Hazelnut Pain au Chocolat

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Hazelnut Pain au Chocolat

star rating (3) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

These soft, lightly sweetened rolls harbor a secret: dark chocolate, hidden in their centers. Pain au chocolat (chocolate bread), a soft, chocolate-filled yeast roll that’s a favorite after-school or morning treat in France, is given a twist here by adding a hint of hazelnut flavor. Leave out the hazelnut if you like, and make them purely vanilla and chocolate–nothing wrong with that!

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 ounces)   lukewarm water
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) butter
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons strong hazelnut flavor OR 2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur 100% Organic Whole Wheat Flour*
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons (1 1/8 ounces) potato flour or 1/3 cup dried potato flakes
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

*We like the added color and flavor organic whole wheat gives these rolls, but leave it out and substitute unbleached all-purpose flour, if desired.

12 to 24 pain au chocolat sticks* (about 4 to 8 ounces)

*Substitute any dark chocolate bar, if desired, cut into pieces about 3” long x 1/2” wide by 1/4” thick.

1/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) coarse white sanding sugar
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut flavor or 2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead–by hand, mixer, or bread machine–to form a soft, smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature, covered, for about 90 minutes. It’ll become puffy, but won’t double in size.

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into four equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, flatten/roll the dough into a 13 ½" x 4" rectangle. Stack two chocolate sticks atop one another (making a double-thickness stick). If desired, use a single stick; though here at King Arthur we believe the more chocolate, the better! Place the stacked sticks lengthwise along the top long edge of the dough, spacing them about ¾" in from one end. Take another two sticks, and place them next to the first two along the top edge of the dough, leaving about 1 ½" between the two stacks. Repeat with another two sticks; you’ve now lined up three sets of chocolate sticks across the top long edge of your dough.

Roll the dough lengthwise, enclosing the sticks. Pinch the lengthwise seam closed, and pinch both ends closed. Use a sharp knife or baker’s bench knife to cut the strip of dough into three pieces, cutting between the chocolate bars; you can feel with your fingers where to cut between the bars. Pinch the ends of each roll to seal, and roll them under your fingers to smooth them out. You now have three rolls with chocolate sticks sealed inside. Repeat with the remainder of the dough and chocolate sticks. For soft-sided, pull-apart rolls, place them in a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan. For free-standing individual rolls, place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 ½" between them. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and let rise for 90 minutes. They won’t double in size, but will become puffy.
Note: Save those clear plastic covers that you get when you order a party platter or large deli tray from the supermarket. They make great proof covers! Use them to cover your pan of rising dough just like they covered your tray of cheese and cold cuts or appetizers.

About 15 minutes before the rolls are done rising, preheat your oven to 350°F.

Combine the coarse sugar and hazelnut or vanilla in a closed container, and shake to distribute the flavor. Brush each roll with a little milk or cream, and sprinkle with the flavored sugar.

Bake the rolls for 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and after 5 minutes transfer them to a rack to cool. Serve warm. The chocolate will harden as the rolls cool; so if you want to serve rolls later, and still enjoy melting chocolate in the center, reheat them briefly (about 15 seconds in the microwave) just before serving.
Yield: 12 rolls.


  • star rating 01/04/2010
  • Jennifer from Dallas
  • This is a great recipe; everyone loved it, and I'll definitely make this again. My only (minor) complaint is that the dough was a bit sticky and hard to deal with when I kneaded it. I used vanilla flavoring instead of hazelnut, and I cut up a Hershey's Dark Chocolate bar for the filling. For the topping, I used regular granulated sugar and vanilla extract, and it worked fine - not as pretty as the picture, but it still looks good. Thanks, King Arthur!
  • star rating 04/03/2009
  • Mari-Mary from Monument, Colorado
  • These lucious, soft little pillows of chocolate are wonderful! Much easier than a more traditional Mille Feuille type of dough, but more of a lightly sweetened roll than a flakey pastry. As the previous reviewer did , I used KA white whole wheat flour rather than the organic whole wheat called for. Plus, I used cold plain mashed potatoes also, since I didn't have the potato flour or flakes. I did add the hazelnut flavoring, and I did use the KA Pain au Chocolat sticks. For the topping, I used Turbinado sugar for the larger crystals, and flavored it with the hazelnut flavoring. Since I was delivering these to friends and family in the morning, I made them the day before--all the way to forming them and placing them in the 9x13 pan. Then I refrigerated them overnight, set them out in the morning for about an hour, and then baked them as instructed. Great oven spring! All those changes to the recipe, PLUS I live at 7300ft above sea level, and they still turned out perfectly!! That's a KA recipe with KA ingredients for you!!
  • star rating 03/18/2009
  • Joanne from Pacific Northwest
  • I made these using White Whole Wheat Flour in place of the whole wheat, and vanilla extract in place of the hazlenut flavoring (my husband doesn't care for hazlenut flavor). I also used organic sugar in the topping, which is a large, coarse crystal, pale brown sugar. They are HEAVENLY! The Barry Callebaut chocolate sticks have a rich dark flavor and the rolls are tender, but not overly sweet. These have become a real favorite in my family. I think your directions for rolling out the dough are far more complicated than it needs to be, however. I just roll the dough into the rectangle, cut it into 3 pieces, place the chocolate sticks on one edge of the dough and roll up. Then I place them seam side down in the pan. I don't bother to pinch the ends closed, most of the time they pop open anyway. The chocolate doesn't leak out or burn, so it is no problem, and this way is a lot faster. Just make sure that the dough pieces are wide enough to cover the ends of the sticks by about a half inch. I will have to try them with the hazlenut flavor, which sounds yummy too!==