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Jan 30, 2021

Chocolate Croissants (Pain au Chocolat)

These chocolate croissants (pain au chocolat) are perfect for sharing over breakfast with a cup of coffee. 

Chocolate Croissants stacked on a plate

This is my favorite dough for making croissants and pastries. It doesn't require a weekend's worth of work, and the dough is very easy to work with. 

You make the dough up to two days in advance and let it ferment in the refrigerator. On baking day, you wrap the dough around a butter block and begin rolling and folding the dough until you have completed three "turns."

Tips for making this chocolate croissant recipe:

To get flakey and shatteringly crisp croissants, you use a method called lamination, which is wrapping a butter block with dough and rolling it out and folding it up several times to make many thin layers of dough and butter. Professional bakeries use laminating machines, which make it easy. 

I like to use a marble rolling pin because it is heavy, which makes it less of a workout to roll out the dough.  

This recipe creates 81 layers of dough and butter, but you can add another turn if you want to for even more layers. 

Be sure to dust the underside of the dough while rolling it out to keep it from sticking to to prevent "leaking" of the butter. 

If you can, chill your work surface or roll the dough out on granite, or better yet, marble. Using a cool surface will help move the process along and keep the butter from getting too soft. 

Pain au chocolat on a cutting board

You can buy little chocolate batons for filling these croissants. You could also just fill them with pieces of chocolate bars. 

I am including an easy recipe for a mixture of butter and chocolate chips that you can mix, chill, and cut into the right size for filling these croissants. It gets nice and melty and is super creamy. 

Just melt the mixture in the microwave or in a double boiler, shape it into a block, chill it, and then cut it into batons. 

Chocolate croissant filling

To keep the chocolate from leaking out while you bake the croissants, make the batons slightly shorter than the width of the dough strips. 

Even though the chocolate was centered in the dough before baking, it "moved" over to one side while baking, mostly because these had big oven spring! These croissants are huge. 

While the dough for "regular" croissants is cut into triangles, this dough is cut into strips and rolled up around the chocolate. 

Chocolate Croissant dough rolled up

This recipe makes eight to ten mondo-sized pains au chocolate, depending on how you cut them. They got very puffy prior to going into the oven, and grew even more once they hit the hot oven. 

Make ahead tips and recipe variations for these croissants:

You can make and shape these croissants and then either refrigerate them or freeze them. Refrigerating them will lengthen the rising time, and you can bake them the next morning. 

If you freeze them, remove the frozen croissants at least three hours before baking so that they thaw completely. 

Instead of chocolate, you can fill these with ham and cheese, almond paste, or other savory ingredients. 

Fully baked croissants can be wrapped individually and frozen for later. Thaw them the night before and reheat them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes to recrisp. 

You can serve these dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with chocolate sauce if you like. 

Chocolate Croissants sliced

One of my favorite ways to eat these croissants is to save the chocolate for last. If I'm in a mood for sweetness, I peel apart the layers and spread them with jam. If I'm in a savory mood, I eat the layers as is and then finish with the chocolate filled "dessert" section. 

These chocolate croissants will make you (and everyone you bake for) very happy. 

This is an updated post: I first made this in September of 2012 for my former boss at work for her birthday. I was just getting into baking after remodeling my kitchen (she hooked me up with her designer) and discovering how fulfilling baking bread is. 

She had mentioned that she loved chocolate croissants, so I had to make these! She loved them!

This post has been updated with new photos, an updated recipe, and a printable recipe card. Plus, we have been enjoying these croissants for days. 

Chocolate Croissants on plates

This week, the Sunday Funday group is celebrating National Croissant Day! I guess it's a thing. To me, any day is croissant day! Our host is Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Sunday funday logo

Chocolate Croissants (Pain au Chocolat)

This recipe for the croissant dough is tried and true. I've made it several times and can attest to how easy and reliable it is. 

It's an adaptation from my favorite bread book, Artisan Bread Everyday, from Peter Reinhart, published in 2009. The panettone recipe is worth the price of buying this book. It's amazing. Plus, I love that he included and updated recipe for his struan in everyone of his books. 

If you only get one bread book, get this one. 

P.S. I have about 6 of Peter's books... so there's that. 

More Croissant Recipes:

Croissant Bread

Pretzel Croissants

Kouign Amann

Chocolate Croissants Recipe

Chocolate Croissants Recipe
Yield: 8 croissants
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
These chocolate croissants (pain au chocolat) are perfect for sharing over breakfast with a cup of coffee.


