Whether you call them pain au chocolat, chocolatine, or even couques au chocolat, there’s something about these delectable chocolate croissants that only seems to be achievable in France and Belgium. Everywhere else, you have two choices: tolerate sub-par imitations, or learn to make your own at home.
Sure, making your own chocolate croissant can be tricky, especially when making the laminated croissant dough (similar to puff pastry) from scratch. But with a little planning and patience (you’ll want to start work on them the day before), you really can enjoy these iconic French pastries fresh and still warm – all without leaving the house.
Chocolate Croissants Recipe
Chocolate Croissants ingredients
(for 8 servings)
- 500g flour (4 cups)
- 120ml water (½ cup)
- 120ml milk (½ cup)
- 50g cup sugar (¼ cup)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 packet instant dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 285g cold unsalted butter (1 ¼ cups)
- 1 egg (for a wash)
- 2 bars sweetened chocolate
Chocolate Croissants method
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, water, milk, sugar, salt, yeast and butter until all the ingredients join together and a rough dough starts to form.
- Turn the dough out onto your countertop and lightly knead it into a ball. Be careful not to over-knead it into a hard lump.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the refrigerator for one hour.
- Slice the cold butter into thirds.
- Lay the slices of butter out onto a sheet of baking parchment and place another piece of baking parchment over the top.
- Flatten the butter by beating it with a rolling pin, then roll the butter until it forms a roughly 18cm (7 inch) square about 1 cm (½ inch) thick. (If you’ve over-rolled it, or rolled it into the wrong shape, remove the parchment paper, trim the edges off the butter layer with a knife and place them back on top. Then cover with the parchment paper again and continue rolling.)
- Place the butter layer in the refrigerator and remove the dough.
- Lightly flour your countertop and unwrap the dough. Place the dough on the countertop and push the rolling pin into the middle of the dough, once vertically and once horizontally to create 4 distinct sections.
- Roll out each corner until the dough forms a 25cm (10 inch) square.
- Remove the butter layer from the refrigerator and lay it on top of the dough. Fold the sides of the dough over the butter layer so that it’s completely enclosed.
- Use your rolling pin to roll the dough again just enough to seal the seams. Roll it back and forth along a single axis so that the square starts to become a rectangle.
- Place the dough on a baking tray and cover it with cling film, then transfer it to the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- After that time, clean and lightly flour your countertop again, then roll the dough out until it’s about 20x60cm (8x24 inches).
- Fold one half of the dough into the centre, brush off any excess flour, then fold the other half over the top.
- Cover the dough and refrigerate again for another hour.
- On returning to the dough, turn it 90° so that you’re working from the adjacent side as before, roll it out, then fold again just as you did in step 14. Then turn the dough 90° again, and repeat. You need work quickly at this step so that the butter doesn’t get soft.
- Cover the dough with cling film again and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, unwrap the dough and cut it in half. Rewrap one half and return it to the refrigerator.
- With the other half, flour the surface and roll it into a strip about 20x100 cm (8x40 inches) long.
- Neaten up the ends of the dough by trimming them with a knife, then cut the strip into 4 equal pieces
- For each piece, place the chocolate on the edge of the dough and roll the dough over it so that the chocolate is tightly enclosed.
- If you want to make all 8 croissants now, take the other half of the dough from the refrigerator and repeat steps 19–21. Otherwise, you can leave it for later.
- Beat your egg in a small cup or bowl and brush the croissants with it. (Save the rest of the beaten egg in the refrigerator for step 25.)
- Leave the croissants to rise in a warm place for 1–2 hours and preheat your oven to 200°C / 400°F once they’re close to well risen.
- Brush the croissants with another layer of the egg wash before putting them in the oven.
- Bake the pain au chocolats for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Then leave them to cool for a couple of minutes, but be sure to enjoy them while they’re still warm.
We get it. Baking chocolate croissant at home can be daunting the first time (but worth it). If you’d feel more comfortable watching an expert – or even just a French person – do it first, then we recommend this great video recipe from Alex the French Guy.