WEEKEND COOKING: CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS

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i have cooked many things in my 27 years of life, most of which have never given me as much satisfaction and have taken as much work as these amazing buttery flaky chocolaty croissants.  you see… I’ve always been enamored with the idea of one day owning my own bakery…where i would bake all sorts of french pastries and serve breakfast and lunch to all the locals, who i would of course know by name.  we would have fresh flowers delivered every week, serve foamy lattes and grace would pick fresh lavender from the garden behind the bakery for our lavender infused lemonade and lavender muffins…. ahh…

although i dream of owning a bakery, i don’t really bake much (mainly because it takes more time and focus than a dash of this and a pinch of that) but after recently watching a movie with meryl streep and steve martin (I seriously watched it 4 times and rewound all the cooking scenes- see the bottom of the post) i flirted with the idea of making chocolate croissants from scratch… and my dear friends…. i did!

this was not an easy task. i didn’t have an electric mixer or the fancy shmancy laminating machine that streep has in the movie.  it took ALL day but it was well worth all of the effort and calories!

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croissants

for the croissant dough (by hand):

  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 tbs. sugar
  • 3 tbs. warm water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup cold whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

for the butter package:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 16 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbs. whole milk

in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of the sugar in the warm water. let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

to mix the dough: in a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, the salt, melted butter, milk, the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup of the flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until blended. gradually add the remaining 2 cups flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix just until the dough comes together in a sticky mass (first three pictures)

PicMonkey Collage croissant

on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick… i didn’t have a measuring stick so i grabbed my husband’s handy-dandy leveler (whatever works right?). transfer the dough to a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 40 minutes.

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30 minutes into the chilling process make the butter package.  using the heel of your hand, knead the butter on a floured work surface to flatten it and warm it to about 60 degrees F. sprinkle the top of the butter with the flour and gently beat the butter with the rolling pin to press the flour into the butter. shape the butter into a 6-by-8-inch rectangle. if the butter has become too warm, wrap and refrigerate just until firm but still pliable (60 degrees F)

to laminate the dough (this just means to fold and roll the dough over and over to create the wonderful flaky layers) roll out the dough into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle on to a floured work surface. with a short side facing you, place the butter on the lower half, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. fold over the upper half to cover the butter and press the edges together to seal. then, with a folded side to your left, roll out the dough into a 10-by-24–inch rectangle. with a short side facing you, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. this completes the first turn. return to the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

return the chilled dough to the lightly floured work surface with a folded side to your left and repeat the process to make 3 more turns, rolling, folding and chill the dough eat time, for a total of 4 turns. after the final turn, refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or for up to overnight. (i waited 4 hours…this was when i rededicated my love to this incredible project and pushed through… 9pm i pulled these puppies out of the fridge)

to form the croissants, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a 9-by-18-inch rectangle. cut in half lengthwise, and then cut each half crosswise into 4 squares, for a total of 8 squares. cut each square in half on the diagonal.

croissant 3

lightly butter 2 sheet pans. working with 1 triangle at a time, gently stretch each triangle to about twice its original length (this is when streep pretends to wear the dough as a bra… she can do no wrong in my book!) then, gently stretch the wide end of the triangle. lay the triangle on the work surface with the point away from you. add about 1 tbsp of chocolate chips along the wide part of the triangle. place your hands at the top of the wide end and gently roll the pastry with the chocolate away from you. Just before you get to the end, smear the tip against the work surface with your thumb. continue to roll until the tip is on the underside. place, tip side down, on a prepared pan. repeat with the remaining triangles, spacing them about 3 inches apart. place in a warm, draft-free spot, cover loosely with a kitchen towel, and let the pastries rise until they double in size, about 1 1/2 hours (and then you wait some more…)

position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F

lightly brush the tops of the pastries with the egg mixture. bake the pastries, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. transfer to a wire rack and let cool on the pan. serve warm or at room temperature. store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. makes 16 croissants.

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voilà!

do you guys have a recipe that you’ve been wanting to try that’s incredibly time consuming but so worth the wait???

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what are your thoughts?