If you haven’t picked up before, I am rather obsessive when it comes with France and its food. I love French culture, history and food. And something I’ve found absolutely mind-bottling is the French croissant. How can such a pastry be so delicious?!? How did they get the 203958304986729538672824756125376494587 layers of pastry in? How can they only have ONE for breakfast? Why aren’t French people obese when their food is so addictively marvelous? Why does the word croissant (kwa-son) make my mouth water and my stomach rumble?
Oh well, I should really put away all these questions otherwise this post will have as many words as the croissant has layers! Croissants are named after their cresent shapes. And if you don’t actually know what a croissant is (boy, you’ve been neglected), it is a delightful pastry with layers upon layers of butter and dough so that it is crispy and flakey on the outside and the soft inner bring out the delicious buttery flavours inside – the only thing perfect in this world.
This recipe is a readapted adaption of Julia Child’s croissants. Julia Child was an inspirational American cook who also (obsessively) loved French food. She wrote a book called Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which the original recipe (plain croissants) came from. I have made this into the chocolate croissant – known as le pain au chocolat in France. This recipe makes 12. I like to double so that I can put the dough in the freezer (puff pastry) so that I can use it for other things…such as pies! But that’s another story……
Chocolate Croissants (Le Pain au Chocolate)
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 cups of plain flour
- 1.5 tb sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 to 1/2 cups of milk at room tempreture
- 4 tbs of vegetable oil
- A stick of butter (115 g)
- 1 egg
- Block of dark chocolate (however much you like)
- Lots of extra flour
- Mix the yeast, 0.5 tbs sugar, 0.75 tsp salt and the water together and stand for 5 min
- Mix this yeast mixture in with the flour, milk, vegetable oil and the rest of the sugar and salt in a large bowl to form a sticky dough
- Transfer this dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 6 mins. Your dough now needs to rise so make it into a ball shape, put it in a large bowl and grab the scissors to cut an “X” on the top. This allows the dough to rise without being so restrained by the surface of it. Let it rise until it’s double the size (1.5 hours). Do not leave it for too long or it tastes funny later.
- After 1.5 hours, wrap the dough is plastic wrap and chuck it in the fridge to chill for 30mins. Apparently, it makes the dough easier to work with!
- Grab your stick of butter and place it on a flat surface. Then , grab your rolling pin and beat the crap out of your butter with it. This helps smooth it out without melting it.
- After 3o min, unwrap the dough and place it on a floured surface. Using your hands, push it out to form a 33 cm diameter circle
- Then get your beaten butter and center on the cirlce, a 13 cm wide square of butter. Make sure the butter is evenly spread so you won’t get irregular pockets of butter in your croissant.
- Fold the edges of the dough over the square of butter and pinch them together so that you have a small square package of dough with butter in it. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 20 mins.
- Take it out of the fridge and gently start rolling it out. Make sure you flour the rolling pin and the dough so that it wont stick to the board. The package will start to stretch. Don’t do it too fast or the butter will come out. If it does, pinch the dough together again to cover it up. If the dough gets to the point where it gets too thin to pinch, flour it until you can’t see the butter and keep rolling. You want to roll it out to a 38 cm long, 13 cm wide rectangle.
- This step is called “folding” where you must take your rectangular dough and fold it into 3 equal parts before rolling it in the opposite direction – this multiplies the layers of butter by 3. You (mentally) divide the dough into three equal sections lengthwise and fold the two outer sections into the inner so that they overlap – sorta like folding a brochere. This package has one layer of butter so effectively, by doing the first folding step, we are making 3 layers of butter!
- After folding the dough into three parts, roll it out into 38cm x 13cm rectangle, flour it and repeat the step above. Then, do the folding step again (don’t roll it though!), wrap it and put it in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Take it out of the fridge, and roll it out into the same dimentions. Do the folding step again for the fourth time (without rolling) and put it in the fridge for a 2 hour chill. You now have 1 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 layers of butter. which means 81 layers!!!!
- While it’s chilling in the fridge, grab your block of chocolate and chop it up. Make sure the pieces are a good size (about 1.5 cms in length and 5 mm in width).
- After two hours, take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out to a 50cm x 13cm rectangle. Then half it and wrap one half and put it in the fridge. Then roll out the remaining half to 30cm in length. Get a pizza cutter and use it to cut isosceles triangles (where two sides are equal in length) out of the dough. Stretch each triangle lengthwise.
- Now its FINALLY time to make the croissant! Grab a desired amount of chopped chocolate and place at the base of the triangle and gentley roll it up towards the apex of the triangle. Make sure the edges remain sealed.
- Gentley bend each croissant into a cresent shape. Repeat steps 14-16 to the remaining dough.
- Leave the unbaked croissants to rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees celcius. Whisk 1 egg and a tablespoon of water together to form a glaze for the croissants. Glaze the amount of croissants you want to eat. Place the rest in the freezer. Place the glazed croissants on a foil covered tray and bake for 10-15 depending on how brown like them to be. When you want to eat the frozen croissants in the furture, simply take them out of the freezer and place them into the preheated oven.
- Voila! The croissants are finished! Now all you have to do is savour the warm buttery-chocolatey tastes in your mouth with a cup of tea!