These Easy Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate-filled Croissants) are the perfect holiday treat for breakfast, dessert…or both!
I made croissant dough one time. Key phrase in that sentence: one time. A good croissant is the stuff of dreams. Buttery, delicious, flaky. But croissant dough is anything but easy. Croissant dough falls into the category of ‘laminated doughs’ as the dough is literally used to laminate pieces of butter. Think about a laminating machine. You insert paper (i.e. butter) and then the machine laminates it with plastic (i.e. dough). Well, croissant dough is similar…pieces of butter get rolled in between layers of dough until the butter essentially becomes part of the dough. Then you just keep repeating that laminating step again…and again…and again. And, of course, more butter is added at each step. Butter is the not-so-secret weapon for creating a delicious croissant!
Back when we first moved up here to upstate New York, I took some professional baking courses at the local community college. You see, I was stuck in our tiny apartment in the middle of winter with a neighbor who fancied himself as a DJ. The vase on our dining room table would literally vibrate across the table when he was “practicing.” I needed an outlet, and Laura suggested looking into baking courses. I’ve always loved to bake thanks to growing up in a Southern kitchen, and those courses were the perfect outlet for me! And I also suspect that those courses contributed to me becoming a food blogger.
But let’s bring it back to the laminated dough used for croissants. I’d learned how to make croissants in class, so I wanted to repeat the process at home for practice. Hours upon hours later, I was standing in my kitchen nibbling on the most delicious ham and cheese croissant ever! But here’s the thing: most normal people don’t have hours upon hours to make croissant dough. Most normal people need shortcuts. And that’s where this Easy Pain au Chocolat comes in!
For this Easy Pain au Chocolat (loosely translated as ‘chocolate-filled croissant’), I used a package of puff pastry as the base. I still used that puff pastry to laminate pieces of butter, but it only took one round of laminating…way easier than the repeated rounds it takes when you make croissant dough from scratch! (Although, truth be told, making these Easy Pain au Chocolat kinda made me want to make the dough from scratch again. I enjoy kitchen projects like that…kinda like the time I made everything bagels from scratch. However, I suspect I might have to wait until Robbie is a bit older…like 18 years older…before I tackle those kinds of projects again. Hah!)
These Easy Pain au Chocolat take less than 30 minutes to make (not including baking time), so they can easily be made for friends or family during the holidays. Or you can make the entire batch for yourself. I won’t judge! I will say that these chocolate-filled croissants taste best when freshly baked, though. The tops are perfectly crispy and flaky, and you can pull them apart into layers upon delicious layers.
If you’re looking for a fun (and relatively quick) dessert recipe for the holidays, then I highly suggest these Easy Pain au Chocolat. You could even serve these for breakfast or brunch with a hot mug of coffee. I’m not much for chocolate in the morning myself, but Laura is all about chocolate in the am. (For me, give me a nice, strong coffee with a maple-glazed cinnamon roll, and I’m a happy camper!) However, when it comes to dessert, bring on the chocolate! No matter what time of the day you serve these Easy Pain au Chocolat, I can promise they will be a big hit! Enjoy, my friends!