Pain Aux Chocolate (Chocolate Croissants)
- 2 1/4 cups ice cold water
- 4 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1 large egg
- 6 cups bread flour*
- 6 tablespoons Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons soft butter
- 5 sticks (2 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, European style preferred, very cold
- 2 (12 oz) bags premium chocolate chips, about 50% cocoa content
- 1/4 cup Imperial Sugar Confectioners Powdered Sugar
*Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer combine ice cold water, yeast, and egg. Add flour, sugar, salt, vanilla and soft butter. Do not add the 5 sticks of cold butter yet! Using a dough hook mix to a very firm and elastic dough, about 5 minutes on low-medium speed.
- Remove from machine and place dough on a plastic food film lined cookie sheet. Cover dough with plastic and place in freezer for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile unwrap very cold butter and place sticks next to each other on a large piece of parchment paper.
- Using a rolling pin, pound butter until is the size of a standard size piece of copy paper. (8x11 inches). Place in refrigerator to make cold again.
- Remove cold dough from freezer. Using a small amount of flour roll to the size of 2 sheets of paper.
- Place cold butter on very left side of rolled out dough. Flip right side of dough onto butter.
- Roll dough to 4 sheets of paper long. Fold dough into 3 by folding left one third of dough onto middle one third and folding right one third onto the middle. Place in freezer for at least 1 hour or in refrigerator for 2 hours.
- After 1 hour chilling, repeat step 7 completely.
- Once again after 1 hour chilling repeat step 7 completely.
- Allow dough to chill at least one hour. Cut dough in half and leave one half in refrigerator.
- On a lightly floured surface roll dough into a rectangle 21 inches long and 10 inches wide. If the dough starts to get soft, place it on a cutting board or cookie sheet in freezer for about 10 minutes. This will keep butter layers intact and ensure a flaky product.
- Now dough will be cut in pieces which are close to size of a smart phone. Cut rectangular piece of dough lengthwise in half. Crosswise cut dough in 3 1/2-inch pieces.
- Place about 12 chocolate chips into each croissant. Roll each piece from bottom end towards top.
- Place croissant with seam on bottom. Press well on surface of croissant. This will keep croissant from coming loose on bottom seam and unfolding during proofing process. Press firmly and place on parchment lined cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.
- Repeat with remaining dough.
- Cover croissants with plastic food wrap and place in a warm place until pastries have almost doubled. Do not be tempted to proof them quickly in a preheated oven. Croissants need to be proofed in a room of approximately 75°F or butter layers will melt into dough. If room is colder, it will just take a little longer to proof.
- When croissants have gained about 60% in volume turn on oven to 400°F.
- Beat one egg and a tablespoon of milk or water and brush croissants very gently with egg wash. Place in oven for about 18-22 minutes or until well golden brown. After being in oven for 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 350°F.
- Croissants should be a minimum of deep golden and well browned in many areas. Under baked croissants will not be flaky crisp.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Keeping the dough very well chilled between folds is crucial to obtain flaky croissants. Dough which is not properly chilled will get soft and make the butter layers penetrate the dough instead of remaining separate. It is the perfect layers of butter which create the flakiness.
To reheat after frozen, take them out of the freezer and let thaw at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. Then place them in a 340°F oven for about 7 minutes until crisp and flaky.