Here's a quick and easy recipe for pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants). If you're looking for something buttery, chocolaty and decadent to bake, look no further.
I'm surprising myself lately - making French pastries and joining a gym (no cause and effect, by the way). This winter I couldn't live up to my longtime motto of "exercising outside with my dog - rain or shine." I needed a backup plan for when it was below 12 degrees - (Boston, MA) way too often! So I gave in and joined a gym.
I don't do a lot of baking. As you might have noticed, there are precious few desserts on Panning The Globe. My passion is mostly for savory dishes. But I do have a weakness for dark chocolate, and and when I need something buttery and decadent for a Sunday brunch, nothing beats pain au chocolat. Plus, it's shockingly easy to make excellent pain au chocolate with store-bought puff pastry dough.
Puff pastry is a light flaky pastry dough used for a variety of savory and sweet creations including the French pastry pain au chocolat. The literal translation is "chocolate bread" but bread is way too tame of a word to describe these.
I highly recommend that you try one fresh from the oven - warm and buttery with the chocolate softened, soooo good. The kind of good where you take your first bite and then close your eyes and groan as it melts in your mouth.
I hosted a small brunch last weekend for some girlfriends. A big warm basket of pain au chocolat was sitting on the kitchen island to greet everyone as they arrived. When I plan a menu for company, one of my strategies is to choose some ingredients that I think are natural party 'stars'. Bacon, potatoes, goat cheese, soft-poached eggs, and chocolate are high on the list.
Here are the other dishes I served at the brunch: smoked salmon quesadillas with goat cheese, Shakshuka; and bacon & onion skillet potatoes.
How to make pain au chocolat
They're extremely easy to make when you start with frozen puff pastry.
- Defrost the puff pastry.
- Cut it into the pastry sheet into 12 rectangles.
- Roll up a hunk of dark chocolate in each piece of dough.
- Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle it with sugar.
- Bake and watch the magic happen in the oven!
Quick, Easy (Almost) From Scratch Pain Au Chocolat
If you're wondering why I didn't make the puff pastry from scratch, I thought about it, but puff pastry is a particularly challenging dough. It has tons of buttery layers that make it puff up when you cook it. Creating all those thin layers of butter and dough is very time consuming because the dough needs frequent refrigeration between kneading and turning, to keep it at just the right temp so when the butter is layered in, it stays on top and doesn't absorb into the dough.
The good news is, pre-made frozen puff pastry is a great option. I was very happy with two brands that I found at Whole Foods: Dufour and Goodwives. Dufour won Cooking Light's Artisanal Taste Test Award. I've heard positive reviews of Trader Joe's frozen puff pastry, as well. All three brands contain the same wholesome ingredients you would use to make puff pastry at home: flour, butter, water and salt.
These homemade chocolate croissants are as good as any pain au chocolate I've ever tasted, and you can whip up a dozen in less than 45 minutes.
Here's the Pain Au Chocolate recipe. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
PAIN AU CHOCOLAT
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 12 1x
French pastry featuring bitter sweet chocolate enveloped in a flaky, buttery dough. Quick and easy.
- 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed but chilled (see thawing directions)
- A few tablespoons all-purpose flour
- I 4-ounce bar of semisweet chocolate (I recommend Ghirardelli Semisweet Baking Bar) cut into 12 rectangular pieces.
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour your work surface. Cut your puff pastry, with a sharp knife or pizza cutter, in half lengthwise. Cut each half into sixths, giving you 12 rectangular pieces.
- Brush top of dough lightly with egg wash. Place a piece of chocolate in the center of the dough strip. Fold one end over it. Then fold over the other end. Press the seam with the tines of a fork to seal. Add a little extra egg wash to the seam, if it's not adhering. Repeat with all 12 pieces.
- Place the pastries seam side down on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes in the center of the oven, until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: Breakfast, brunch, dessert
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: chocolate croissants recipe, pain au chocolat recipe
Perfect breakfast! So delicious
I adore pain au chocolat and this version is easy enough that I could make a batch the morning of a brunch - what a gift you've given me! Just have to tell you that when I paged through the photos, I couldn't think about how much these little gems resemble pigs in blankets - luckily they are infinitely more tasty:)
You're funny - I happen to adore pigs in blankets!
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom
I remember taking 4 years of French in High School (don't aske me to speak it) But we made these each year and I really think that is why I stuck with French so long 🙂
A great reason!
Hello, I hope you rely on reliable resources when you post information 🙂 Shakshuka is an Arabic dish and certainly not Israeli. I hope you'd take this into consideration and fully research things before posting them; it's highly offending losing credit to a traditional dish.
Actually it appears that Tunisian Jews brought shakshouka to the Levant... so you're both correct--- or both wrong, if its original source is considered to be North Africa.
Besides, food traditions always contain a healthy dose of sharing and evolution! So lighten up.
allie @ Through Her Looking Glass
Dear Lisa, My favorite line, "Roll up a hunk of chocolate." (!) So delicious! I was up at King Arthur in Norwich VT recently and they sell chocolate sticks for this very purpose. I almost bought some, and then resisted. Now I wish I had, because I'd love to try your delicious recipe with them. Your Pain Au Chocolat are the bomb!
I had the best croissant and pain au chocolat while I was visiting Paris. I just got my first oven last year and I thought, I finally can bake my own croissant, then I found it's impossible after browsed Julia Child's classic recipe... Using frozen puff pastry is such a practical idea.
Does anyone make those puff pastry from scratch these days?
I was fortunate enough to sample some of Lisa's Chocolate Croissants. Make no mistake this recipe is the perfect combo of chocolate and butter. They taste rich but feel light at the same time. Just amazing. Oh, I also made Lisa's hummus this past weekend-- it was easy, delicious and, for a real bonus... super healthy! Thanks Lisa:)
I lived in Bougival France for 3 months in 1988 and also visited annually from 1985 - 2005. Went last year for Thanksgiving as well. My sister 1ived there for 23 years. It is a quaint suburb just west of Paris. In the tiny "center of town" was a small bakery that baked fresh bread and pastries daily. Every single day I would walk into the village to buy 2 loaves of bread, and every day I would also get a fresh, warm Pain Au Chocolat. The chocolate was soft and warm because it had just come out of the oven. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. It brings back great memories of my sister and my days in Bougival. I cannot wait to make my own. I crave them all the time.
Lucky you, living in France for 3 months and eating French Pain Au Chocolat for breakfast every day! I hope this recipe lives up to the ones you had in Bougival.