Monday, April 12, 2010

Pain au Chocolat

One of my favorite results from starting my blog is seeing exactly how many other people are out there doing the exact same thing. I see all these bloggers that have been doing this for years and years and you can certainly see it reflected in their blogs. Now, I'm not going to get all self-deprecating and harp on how my blog compares, etc. I recognize I'm new at this and it can only get better w/ time, right? (Right, honey? How about that new fancy camera?)

This post is directly from one of my favorite vegetarian blogs - she's local too. I feel like I could run into her somewhere on the street (and no, I probably wouldn't have the nerve to introduce myself). It would be like spotting a reality star while you were out running errands..Snooki at Target buying hairspray or something. Not that I would peg her to have anything in common w/ Snooki. Is that weird? Don't answer that.

Anyways, every time Gabe recalls this trip he took as a child to France (here he is celebrating his 3rd bday one his first trip there - is he picking his nose?), he's forever telling me about how much he loved these pain au chocolat. Gabe's lucky enough to have some family from France and he had the opportunity to visit them for a summer and eat tons of real French bread and pains au chocolat. I never repeat that in person, by the way. I always say 'chocolate croissant' because, well: 1) I'm not French, 2) I don't live in France, 3) I don't speak French, and 4) I've never visited France. I took Spanish in high school. Thanks, Mrs. Gavilanes.

Another awesome thing blogging has forced me to do is branch out and cook things I probably wouldn't have tried to make without explicit instruction. Not because I was lazy (or maybe so, there will have to be a pretty good reason to ever spend my day making one of these again) but because I don't want to mess things up and throw away all that food. I'm cheap. And having a blog recipe w/ step-by-step instructions (something this blogger is famous for) takes some of the mystery and unknown out of the equation. Worse comes to worst, I can always ask somewhere out there in the blogging community and I'm sure I'll get some help.

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Best thing to do is get everything ready then take start working w/ the puff pastry. Get the chocolate cut up, sugar in a bowl, egg beaten w/ a splash of water. Have a baking sheet w/ parchment paper or silicone mat standing by too.

Then bust out the puff pastry - found in frozen foods section at the grocery store. Make sure the puff pastry is 'defrosted' overnight in the fridge. This isn't something you can cheat, you have to defrost overnight in the fridge. Flour work surface lightly and roll out to about 1/8".
Use the creases where the folds were and cut into 3 equal sections. Then cut each piece in half, then half again. Then brush each piece with egg wash.

Place chocolate on one end of the puff pastry. You can use your favorite chocolate. This batch is made w/ some Dark Midnight Espresso Theobroma chocolate my mother-in-law always gets us from her (and Gabe's) hometown of Sitka, AK. Love.

You can use chocolate chips if you want. Another variation is using fruit preserves. I've done fresh blueberries and sprinkled sugar on them too.

You may have to play w/ the position of the chocolate. You ideally want to end up with the seam side on the bottom.

Like this.

Brush w/ egg wash again and sprinkle w/ Sugar in the Raw (which, I didn't know is also know as turbinado sugar). Just any coarse sugar.

Aren't these little things cute? You can make both sheets if you're bringing someplace special.

Bakey bakey.
And 15 minutes later? These gorgeous little nuggets of joy (to quote Carrie).

So adorable. Enjoy!

Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants)

makes 12 mini croissants

Found on this post.

Make sure to thaw out the puff pastry overnight in the fridge.

1 sheet puff pastry
8 oz. dark chocolate
1 egg
2 tbsp. turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Get all ingredients ready. Beat egg with 1 tbsp water, have a pastry brush handy. Cut your chocolate into 2" by about 1/2" pieces. Oh, get the sugar in a bowl ready for sprinkling too. You want to work quickly with the puff pastry so it stays cold.

Unfold and roll out one sheet of pastry and sprinkle w/ flour. I rolled out a little thinner than how they come in the packaging - maybe a little thinner than 1/8"? Cut into 12 equal squares, they'll be a little rectangular. I just use the creases as guides. Cut there first, then cut each of the remaining 3 pcs in half, then half again. Brush with egg wash. Lay the chocolate on one end of the pastry and loosely roll. It's best if the seam ends up on the bottom. Place on baking sheet and brush with more egg wash. Sprinkle w/ sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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