In France, they offer up this glorious concoction of fresh yeasty bread bursting with rich, dark chocolate inside. It is called Pain au Chocolat. Yes, it is as amazing as it sounds. I used to buy it from street vendors for 4 francs– that was about eighty cents at the time. Total bargain. It wasn’t as fancy looking as the delicate croissants or as elegant as the carefully rolled crepes… but, oh, it had my heart at the first bite.
I’m pretty sure, given the right recipe and adequate time and focus, I could bake up authentic pain au chocolat. I’ve not tried, but I probably could.
In the meantime, I’ve come up with this super fast, deconstructed knock-off that can be whipped up in less than a half hour, just like my Cinnamon Roll Bread in < 30 Minutes. Hooray for quick decadence!
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup warm milk
- 1/2 tablespoon yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon cooking oil (canola, vegetable, or melted coconut)
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 tablespoons cold butter
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon milk (give or take– frosting and glazes are always best made by feel)
Pour water and warm milk in large bowl and sprinkle yeast and tablespoon of sugar over the surface. Allow to sit for a few minutes to get foamy. Add in oil and salt. Start stirring in flour (I just use a big wooden spoon), and continue adding until a stiff, but still a bit sticky, dough ball forms. Place dough in a greased or oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Place in a warm place (e.g. your oven at its lowest setting is fine) and let rise for 15 minutes.
While that’s happening, combine cold butter, flour, sugar, and cocoa in a small bowl and cut together using a fork, a pastry cutter, or your fingers. You’re forming a buttery streusel-y textured material here. Set that aside.
Whisk together glaze ingredients and set aside.
By now, your timer’s probably gone off, so grab your bowl of dough and punch it down. It won’t be super-puffy, and that’s totally fine. Press the dough into a greased 9″ round baking pan. (If it keeps “shrinking” on you, just let it rest for a few minutes, then try again.) Sprinkle the topping mixture all over the surface of the dough. No need for a second rise here. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
While still warm, drizzle or pour the chocolate glaze over the surface. You’re done! Slice into wedges and enjoy!