While my husband and I were in Oslo about a year and a half ago visiting the US Embassy for my Norwegian residency permit, we stopped by a little bakery on Oslo’s famous shopping street, Henrik Ibsens gate. As soon as I saw the colorful display of macarons in the window, I knew I had to go in. My husband agreed, and we ventured in to a cozy shop where we enjoyed warm cups of hot chocolate (it was the middle of winter, at the time, and very cold outside), macaron sampling, and some freshly baked pastries. Everything was delicious, and I couldn’t help but buy a small box of colorful macarons to take home. The entire time I was selecting my take-home box, my husband and I kept stealing kisses from each other and cuddling (yes, we can be that couple), when out from the back walked a man in a white chef outfit. In a very thick French accent he exclaimed, loudly for the whole shop to hear “Oh look at ze love birdz! Iz good to see such young love!” That, ladies and gentleman, was famous pastry chef Pascal Dupuy. I suppose I can now check “Get embarrassed by famous pastry chef for PDA with husband” off my bucket list. And on the eve of renewing my residency permit to reside in Norway, it seemed only fitting to take a page out of Pascal’s book (literally) and whip up some delicious chocolate croissants.
Chocolate Croissants (Pain Au Chocolat)
Yields about 15 pastries
For the pastries:
1 tbsp. instant yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cup milk
2 1/4 stick (250 grams) cold butter
For the filling:
1 bar (100 grams) dark chocolate
To begin with, I feel like I should say right up front that this recipe takes some time to make, about 5 hours to be exact, so it’s not something you can whip up first thing in the morning for breakfast. That said, don’t get discouraged! It takes so long to make because the dough needs time to “rest” which means you can do part of the recipe one day and finish it up the next, or just slowly work on it throughout your day. The raw croissants can also be frozen after they finish rising, so there will be plenty to save for later. Other than be rather time intensive, this recipe is super easy!
Start by combining your all purpose flour, granulated sugar, instant yeast, and milk in the bowl of a KitchenAid or other stand mixer. Don’t worry about proofing your yeast beforehand for this recipe; it should just go right in with everything else. Mix on low with a dough hook until the dough becomes a single lump and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl (about 5-6 minutes). Remove the dough from the mixer, set it on a plate, and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Let it rise for 1/2 an hour on the counter before setting it in the refrigerator to rest for an hour.
While the dough is rest, you’ll want to make a sheet of butter. For those of you that don’t have access to sheets of butter (like me), you can easily make your own! Simply take your cold butter and grate it over a piece of plastic wrap (I’m afraid I can’t take credit for this awesome ingenuity. It belongs to Top with Cinnamon). Once all of the butter is grated, arrange it into an 8 inch x 5 inch rectangle (or there about; it doesn’t have to be exact) and draw the sides of the plastic wrap over the top until the butter is completely covered. Press the grated butter until it forms a solid, thin sheet, and refrigerate it until the dough is done resting. Once the dough has rest for an hour, remove it from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface so that it’s just bigger than your rectangle of butter. Unwrap the sheet of butter and lay it on the dough so that the corners of the butter are at the halfway mark of each side of the dough. Draw the corners of the dough inward and fold over the butter so that it is completely covered. Roll the dough out to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, and fold in thirds. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for another hour in the refrigerator. After an hour, remove it from the refrigerator and roll it out to 1/4-1/2 inch and fold in thirds again. Cover and let sit for another hour.
After an hour, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into squares just wide enough to fit to small pieces of chocolate side by side. To keep there from being to much space in the middle of the pastry, I cut my squares of chocolate in two so that they were long but narrow (and in some cases, I just used left over chocolate chips). Place two chocolates side by side at one end of each square of dough, and roll the dough gently pressing the ends to seal. Place the pastries on parchment paper lined baking sheets, and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours (until they’ve puffed up but haven’t lost their shape).
Bake at 340* Fahrenheit (170* Celsius) for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. These are best served warm while the chocolate is still melted.
Recipe adapted from Pascal