Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ahhhhh croissants - old favorites and a chocolate trial

I held a croissant class recently, and, in preparation for that event, I baked a couple of croissants and pains au chocolat for class tasting purposes.

Just imagine that flaky, crisp exterior and lovely airy, not-quite-bready interior.  So good.




And for a special treat I had to do croissant aux amandes, bien sûr.  A big hit with the group.




In addition to the classics, I'm periodically on a path of discovering different things to do with croissant dough.  On one of my morning walks I started thinking chocolate, and, since I had recently finished a batch of chocolate pâte feuilletée, it seemed only natural to try croissant dough with a chocolate twist.

I made a half batch of my usual recipe, adding in some Dutch process cocoa powder (10% by weight of my flour amount) with the dry ingredients.  I increased the milk just a bit, since I find that cocoa powder tends to have a drying effect on dough.

the détrempe

In addition I worked some hazelnut flour into my butter block hoping to give it a nutty flair.  Yup!  Definitely wingin' it!!


hazelnut butter block


Ready for the beurrage . . . .




Finished dough after the three turns . . . .




Not long ago I added a new flexi-mold to my Silikomart collection and was itching to use it.  I had visions of dough spirals dancing in my head.  Even though these silicone molds are non-stick, I brushed them with soft butter so I could coat them with vanilla sugar before placing the spirals in to rise.




I rolled the finished dough out to allow for shaping a couple of typical croissants . . . .





plus a block of dough topped with vanilla sugar and mini chocolate chips . . . .




that I cut into 3/4" strips, rolled up into spirals and popped into my buttered/sugared molds.




I gave them a 1.5 hour rise . . .


after the rise

after the rise

and then on to the bake!  One thing's for sure - the chocolate makes it much more difficult to assess whether they've baked long enough, but I could appreciate some browning and the croissants had the "feel" of being fully baked (once you've felt it, you just know).


rather interesting, eh?




 I wanted to give the spirals a bit longer in the oven to make sure the interior layers were done.  I took them out of the molds, drizzled them with caramel, baked 'em another 5-10 minutes and called it a day.






Taste test time!!

Cutting into the croissant resulted in the hoped for shower of crispy exterior shards.  The inner laminations looked OK and the texture was good, but the taste wasn't much different from a regular butter croissant (although Steve thought it on the dry side).  And this is the key for me - minimal (if any!) chocolate flavor and no hint of hazelnut.  So much for that.




The spirals, however, offered a pleasant, crispy caramelized texture and flavor, and the mini chips added just the right touch of chocolate.


.





In the end, this attempt at chocolate croissant dough was not worth the effort.

Perhaps an increase in the amount of cocoa powder, or adding the chocolate to the butter block rather than the détrempe might make a difference, but at this point I'll stick with the classic dough from here on out.

Chocolate bread pudding here I come!




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