My daughter became a pain au chocolat snob during our spring break trip to Paris. Here is a homemade version you can make in your kitchen.
Author: Eva Bakes
1 and 1/2cupswatercan substitute with milk
4 and 1/2cupsall-purpose flourdivided
2 and 1/2teaspoonsinstant yeastalternatively, you can use active dry yeast. You'll want to mix this with the water/milk and make sure the liquid is warm. Allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes or until frothy.
2 and 1/2teaspoonssalt
4ouncesbittersweet chocolatechopped (you can adjust the amount based on how much chocolate you want)
1egg for glaze
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or in a large bowl if mixing by hand (or using a handheld mixer), whisk together the water, sugar, 2 cups of the flour, yeast, salt and softened butter on medium speed.
Add the remaining flour until a dough ball forms. Do not over mix this.
Transfer the dough to a well-greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise for about an hour until the dough has doubled. Then transfer your bowl to the refrigerator and allow it to chill for 8-16 hours.
Just before you are ready to take the bowl out of the refrigerator, you'll need to make a square of butter. Take your cold butter, cut each in half lengthwise, and arrange on a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Sprinkle the top of the butter with a little bit of flour and cover with another sheet or plastic wrap or waxed paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the butter into an approximate 8"x8" square.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it into a 12"x12" square. Place the butter at a diagonal in the middle of your dough. It will look like a diamond inside a square. Fold the dough into the middle of the diamond and pinch the seams as best you can.
Roll the dough into a 10"x20" rectangle. You'll now need to fold the dough into thirds like a business letter. Fold one third towards the center and then the other third towards the center. Rotate the dough by 90 degrees, roll the dough to a 10"x20" rectangle again and do the business letter fold once more.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Then repeat the process - roll it out to a 10"x20" rectangle, do the business fold, turn it by 90 degrees, roll it out to a 10"x20" rectangle and do another business fold. Wrap the dough once more and chill in your refrigerator for another 8-16 hours.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut it in half. Put half of it back into the refrigerator. Roll out one half of the dough into a 8"x24" rectangle. Then cut it into eight 4"x6" rectangles.
Put the chopped chocolate at the short end of one of the rectangles. Roll the dough up into a tube and pinch the seams to seal the dough shut. Gently flatten the tops of the dough and allow it to rise for about an hour or until doubled. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and with the remaining dough in the refrigerator.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Brush the tops of the pastries with your egg wash. Bake in your preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.
Allow the pastries to cool before serving.
Leftover pastries should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep for a few days. They will start to get soggy overnight. Pastries can also be frozen and thawed.Source: King Arthur Flour