Sunday, February 14, 2016

Cheater's pain au chocolat (Chocolate filled croissants)

Light and buttery chocolate croissants (pain au chocolat) that can be made in one day! No butter squares, dough turning or overnight chilling required! The secret weapon is a pasta roller!

There's nothing quite like a soft, buttery croissant for breakfast. Am I right? Problem is, croissants can take up to 3 days (or more) to make. The typical croissant starts off with a butter square that needs to be chilled and then incorporated into the dough. Then you have to fold it, chill it, and fold some more. Impatient people like me don't want to wait that long to eat our croissants.

Enter these cheater pain au chocolats. Essentially, they are chocolate filled croissants, but without the hassle of all the dough and butter folding. The secret? We use a pasta roller to do the work for us. If you're familiar with homemade pasta, the process involves folding the dough into halves or thirds and rolling it through a pasta roller. We're simulating the croissant folding here with the pasta roller, so it's a bit of a cheat. But hey, I'll take it. I will say that these aren't as buttery or flaky as the tried-and-true 3-day version of croissants, but it's a good substitute if you are strapped for time.

These chocolate filled croissants will only take a day to make, and most of the time is waiting for the dough to double. I made these on a snow day last month and was thrilled to have fresh, flaky filled croissants on such a cold winter's day.

If you're still stuck on a dessert idea for tonight, consider these chocolate filled croissants. They will be ready by the time dinner rolls around, and you'll probably want to eat more than one.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Pain au chocolat
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice, lukewarm
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Chocolate spread (I used Nutella), chopped chocolate or caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg for egg wash, optional
Directions
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour. Make a well in the center pour the milk in the well. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes or until frothy. (If you are mixing by  hand, simply use a large bowl and follow the same instructions above.)

Turn the mixer to low and gently stream in the salt, melted butter and sugar. Keep beating until the dough forms a ball. The dough should be tacky but not sticky (it should not stick to your hands). If it is too wet, add more flour a little bit at a time. If you are kneading by hand, knead until all of the ingredients come together and no flour remains.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel. Set aside for about 1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and divide into 12 equal portions. Place in the refrigerator, cover loosely, and allow to cool.

Take one serving of dough out from the refrigerator (leave the others so they continue to stay cool). Roll it out into a rough rectangle.

Using a pasta roller (I used my KitchenAid pasta roller attachment), push the pasta through the roller, on the lowest setting (setting #1 on the pasta attachment if you have one). Fold the dough in half and push it through again. Fold the dough in half again.

Change the setting to #2 and push the dough through. Fold in half and repeat.

Change the setting to #3 and repeat.

Place the rolled out dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet (I used a silicone mat instead). Spread some chocolate hazelnut filling, chopped chocolate or caramel sauce on one of the ends. Roll the dough up and place seam side down on the parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining 11 pieces of dough.

Let the dough double in size, about 3-4 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the pastries with the egg wash if desired. Bake the pastries for about 25 minutes or until brown (do not bake until golden brown because the pastries will be underdone). Feel free to decorate the tops with powdered sugar, chocolate drizzle or whatever your heart desires.

The pain au chocolat is best the day they are made but can be stored in an airtight container and will keep for about 2-3 days. They are best reheated in the oven.

If desired, you can freeze or refrigerate the pastries after they are shaped. Simply allow them to come to room temperature and double in size before baking.

Yield: 12 servings

Source: Ever so slightly adapted from Roxana's Home Baking

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