Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chocolate Croissants-Oh. Dear. God, are they amazing.

I should start out by sharing that I am not a baker.  I have only recently mastered box brownies, and that took years of practice.  Luckily for me, I have some amazing friends in my life who actually ENJOY the exact science and timing of baking.  I know, crazy, right?  

So, here is what happened.  In June, some of my friends and I went on a cruise.  It was really relaxing, fun, and really just a huge food fest.  When we returned to the cruel reality where there was no longer endless supplies of delicious food always at our disposal, there were definitely some withdrawal symptoms.  One thing that my two girls, Allie and Christine, and I particularly pined after were the chocolate croissants-pictured right.  After auditions for a show at our community theater, Barley Sheaf, the three of us were lamenting about how much we missed chocolate croissants warming in the tropical sun, getting gooey and warm, and how we wished we could make them here.  And luckily for us, we mentioned our craving in front of the right person.  Turns out, our friend, Jan, who is an incredible cook and baker, knew how to make said treats and was willing to teach us! 

The butter
The butter, after it had been smashed

A lovely day in September that turned from sunny to stormy set the scene as we rolled the day away.   Jan had pre-made the dough for us because it needed to rise.  The recipe came from Rose Barenbaum's cookbook, The Pie and Pastry Bible.  I may link that recipe eventually, but since it magically appeared for me, and I'm really tired, I'm going to leave it out for now.  If you are desperate for it, message me and I'll share!  He made enough for us to make 72 croissants and we did every step three times, so we got a lot of practice!  Our first step was pounding some butter.  Ok, more like a boat-load of butter...  I think it was a little over 3 lbs all together. 
S liked the butter pounding!
A 7.5" square of butter

Folding the butter
 After pounding the butter mixed with a little bit of flour, we used saran wrap to help contain the butter as we kneeded it, and then formed it into a 7.5" square.  This then went into the fridge and we made 2 more.

 After we stashed the butter squares in the fridge, we divided the dough that had been in the refrigerator over night into three equal parts.  We took the first portion and started rolling it out on a floured mat (with a built in ruler, bonus!)  We rolled it until it formed an 11" square.  


Once we had the dough in a square, we took the butter out of the fridge and while it was still wrapped up, we placed it diagonally on top of the dough, making a diamond in the middle.  
 We used a long, flat knife to mark the edges of the butter, and then removed the butter.
Once you take off the butter, use a rolling pin to roll out the corners and make them longer. 

Once it looks like the pictures above, kind of like a crazy star, we unwrapped the butter and put it back in the "butter square", spritzed the corners of the dough with water, and then folded them in to make a square butter package.

We then put this package in the fridge and repeated two more times.  Afterwards, we took the first one out again and rolled it out to be about 10"x22" rectangle. 

Once it was rolled out, we tri-folded it like a letter.  It was then wrapped up in saran wrap and put in the fridge. While this is cooling, cut up four bars of bittersweet chocolate.  We actually only had three and improvised with some dutch chocolate sprinkles for the last batch, but four probably would have done it. 
We cut these pieces in half one more time, too.
We did this to each butter package, and repeated the rolling and folding a total of four times each.  The dough then needs to rest in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.  We could only wait for one, because, come on, this was taking all day and we really wanted to eat some chocolatey, buttery goodness.
  When you take it out, it will be all poofy.  The fourth roll should be a little bigger, about a 10"x24" rectangle.  We then cut the rectangle into a total of 24 squares.  The last assembly step was taking two small pieces of chocolate, placing them on the long edge of a piece of dough, and rolling them up, sealing the edge with a little spray of water.  They were then placed seam side down on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  

      Finally, they are almost ready for the oven.  All you have to do now is brush them with an egg wash and then Jan's secret to not burning all of your hard work.  Spray them with a little water, and spray some in the oven as well!  Bake them for 10 minutes at 390 degrees, then switch the top and bottom pans and checking them every 5 minutes thereafter.  If you have an internal thermometer, it should reach around 205 degrees.  
 When you take them out of the oven, and God, do they smell divine, cool them on a baking rack until you can't stand it anymore.  Then enjoy the flaky, buttery, chocolate perfection.
They may be one of the best things I have ever tasted.  Baking all day with your friends is awesome, but when you create something so incredibly delicious, well, there aren't many things better.  I conquered my fear of baking, all with the help of some wonderful friends.  Good luck if you tackle these, bring along some friends, some snacks, and enjoy!



  1. Talk about labor of love! They look incredible. What a fun project for a rainy day!

    1. They we're definitely worth it, but certainly more fun with friends!

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  3. Hopefully someone will make these for an Alice cast party. I LOVE chocolate croissants!