Friday, January 01, 2021


My love for breakfast pastries is well known. There is something so special and comforting in enjoying warm pastry filled with molten dark chocolate, especially with a cup of coffee.
As I always say, making any viennoiserie is a labour of love. It does require a bit of time and patience, but it rewards with many buttery, flaky layers.
Speaking of layers, this is one of the easiest methods to make laminated dough, as it uses softened butter, which is much easier to spread and work with. However, using it also makes thorough chilling of the dough a necessity.
Another thing to keep in mind is to use block butter, not the spreadable variety, as the latter contains far too much water for it to be successfully used in baking.
On a final note, I love serving these with doppio espresso and a tall glass of icy cold hazelnut milk. They can be further embellished with a chocolate drizzle on top, if you are so inclined, but they are just as beautiful and delicious all on their own.

For the chocolate dough
200 grams plain flour
150 grams strong bread flour
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
200 millilitres tepid water
50 grams demerara sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon salt
20 grams unsalted vegan block butter
For the lamination
180 grams unsalted vegan block butter, at room temperature
For the filling
200 grams dark chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids), chopped into shards

Sift both types of flour into a large bowl, sift in the cocoa powder and the instant espresso powder, add the salt, and whisk it nicely. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water, sugar, vanilla, and the yeast. Using a wooden spoon or a sturdy spatula, start mixing the dough in a circular motion, starting from the centre. Once the dough starts to come together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead it by hand for about 2-3 minutes, until it becomes smooth and supple. Because every flour absorbs water differently, you might need to add another tablespoon of plain flour as you knead, if the dough sticks to the surface.
Once the dough is smooth, add the butter, and knead it into the dough. It will take a few minutes for the dough to absorb it fully, so have patience with it. When the dough is ready, cover the top with cling film, and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, divide the softened butter into three equal parts, and prepare it for lamination.
After the dough has rested, roll it out into a rectangle that is about 5 millimetres in thickness, approximately 45x15 centimetres. Spread one third of the softened butter all over the dough, then fold one of the shorter sides a third towards the centre. Fold the remaining dough, on the opposite side, over the folded third, to create a nice little rectangle. Wrap the dough into a large sheet of cling film, and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface, turn it 90 degrees to your right, so the short end is towards you, and roll it out again to about 5 millimetres. Repeat the buttering, folding, and chilling two more times, wrap the dough snugly in cling film, and let it rest and rise overnight in the refrigerator.
When the dough is ready, roll it out in the same fashion as before, into a large rectangle. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough into eight triangles. Make a small vertical cut in the centre of the wider end of the croissant, place a portion of the dark chocolate, and then roll the croissant towards the narrow end. Let it naturally roll onto the pointed end, and arrange them onto a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment. It is important that the croissant is resting on the pointy end, the seam, so it stays nicely rolled while baking. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel, and let them rise for about an hour at room temperature. They will not rise significantly, but they will puff up. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 15-18 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Serve immediately. Yields 8 croissants.