Pain au Chocolat

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Recipe photo
Baking time:
Yield: 16 rolls

Recipe photo

Pain au Chocolat Sticks

These semisweet chocolate "batons" form the basis for the traditional Pain au Chocolat, a yeasted puff pastry dough wrapped around a stick of chocolate. You can also make a simple version of this classic recipe, using a soft roll dough instead of the puff pastry dough. For those of you who want your chocolate straight, these batons are also used by the French to stir their coffee; or you can just enjoy them straight out of the bag.

This is a favorite of French children (and those of us who never grew beyond that stage) as they stop into their neighborhood boulangerie on the way to school. The dough is the same as for the croissant. The method below for making the dough is somewhat simpler than the traditional process (fewer layers) but the result is a flaky marriage of the croissant with a French semi-sweet chocolate "baton." (For those of you who want them straight, these batons are also used to stir coffee in France, or you can just enjoy them right out of the bag.)

Pain au Chocolat

star rating (12) rate this recipe »
Baking time:
Yield: 16 rolls
Published: 01/01/2010

Ingredients

The dough

The butter

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold

Assembly

The glaze

  • 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt

Tips from our bakers

  • Use SAF Gold instant yeast if you have it--it's formulated for rich or sweet doughs and will help your dough to rise more quickly

Directions

The dough

1) In a large mixing bowl, stir together the water, sugar, two cups of the flour, yeast, salt and butter. Mix until fairly evenly blended.

2) Add the remaining flour and stir until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out and knead it until smooth and springy.

3) Place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until puffy. (The dough can be prepared to this point in a bread machine with at least a 1 1/2 pound capacity. Simply place all of the ingredients in the bucket, select Dough or Manual, and press start.)

4) After an hour (or the end of the cycle), turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, flatten it gently and fold it in thirds, like a letter. Place the dough in a lightly greased plastic bag that has enough room for the dough to expand, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until thoroughly chilled. (For best flavor, refrigerate it overnight.)

The butter

While the dough is chilling, prepare the 2 sticks of butter for rolling into the dough. Cut each stick in half lengthwise and place all four pieces on a floured piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Sprinkle flour on the top surface of the butter, cover with another piece of paper or plastic and gently pound it with a rolling pin until it becomes malleable. Then roll the butter out until it's about 6 x 9 inches. Wrap the butter well and put it back in the refrigerator.

Assembly

1) Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it's about 10 x 20 inches. Remove the butter from the refrigerator and place it in the center of the dough.

2) Fold the upper third of the dough over the butter and the lower third over the upper third (like a letter). Pinch the edges together so the butter is completely enclosed. Roll the dough out again until it's about 10 x 24 inches. This time fold the two ends so they meet in the middle and then fold that in half like a book.

3) Wrap the dough in lightly floured plastic wrap and refrigerate it again for at least 2 hours (or, you can leave the dough in the refrigerator for several days, until you're ready to use it).

4) To finish your Pain au Chocolat, remove the dough from the refrigerator, cut it in half and return one half to the refrigerator.

5) Roll the other half out until it's about 9 x 25 inches. Trim each edge to make it 8 x 24 inches. With a bench knife, cut the dough into eight 4 x 6 inch pieces.

6) Place 1 (or 2) pieces of chocolate at one end of each piece and roll it up into a tube. Place, seam side down, on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Press down on the tops of the rolls to flatten them into a rectangle shape. Cover and let rise in a warm place until they are light and puffy looking. Repeat with the remaining dough.

7) Just before baking, brush the egg/salt glaze over the tops of the Pain au Chocolat. Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool a bit before you bite into them; the structure needs a chance to set.

Reviews

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  • star rating 06/06/2012
  • Sarah d from KAF Community
  • These tasted great, but they didn't puff up very much, and I got a lot of butter melting out during baking as well. the egg wash on top browned very quickly, and started to flake off. so they look like the rolls burned, even though they were only in for 18 minutes. maybe next time i will try a milk wash instead.
    Laminated doughs may be one of those baking skills that needs nurturing - don't be dismayed by your first try. If the butter pieces are too large in the finished dough, then it melts out and puddles as you described. If you'd like more tips, call our Baker's Hotline (800-827-6836) or check the Baker's Companion - The All Purpose Baking Cookbook for details about Classic Puff Pastry - A Primer. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 02/14/2012
  • jennyta from KAF Community
  • Fantastic! I twisted the trimings and dusted with cinnamon and turbinado sugar. All of it was delicious. I'm amazed at how accessible this recipe really is. I will definitely be making this again and again.
  • star rating 02/14/2012
  • jennyta from KAF Community
  • Fantastic! I twisted the trimings and dusted with cinnamon and turbinado sugar. All of it was delicious. I'm amazed at how accessible this recipe really is. I will definitely be making this again and again.
  • star rating 12/23/2011
  • sbbquilter from KAF Community
  • Again this year when I ask kids (grown) what they want for Christmas morning it is this recipe. Perfect to nibble on while opening presents or playing board games. Thanks!
  • star rating 11/25/2011
  • sbbquilter from KAF Community
  • Absolute family favorite. When adult sons get home for the holiday we start the dough so that the next afternoon we can make the rolls.
  • star rating 11/16/2011
  • momofpjcv from KAF Community
  • These were delicious and really fairly easy. I used chocolate chips because I didn't have the cool sticks, but still delish. The only thing weird was that the butter seemed to melt out of the "croissants" while they cooked, so there were little puddles of butter when I pulled them out of the oven. Not sure if that was normal, and if it isn't, how to avoid that. Anyway - still great. My 10-year-old ate 3 in about 5 minutes. :-)
    The secret to keeping the butter from leaching out is to be sure that the dough is properly laminated. If there are pieces of butter that are too large in the dough, then they will melt out and puddle as you described. ~Amy
  • star rating 04/26/2011
  • spookys6 from KAF Community
  • I was doing good until the last roll out. And I used dough improver. It was a real fight & a mess. Tasted good, though. The only possibile solution I've come up with is a tad more liquid. Any insight?
    When a dough is snappy, even with a dough improver, it may have too much flour in it. Here is the method that we use to measure flour in all of our recipes: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/measuring-flour.html If you dip the flour out of the bag, you can end up with 20% too much. Frank @ KAF.
  • star rating 01/27/2011
  • Corir99 from KAF Community
  • Insanely delicious! Perfect recipe for a snow day. Will definitely make again.
  • star rating 01/15/2011
  • laureljc from KAF Community
  • Yum! I do wish the bread part of my pastries was a more consistent product. Some of it is very flaky and some of it is more bread-y. Is this because the dough is a shortcut for puff pastry (i.e. less folding, rolling, & chilling)? I'm going to try folding and re-rolling the other half of the dough to see if it helps.
  • star rating 11/03/2010
  • MamaTess from KAF Community
  • I just took my first ever batch out of the oven, tasted it (just to make sure they were good enough to serve to friends!) and it was so delicious! I got hooked on these while in France, and this recipe is just about as good as what I got in the bakeries there! I am definitely making these again, they are so worth the effort!
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