baking sheet.
  7. Cover croissants loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise at a cooler room temperature (meaning, probably not in your kitchen!) until puffy (they will not double in size), 45 to 60 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 400 degrees. Using pastry brush, brush croissants with beaten egg. Bake until croissants are golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes, rotating baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time. Cool croissants on wire rack until warm, about 20 minutes. Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Jeremy loves these dusted with powdered sugar!)
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Tags: breads · dessert

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // Dec 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    My favorite! Yumm!

  • 2 Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls // Dec 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Wow I am so impressed that you made those lovely things! They are gorgeous … makes me want to jump right through my screen and grab one!

  • 3 Russell at Chasing Delicious // Dec 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Oh my gosh! These chocolate croissants look incredible. I could definitely handle one or a dozen of these guys!

  • 4 Adrianne // Dec 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    These look so wonderful. I’ll have to figure out my when.

  • 5 Kristine // Dec 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    These look amazing! I only wish I had one right now, but guess I’ll have to make some of my own soon. I just found your blog and have already bookmarked a number of different recipes to try!

  • 6 sara // Dec 30, 2011 at 6:17 am

    OMG, these look amazing! I adore chocolate croissants, yum! :)

  • 7 J // Jan 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I just made these using your recipe (I added some almond paste for an extra kick), and they were some of the best croissants I’ve ever eaten. Not to mention this was my first from-scratch baking experience, so I have to give points for doability. Good form!

  • 8 Lindsay {life and kitchen} // Jan 3, 2012 at 7:05 am

    These look ridiculously delicious! Totally worth the time investment!

  • 9 natalie (the sweets life) // Jan 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    i’m so impressed! these turned out beautifully!

  • 10 Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen // Jan 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    You attempted what i’ve been so afraid of… Croissant! And it looks amazing and better than ever! :)

  • 11 Kelsey @ K&K Test Kitchen // Jan 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Oh my goodness! I clicked over to your blog after Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts linked to your Quinoa Cakes and I can say that soon my jeans won’t be fitting me either, because I am going to have to make these Chocolate Croissants ASAP! (I went to Paris after I graduated from high school and ate a chocolate croissant every day that I was there – and gained 8 pounds in 8 days!)

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