Pain au Chocolat

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There are few things that I am capable of giving my undivided attention: a new episode of Game of Thrones, an enthralling book, and baked goods. Typically, when I bake it’s an easy process requiring the mixing of dry ingredients with the wet, sticking the batter or dough into the oven, and moving onto something else until the timer screams for me. When I found myself with a free day last week—meaning all six boys were out of the house—I took advantage of it. Chocolate croissants, or Pain au Chocolat, has been on my “to-bake” list for a while, but put off due to them being a labor of love requiring time and attention I didn’t have to give.

I chose this recipe that involved making your own dough (because where is the love in a can of Pillsbury rolls stuffed with some pieces of chocolate?*).

It proved to be a laborious feat.

After three failed attempts to get the yeast activated, I persevered and went on without the foamy bubbles the recipe called for. I spent the next several hours rolling, waiting, rolling, and waiting some more before it was time to form the croissants and wait again. While I waited, I cleaned the inevitable mess of flour and butter, and watched the clock.

*I’m not entirely opposed

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Veering slightly from the recipe, I added some additional flavor to compliment the chocolate by using a mix of semi-sweet chocolate chips with a chopped up ‘burnt caramel.’ Before rolling the triangle, I sprinkled the mixture into a T-shape (at the top and down the center) because I knew I would hear about there “not being enough chocolate.” For another slight elevation in taste, after the second egg wash, I topped each croissant with a slightly generous dash of sea salt.

Due to the inactive yeast, I spent the six hours of prep time concerned it was a wasted effort. It wasn’t until I turned the croissants halfway through their baking time that I knew that I had prevailed. Though the recipes states the croissants should be nearly twice as big (I couldn’t imagine eating a bigger croissant, as a decent person at least), they did not lack in the desired layered texture or sweet buttery flavor.

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The boys were overjoyed to come home to a plateful of flaky dough stuffed with chocolate and somehow restrained their teenage appetites, allowing the pastries to last through dessert before being devoured at the next-day’s breakfast.

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Note: If you are short a rolling pin, a wine bottle works nearly just as well.

x Natasha

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