Chocolate Croissants (Pain au Chocolat)

My boyfriend likes chocolate croissants. He went through a phase where he was buying them all the time. Every day. He couldn’t get through without them.

So when his birthday came around, what better to bake him than chocolate croissants?

This recipe is the same as for croissants, with the addition of chocolate and a different way of forming their shape. Like my croissant recipe, there are lots of photos step-by-step to make following it really simple.

Adapted from Bourke Street Bakery.

You can make these croissants over two or three days.
You will need to make a ferment before making your actual dough. A ferment is a small amount of dough that rests overnight before being added into your actual dough. It is basically a starter and helps the dough develop.

The Ferment
Make this the day before you want to make your croissants.

100g plain flour (3 1/2 oz)
55ml milk (1 3/4 fl oz)
5g brown sugar (1 tsp)
2 1/2g salt (1/2 tsp)
5g (1/8 oz) fresh yeast
20g unsalted butter, softened (3/4 oz)

Put all of the ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Process on a low speed for 3-5 minutes, until you have a smooth, elastic dough that doesn’t break when stretched gently. You may need to help it out by hand as there isn’t much dough for the hook to grab onto.

If you want to do it by hand, squeeze all the ingredients together until they begin to resemble a crumbly dough. Turn it out onto a clean surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until a smooth, elastic dough forms.

Form the dough into a ball and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days.

The Croissants
Make sure all your ingredients for your croissants are chilled before making your dough.

935g plain flour (2 lb 1 oz)
550ml milk (19 fl oz)
60g brown sugar (1/3 cup)
15g salt (3 tsp)
35g fresh yeast (1 1/4 oz)

500g unsalted butter, extra for laminating (1 lb 2 oz)

48 sticks of semisweet chocolate (or chop a block into 48 thin pieces, about 10cm (4 inches) long

If using an electric mixer, put the flour, milk, sugar, salt, yeast and ferment in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Process on a low speed for 3-4 minutes, then increase the speed to high and mix for a further 2 minutes. You want a smooth, elastic dough that doesn’t break when stretched gently.

If you want to make the whole thing by hand, put all the ingredients into a bowl and squeeze together until the mixture resembles a crumbly dough. Turn it out onto a clean surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Gather the dough into a ball, put it into a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight (this is where you can take the process onto a third day).

When you are ready to laminate (roll and fold) the dough, remove the extra 500g of butter from the fridge. It should be cold but malleable. Put the butter between two sheets of baking paper and use a rolling pin to gently pound the butter into a 20cm (8 inch) flat square about 1cm (1/2 inch) thick.

Using a lightly floured (or silicone) rolling pin (preferably with ball bearings unless you want to work your arms off), roll the dough out into a 20 x 40 cm (8 x 16 inch) rectangle.

Place the butter square in the center of the dough.

Fold the two sides of pastry over the top of the butter, squeezing any seams together to completely enclose the butter. The butter being in between all the layers of pastry is what is going to give your croissants that deliciously flaky texture.

Carefully roll the dough into a rectangle about 20 x 90 cm (8 x 35 inches). Fold one end of the rectangle in by one third, then fold the other long end over the top so the dough is now 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inches).

Put the dough into a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap, place it on a tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes (this allows the gluten to relax). Repeat this folding and resting process (called turns) two more times.

Once the dough has had its final 20 minute rest in the fridge, it is ready to be shaped into croissants.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it into a 25 x 120cm (10 x 35 inch) rectangle. This may take quite a lot of energy as the dough will tend to spring back to its original size and resist being rolled out. If this happens, fold up the dough and rest it in the fridge for a few minutes before rolling again. Use a light dusting of flour to patch up any areas where there may be holes or butter poking out while you roll.

Get out a ruler. Measure halfway down each short side of your rectangle and make a small incision at each point. Line up your ruler between the two incisions and cut the dough in half lengthways. Cut a line along every 15cm (6 inches) of the long sides of your rectangles. You should end up with 24 10 x 15 cm (4 x 6 inch) rectangles.

Stack the rectangles on a tray lined with baking paper. Cover lightly with a clean tea towel and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.

Remove the rectangles from the fridge, and working one at a time, place a stick of chocolate along a short edge.

Roll the edge of the dough over the chocolate to enclose it, then place a second stick of chocolate alongside the first one.

Roll the pastry over the again to cover the second stick of chocolate. Continue to roll up and ensure the end is secured underneath.

Place the croissants back on the lined trays at well-spaced intervals.

Cover loosely with a clean, damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm room to proof (rise) for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. They should almost double in size and be quite puffy.

When almost ready to bake, preheat the oven to 240 C and prepare your egg wash.

The Egg Wash
1 egg
100ml milk (3 1/2 fl oz)
pinch salt

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined.

Brush the egg wash lightly over the top of your croissants.

Place the trays into the oven and reduce the temperature to 190 C. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are a deep, golden colour. Cool slightly on trays before serving. Makes 24 croissants.

Boyfriend ate them all and then asked for more!

17 Thoughts on “Chocolate Croissants (Pain au Chocolat)

  1. I am in awe. My mouth literally dropped open when I saw these beautiful pain au chocolat. I LOVE croissants and the first time I ever drove anywhere (besides the grocery store so my mom could buy groceries) was to my favourite cafe for a croissant. I’ve wanted to make these for a while and now I feel inspired enough (:

    • OK Kyleen when you make them let me know how you go!!!
      ps. I was reading your posts – you get used to standing all day after a while, I’ve been doing it at work for years. Then I did an internship in a PR office and my back hurt from sitting all day!

  2. Charlene on April 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm said:

    New to your blog and I am speechless, beautiful photography, scrumptious looking food! I am on vacation this week and have always wanted to make croissants – a task I plan on completing this week! Thanks to you I have a wonderful recipe to use! Good Luck on all you endeavors and keep on baking your wonderful creations! Enjoy your day!

  3. O.M.G!! This is simply amazing!

  4. Pingback: Pain au chocolat

  5. Hi Natasha.
    Thank you for the recepie. It sounds amazing!!!! So trying it this weekend ;))
    As I’m a queen of preparation could you please tell me if those croissants are freezable before baking?

    • Hi Ali! Yes they are freezable, right after shaping them. Then they need to be defrosted and proofed before baking. However, yeast dies off in the freezer quite quickly, so you’ve only got 3 – 4 days :-) good luck!

  6. Finally a detailed recipe for pain au chocolat, I have been looking for one since I got back from Europe. Where do you buy the fresh yeast from? I have been unable to find it!:)

  7. Can you please post this recipe with US calculations. It looks fabulous and wonderful. But I just can’t calculate it correctly. I made it and it was very wrong. If its no trouble of course, thank you so much.

    • Hi Laila! This recipe does have US calculations! Ounces! If you mean cups, I’m really sorry, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to convert this to cups. They just aren’t an accurate form of measurement. Invest in a little kitchen scale – they make life so easy, and can be under $20!

  8. sophia on January 27, 2015 at 9:58 am said:

    Lovely pictures. May I ask what kind of chocolate you used? The name of it?

  9. Marsha on October 24, 2015 at 6:00 am said:

    Hi! I’m eager to try out this recipe, however the pictures do not seem to work anymore. Is there any way you could fix this? Thanks x

    • Hi Marsha, yes I have an issue with all the photos from my old, pre 2012 posts! Sorry! Working on slowly putting them back in, but I hate these old photos now and will probably try to re-make and re-shoot these first :-) It’s a great recipe, even without the pictures. Good luck!

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