Dark Chocolate and Hearts is this month’s challenge for Dessert Wars. Dark Chocolate is quite possibly my favorite food. So it broke my heart when during my pregnancy with Sophie I had a food aversion to chocolate. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t get enough of pinto beans of all things, but chocolate? No thank you! Weird huh?
I can think of several really easy ways to use dark chocolate and hearts, but since the reason to compete in Dessert Wars is to “step outside your comfort zone, push yourself in the kitchen to learn new skills and get your creative juices flowing,” I decided to attempt something I have on my Foodie To Do List. That is to work with laminated dough. Even if you don’t know what laminated dough is, you’re certainly familiar with it if you’ve ever had a croissant, Danish or anything made with puff pastry.
Lamination is achieved by spreading butter over rolled out dough, folding and rolling out again. This rolling and folding process is repeated until the dough has many layers. The butter in between these layers of dough create the flakiness and lift in the baked dough. And it sure makes it yummy too! There’s only one way to make it any better, that’s right, add chocolate…and hearts! I’m making Pain au Chocolat, you can join me every step of the way or just scroll down and see the pictures.
By the way, I love the name Pain au Chocolat. French names sound so fancy, but translated it just means chocolate bread. I think I’ll start naming everything in French. How do you say peanut butter and jelly sandwich in French?
|Pain au Chocolat|
|Détrempe (Dough Mixture) Ingredients|
|1/2 cup warm whole milk (110-115 degrees)|
|1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons sugar|
|4 teaspoons active dry yeast or 1 tablespoon instant yeast|
|4 cups all-purpose flour|
|2 teaspoons salt|
|1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces|
|1 cup cold whole milk|
|Beurrage (Butter Mixture) Ingredients|
|3 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in. pieces|
|2 tablespoons all-purpose flour|
|1 large egg|
|1 tablespoon whole milk |
1-2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
or 24-48 chocolat batons for filling the rolls
Writing Chocolate, optional (click for recipe)
Step 1 Make the détrempe: Whisk together the warm milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Mix in the yeast and leave until the yeast is activated, around 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it starts to bubble and grow. In a large bowl add the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and butter. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using forks or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like bread crumbs. Add the yeast and cup of milk and stir together with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball. Lightly flour your counter and knead the dough until it comes together a little bit more. Don’t knead too much because there will be a lot of rolling and folding done to the dough later. Wrap the dough in plastic cling, but not too tight since there is yeast in the dough it will expand. Refrigerate for at least a half hour or up to an hour.
Step 2 Make the Beurrage: Toss the butter with the flour and stick back in the fridge for 20 minutes. Using a mixer, beat the butter with a medium speed until all the butter is smooth and pliable. It must stay cold too! Wrap the butter in plastic cling and refrigerate until needed.
Step 3 Incorporating the Beurrage with the Détrempe: Lightly flour the counter. Place dough on the counter and lightly dust the top. Roll the dough into a tall rectangle measuring 15x12 inches. Try to make the edges straight and the corners sharp. You can gently stretch the dough to achieve this. Brush off the extra flour. (Extra flour will make for a very dry, tough dough so remember this throughout the whole process.) With your eyes, divide the dough into thirds as if each third was a section of a folded letter. Using your fingers, spread the butter over the top two thirds of the dough, leaving a half inch border around the outside of the dough.
Step 4 Using the Letter Fold: Fold the bottom third of dough over the middle third of dough as if you were folding a letter. The empty bottom third of dough will be resting over the butter of the middle third. Finish the letter fold by folding the top third down. Very lightly pinch the seams together and carefully roll your rolling pin over the dough to seal the seams. As long as your butter is still cold, you may proceed with the next step. If not, wrap the dough in plastic cling and return to the refrigerator for an hour.
Step 5 Using the Book Fold: Lightly flour the counter. Place dough on the counter and lightly dust the top. Roll the dough into a tall rectangle measuring 20x12 inches. Dust off extra flour. Fold the two short sides of the dough into the middle leaving a space of 1/4 inch between the two. Then fold both sides together like folding a book. Roll the dough gently to seal the seams. Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Step 6 Another Letter Fold: Lightly flour the counter. Place dough on the counter and lightly dust the top. Roll the dough into a tall rectangle measuring 20x12 inches. Dust off extra flour. Fold the dough using the letter fold. Gently roll to seal edges. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours. You could freeze for up to a month instead.
*This is a really good place to stop for the day. That’s what I did.
Step 7 Cutting and Shaping the Dough: Flour your counter then roll out the dough to a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick, about 26x14 inches. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough in to 3 1/2 in. x 4 1/2 in. rectangles. For each rectangle, do the following: visually divide the rectangle into thirds as you did with the letter fold before. Place a half tablespoon of chocolate on the top third and fold the top third over the chocolate to the middle. Place another half tablespoon of chocolate where the top third meets the middle and fold the bottom third over the chocolate. Turn the roll over so that the seam is on the bottom.
*The rolls can be frozen at this point. Just cover tightly with plastic cling and freeze for up to a week. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before moving on to step 8.
Step 8 Egg Wash and Proof: In a small bowl, beat the egg and then add the tablespoon of milk. Brush each roll with the egg wash. Save the egg wash in the fridge. Set the rolls in a cool spot in your kitchen to double in size for 1-2 hours. Don’t let them get warm!
Step 9 Baking: Move your oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Put the rolls in the refrigerator until the oven is preheated, at least 15 minutes. (You could leave them in the freezer for 10.) Brush again with the egg wash. Bake for 17-22 minutes turning the pan halfway through. You know their done when they are a rich golden brown. Allow the rolls to the rest on a cooling rack before devouring. Drizzle with writing chocolate or pipe decorations.
*Baked rolls will only last one day, but you must keep them unwrapped. To keep longer, wrap each pain well with plastic then put them all together in a large freezer bag. They can hibernate in your freezer for up to a month! Then just thaw them for about 30 minutes then bake them for 7-8 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Now I know there’s a lot to do here, but nothing is very difficult. I think the hardest thing for me was rolling out the cold dough. As far as it being time consuming, yeah, it takes a lot of time, but most of that is spent in the fridge. Trust me, if I can find the time to do this with a infant and a toddler, then with a little planning probably anyone can. Just make sure you read the instructions really well before you start.
I definitely recommend finding the chocolat batons to use. They should make things easier. I couldn’t find the chocolate that I really wanted to use, so I just used semisweet chocolate chips. Instead of keeping them whole and lining them up on the dough, I tried to chop them in my food processor and it chopped them too fine. It was a mess. So keep that in mind. But I will definitely order some batons for next time. Nevertheless, these were amazing! I will make these again many times.
Congratulations to January’s Dessert Warrior
Heather of Girlichef who made
Congrats also to January's Runner Up
Xiaolu of 6 Bittersweets
The February prize package includes: