Pain au chocolate, though frequently found at your local grocer or bakery, is rarely made at home. Flaky, buttery croissant dough filled with rich dark chocolate and topped with salty, crunch fleur de sel. It’s like it came straight from heaven.
Since I had a bunch of leftover croissant dough from my Pain au Thanksgiving project (and really had no need for 24 Thanksgiving-filled treats) I used half of it for these delectably sweet treats.
Unfortunately, Mr Eats doesn’t like dark chocolate and I didn’t want him to miss out on all the delicious goodness, so I filled some of my dough with cinnamon sugar in place of chocolate. The result was remarkably delicious, like if a cinnamon roll and a croissant had a baby and then rolled that baby in cinnamon sugar. Seriously, what’s not to love?
This also gave me the opportunity to show you what happens when you don’t properly seal your pains. Some were actually much worse than my cinnamon snail below, but what can ya do? Just remember to seal your dough very well when you are rolling it up because once it starts to rise all bets are off.
So I filled my croissant dough with some delicious Ecuadorian Askinosie dark chocolate and others with cinnamon chips and cinnamon. Honestly, you can fill these things with pretty much whatever you want – milk chocolate, Reese’s cups, cookie butter, caramels, or even last night’s leftovers.
- ½ recipe croissant dough
- Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
- 10 ounces dark chocolate (or filling of your choice)
- Fleur de sel (for sprinkling)
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon (for filling and sprinkling)
- Cinnamon chips
- Remove croissant dough from refrigerator, unwrap and cut in half cross-wise. Re-wrap half of dough and place back in the fridge.
- Roll on lightly floured surface into a 16 x 12 inch rectangle, stretching as needed to maintain rectangular shape
- Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Stretch each square so that it is slightly elongated and place a small amount of filling of your choice into the center. If you go over 2 tablespoons of filling you will probably have a hard time rolling it into shape.
- Fold one side over the filling and wet it slightly with some water. Fold the other side over and press down firmly to seal.
- Place onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan, seam side down. Continue with remaining squares, I was able to fit 8 onto each pan. Once the pan is filled cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set in a warm spot to proof until doubled in size 1 to 2 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F and make an egg wash by whisking one egg with 1 tablespoon water.
- Right before you put the dough into the oven, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with desired topping (cinnamon sugar or fleur de sel). If you feel so inclined, you can sprinkle some shredded cheese on top for added flavor. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until well-browned.
To freeze raw:
Once you have filled and sealed the dough, you can place them seam-side down on a small baking sheet (that will fit in the freezer) and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for 1 hour until firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and return to freezer until ready to bake.
To freeze cooked:
Wrap cooled pains tightly in foil and place into a freezer-proof Ziploc bag.
To bake from frozen (un-baked):
Place frozen dough on parchment-lined sheet and cover with plastic wrap.Place on counter to rise overnight about 8 to 10 hours. Once doubled in size paint with egg wash prior to baking.
If you freeze croissants pre-baked:
Frozen croissants can be thawed overnight prior to reheating or taken from the freezer directly to the oven, in which case they will need a few minutes more to reheat. Bake for 10 minutes at 375F from thawed, add a few extra minutes if baking from frozen.