I’ve got an extremely decadent treat for you today, one of my very favorite things to indulge in – chocolate croissants! Made with whole wheat flour, they are still just as full of butter as any croissant! YUM.
This was my second attempt at making chocolate croissants. I came to realize very quickly that the type of butter you use is very important in making a proper croissant. My first try, I used butter from the local creamery here, but it’s definitely a little more watery, so my croissants spread out like crazy when baked. They were still delicious but not very pretty. My second try, I stuck with my absolute favorite butter, Kerrygold. The rich, European-style butter, which is higher in fat than regular, American butter, makes the perfect croissant, with a crisp crust, and extremely soft interior. They carry Kerrygold at most of our grocery stores around here, so it’s just about all I buy now for butter! So good.
Chocolate croissants are one of my very favorite treats. Whenever we go to Vegas, I love getting them from the cafe in Paris. So far, those are the best croissants I’ve ever had, with the perfect amount of gooey, melted chocolate. My homemade croissants are just as good, especially when you heat them just slightly to make sure the chocolate is extra melted. 🙂
This recipe might seem a little intimidating, but it’s actual way easier than you would think! It does take a good bit of time, but most of it is inactive time, and the longer you take between steps while the dough chills in the fridge, the better the flavor your croissants will have. So you could basically just do one or two steps over a couple nights during the week, and have tasty croissants by the weekend! I’m impatient, so I like to do it all in one day, but now that I’m working a whole lot more often, making croissants in one day will be a less common occurrence.
You can always make a nice big batch and then pop some in the freezer for later! They freeze quite well, which always makes me happy. Nothing better than a warm chocolate croissant after a long day! 🙂
Have you ever made croissants? What is a recipe that intimidates you?
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk, warmed to 110-120 degrees F
- 1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour, with extra for rolling
- about 2 cups bread flour, more if needed
- 1/4 cup unrefined sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter*, cold, cut into pieces
- 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- kosher salt, for sprinkling (optional)
Pour the warmed milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, and sprinkle the yeast over top. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, until the yeast looks foamy.
Stir the white whole wheat flour, bread flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture, and mix on medium-low speed, adding more bread flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be slightly sticky.
Add the softened butter a little bit at a time, mixing until it is completely incorporated into the dough. Place the dough into a large bowl, cover, and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.
While the dough is chilling, place the cold butter chunks into the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for a couple of minutes, until the butter is smooth and fluffy (making sure it is still cool to the touch). Scrape the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap, forming it into a thin square (about 6x6 inches). Wrap the butter, and chill it for about 30 minutes.
Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface (using the white whole wheat flour), shaping it into a rough square. Press into the dough with the sides of your hands to create a diamond in the center of the dough, leaving 4 triangles on each corner.
With a rolling pin, roll out the 4 triangles to create flaps, and flatten the diamond slightly with the palm of your hand. Unwrap the chilled butter block and place it directly on top of the diamond, folding the flaps over the butter to cover it completely.
Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, sprinkling it with flour as you go to keep the rolling pin from sticking (brush off any excess flour with a pastry brush to ensure the dough does not get dry). Roll out the dough until it is thin enough that you can begin to see the butter through the dough, but not thin enough that the butter layer breaks out.
After rolling, fold the rectangle into thirds, like you are folding a letter to put into an envelope. Then, immediately roll the dough into a loose spiral, starting from the short end of the "letter." Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
After chilling, roll the dough out again, just as before, and complete the same fold and roll again. Rewrap the dough, and chill for at least 1 hour (can leave this chilling for up to 1 day).
On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a rectangle about 12x18 inches, dusting with flour as you go, brushing away excess with a pastry brush, to avoid sticking.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into thirds the long way, then cut each third into 6 smaller rectangles.
Divide the chocolate chunks evenly between all of the croissants, placing the chocolate across the center of each small rectangle, going across the width. Fold each rectangle, overlapping the ends loosely over the chocolate chunks. Place the folded croissants seam side down on two parchment lined baking sheets.
Cover the croissants with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, or place each baking sheet into a large, clean trash bag, inflating the bag so it does not touch the croissants, and pinning it shut with a clothespin. Allow the croissants to rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour, until they are puffy. They're ready when you poke them and your fingerprint remains in the dough.
While the croissants are rising, make sure your oven racks are in the top and bottom thirds of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Once the croissants have risen, uncover them, and brush the outside with the beaten egg. Sprinkle each croissant with kosher salt, if using.
Bake the croissants at 400ºF for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through, until golden.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Store any leftovers, tightly wrapped, for a couple days at room temperature, or in the fridge for about a week. They can also be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months. Heat in the oven to warm and remelt the chocolate for any leftovers!
*It is important, for best results, to try to use a European butter like Kerrygold or Land O'Lakes new European style butter. If you use a regular, American style butter, the croissants may spread a little bit more, but they'll still be just as delicious!
adapted from The Bonjon Gourmet