For the Dough
  • 595 grams (21 ounces/4 2/3 cups)  bread flour
  • 11 grams (2 1/2 teaspoons) coarse Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 198 grams (3/4 cups plus two tablespoons) cold milk
  • 1 cup  cool water
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
For the Butter Block
  • 1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
For the chocolate filling
  • 85 grams (3 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
  • 170 grams (1 cup) semi sweet chocolate chips
Egg Wash
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients for the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Pour in the milk, water, and melted butter.
  3. Mix with the paddle on low for one minute, then adjust the flour and water if necessary. Mix on low another 30 seconds.
  4. Mix on medium for 10 to 15 seconds. The dough will be sticky.
  5. Place the dough into an oiled bowl that is twice the volume of the dough, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
  6. On baking day, make the butter block. Cut the butter into 16 pieces and place them into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour.
  7. Mix on low with the paddle for one minute. Increase the speed to medium high until all the lumps are gone.
  8. Mist plastic wrap with spray oil. Pile the butter onto the plastic wrap and spray the top with spray oil. Cover with more plastic wrap.
  9. Shape the butter into a 6 inch square (about 1/2 inch thick). Square off the edges. Refrigerate while rolling out the dough.
  10. Generously flour a large work surface, set the dough on top of the surface, flour the top of it, and roll the dough out to a 12 1/2 inch by 6 1/2 inch rectangle.
  11. Place the butter block on top of one side of the dough and fold the other half of the dough over the butter. Seal the edges. If the dough begins to stick to the counter, dust more flour underneath.
  12. Dust the top of the dough with flour and roll the dough out to a 16 inch by 9 inch rectangle. Be sure to square off the corners.
  13. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. Transfer the dough to a quarter sheet pan or a large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate (if the butter seems to be getting too soft) or let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat two more times. 
  14. Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes before the final roll out. 
  15. Roll out the dough to a 32 inch by 7 inch rectangle. 
  16. Cut the rolled out dough into 3 1/2 inch by 7 inch strips. The dough will shrink to 6 inches long. 
  17. Cut the cooled chocolate into 3 inch by 1/2 inch batons and place them on the end of each strip of dough. Roll up the chocolate into the dough and place each onto a parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down, about 1 1/2 inches apart. 
  18. Cover the rolled up croissants with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 to 3 hours, until puffy. 
  19. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F and brush the dough with the egg wash. 
  20. Place the baking sheet in the oven and lower the temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through. The croissants should be fully golden with no white sections. If you have white sections, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and continue to bake. 
  21. Cool for at least 1 hour before serving. 
To Make the Chocolate Filling
  1. Add the butter and chocolate chips to a heat proof bowl and cook over a double boiler until fully melted. Alternatively, cook in 30 second bursts in the microwave, stirring in between bursts until melted.
  2. Pour the chocolate mixture onto parchment paper and shape it into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. 
  3. Cool in the refrigerator until hardened. 
To Make the Egg Wash
  1. Whisk together the egg, water, and salt. 



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Any nutritional data I provide is an approximation and actual dietary information can vary based on ingredients and portion sizes. This data is calculated by my recipe card.
croissants, pain au chocolat
Breakfast, bread
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More peter reinhart bread books:

Would you like to comment?

  1. These look gorgeous and flaky, Karen. I love pain au chocolat!! I have yet to muster enough courage to make homemade croissants. One of these days... :o)

    1. Oh Hanaa, thank you! Go for it. Seriously, they are quite forgiving amazingly enough.

  2. Hand a batch over my way, Karen...these are one of my favorite things of all time! Yours turned out beautifully - way to go! =)

  3. Those perfect, gorgeous, golden brown croissants need to be in a a bakery display. Oh my goodness Karen, you outdid yourself.

  4. What beautiful pain au chocolat! Thanks for joining the fun and for inspiring me to give these a try. Probably next weekend.

  5. They are absolutely beautiful! I've never tried to laminate dough, but I would love to. I need to set aside some time and give it a go!

    1. This recipe isn't as labor intensive as some, which is why I love it!

  6. I am drooling.... I adore pain au chocolate! Look at those gorgeous layers!

  7. I can't wait to try this. I have a dear friend that has never tried chocolate croissants and they are my favorite things.

    1. She'd be so impressed! They are a wonderful treat.

  8. What beauties, Karen! Pains au chocolate are my younger daughter's favorite. I need to make these for her!

  9. I don't think I could stop eating them!! Layers in the croissant looks so amazing, I wish mine would look that flaky!

  10. Of would be the one to make beautifully from scratch croissants! So perfect and dreamy and drool-worthy!!! Sometimes I hate you! Not really...I just want to have your way with bready yumyums!


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