This post has been sponsored by Challenge Butter. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Chocolate Croissants, or pain au chocolat in French, are a special treat to start making with your family as a holiday tradition and a delicious make ahead idea for breakfast any time of year!
With flaky buttery layers wrapped around melty chocolate, these pastries are amazing served warm with a mug of hot chocolate or coffee for dipping. Bake up homemade Chocolate Croissants with your family and bake up memories at the same time!
Baking holiday treats and memories
With rich chocolate wrapped up by layers and layers of the flaky buttery pasty thanks to Challenge Butter, purchased at Safeway, these homemade pastries have a LOT to enjoy. A special treat that can be made ahead-of-time and popped in the oven to puff up in minutes, Chocolate Croissants are a family tradition that makes memories and Christmas breakfast at the same time!
Chocolate and pastry do count as breakfast, right? Okay, good. Just checking.
How to make Chocolate Croissants
Making croissants from scratch may be a bit intimidating and not the first thing that comes to mind when considering cooking with kids. But, with these tips, the right tools, and the right ingredients, you and your family can totally do it!
Cold dough is an absolute necessity for flaky croissants, so there is a lot of chilling time. But don’t let the long times throw you off! The actual process of making these stunning pastries is simple and perfectly suited for enlisting the help of little hands.
Tools + ingredients
Stop by Safeway to pick up everything you need to make a batch of perfect homemade Chocolate Croissant. Just make sure to hit up the Just for U app first to check for exclusive coupons to save off the already low prices!
- Heavy rolling pin – makes rolling out chilled butter and dough much easier
- Parchment paper – necessary for rolling out chilled butter
- Ruler or tape measure – size matters! Measure both the butter square and the dough for the flakiest layers possible
- Kitchen thermometer – for accurately warming the milk to the right temperature to make the yeast happy
- Chocolate – chunks, sticks, squares, or chips would all work. Just pick up your favorite chocolate for baking or eating. No need to purchase anything specific
- Great quality butter
100% real Challenge Butter has been churned from the freshest, purest cream from California dairy farms for over 100 years. And the fresh, clean taste and beautiful, creamy color is always my choice whether making special pastries like this or just cooking breakfast for my family. Check out the Just for U app for amazing savings on Challenge Butter at Safeway!
Step by step instructions
Cold dough is a necessity for flaky croissants, which means the majority of the time spent making homemade croissants is spent chilling. Which means if you start in the afternoon then let them rise overnight while you sleep, you can wake up to warm Chocolate Croissants in only 20 minutes.
- Make dough + chill at least 1 hour
- Meanwhile, make butter square + chill at least 1 hour *perfect for little helpers*
- Laminate butter square into dough. Then roll + fold + chill at least 2 hours (1st fold)
- Roll + fold again then chill at least 2 hours (2nd fold)
- Roll + form croissants *perfect for little helpers*
- Place on prepared baking sheet and let rise slowly in the refrigerator 10-16 hours
- brush with egg wash + bake 18-20 minutes *perfect for little helpers*
Make ahead breakfast pastries
- One option is to make the dough in advance – make dough in step 1 and refrigerate up to 1 day or freeze up to 1 month rather than only chill for 1 hour. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator 12 hours before adding the butter square and rolling.
- Another option is to make the croissants in advance – roll, form and let rise slowly for the full 10-16 hours, then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet until firm. Transfer to a freezer bag or vacuum seal for up to 3 months. Then when the craving for a warm Chocolate Croissant hits, simply thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes and bake as directed.
Chocolate Croissant Recipe
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 1 cup chocolate chopped
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 3 sticks unsalted butter Challenge Butter preferred
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Make the dough
- In a small saucepan fitted with a thermometer bring milk to 110 degrees F over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, combine 2 ¾ cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- When milk reaches temperature remove from heat and slowly pour down the side of the bowl with mixer running on low.
- When combined increase speed and continue turning until dough comes together in a ball in the middle of the mixer. Then, either switch to a dough hook or knead by hand 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic adding as much of the remaining ¼ cup flour as necessary to keep from sticking.
- Place croissant dough in a lightly greased bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- While dough is chilling make butter square. Lay down a large sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour in the middle. Place butter over flour and sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon flour over top. Then place another sheet of parchment to cover. To bring together and slightly soften the butter whack it a few times with a heavy rolling pin. Then roll into an 8″ square and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Once butter and dough are fully chilled roll dough into an 11″ square on lightly floured surface. Place the chilled butter square diagonally (like a diamond) in the middle of the dough square.
- *it is CRUCIAL that the butter and the dough do not mix together during any of the next steps so if either are starting to soften or warm up at any time immediately place back in the fridge to chill before proceeding*
- Fold the corners of the chilled dough up over the butter bringing the points together in the center. Pinch all seams to seal then starting from the center and working outward roll out to a 14 inch square, dusting with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking. Fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter, to form a rectangle then fold in thirds again to form a square. Wrap in parchment and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Roll chilled square out again to a 14 inch square using a heavy rolling pin and your strength and again fold in thirds to form a rectangle and in thirds again to form a square before refrigerating again for at least 2 hours.
Make the croissants
- Once fully chilled and rested roll dough out into a large 20″ square. If still chilled after rolling continue otherwise refrigerate again until chilled and firm. Cut square in half then cut each half into 6 cross sections (cut in half horizontally and then cut each half into 3 even pieces).
- Working with 1 rectangle at a time, sprinkle a tablespoon of chocolate into a small mound at one end then roll the dough up around the chocolate and place, seam side down on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let rise slowly in the refrigerator, 10 to 16 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and brush croissants with egg. Then bake until golden brown and puffy, 18 – 22 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.
- Drizzle with chocolate or dust with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm or at room temperature.