Bailey’s Bakes: Pain au Chocolats, a Review

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Bailey Kane, Staff Writer

As an intermediate baker, I am always looking for baked goods that would help me gain new experience and skills. I most often bake bread such as sourdough and baguettes, but I decided to try something new: pain au chocolats. As soon as I saw that these croissants had 27 layers, I knew that I was in for a challenge. The pain au chocolat is a French dessert pastry that is composed of a croissant-esque pastry with chocolate in the middle. Although the origin of the pastry is unclear, the most popular theory is that an Austrian military official, August Zang, had imported them from Austria to France in the 1830s. He had baked them in his Viennese bakery in Paris, listing them under the name Schokoladencroissants, meaning croissants filled with chocolate. My experience in baking the croissants was beneficial to my knowledge and one that I recommend to any curious baker. For your ease, I have attached the recipe ( and some tips and tricks I wish I had known sooner.

Recipe: Alix Traeger’s from Tasty

The Dough:

Pastry dough can be tricky. When making the dough, be careful not to over-knead and stop once it is still slightly flaky but holds its shape. While I was making it, my dough seemed a little too flaky and couldn’t keep its shape as well as I had hoped, so I added about two tablespoons of water into a well at the center and that helped fix the texture. The dough can get very sticky when rolling out, so I highly recommend having a bag of flour at the ready to dust your dough and surface often.

Once you’ve reached steps 5 and 6 of the recipe, I’d recommend cutting a large rectangle of parchment paper and making diagonal slices on the corners until reaching the butter in the center. Then fold the parchment paper onto the uncovered portion of the butter to make an enclosed square guide for the butter to take shape in (this will make it easier to align with the dough later). Be mindful that the dough will be pretty solid out of the refrigerator but will soften once it has been worked with for a few minutes. Once you’ve placed the butter layer on top of the dough, roll the dough with a rolling pin and make sure to lengthen the dough, not widen it.

The Chocolate:

While the recipe calls for sweetened chocolate bars,  I didn’t have any pre-made chocolate bars on hand, so I melted down chocolate chips using a double boiler method* and froze them into stick shapes to create bars. This is an easy alternative and worked perfectly for my batch.

A Double-Boiler Method, WebstarauntStore

*A double boiler is a technique that is used by heating a pot of water and placing a heat-safe bowl atop it, making sure the water doesn’t boil. This heats the contents of the bowl, chocolate in this case, into a liquid consistency without risking it burning.


The recipe calls for the croissants to be baked for 15 minutes, but mine baked for 18. The baking time can differ by 3-4 minutes depending on the batch. As for baking sheets, I personally opted for a dark baking sheet to achieve a crispier pastry. To help you decide, consider the difference: a light-colored baking sheet will make sure that all parts of the dessert are evenly cooked while a darker baking sheet will absorb and distribute more heat into the bottoms of the dessert for a crispier bottom of the pastry.

Flavor Review: /5

It is a wonderfully light breakfast or dessert with the gently sweet (but not overpowering) croissant and chocolate giving it the expected sweetness of a dessert. Their flakiness gives it a light and airy texture (the excessive folding definitely paid off!), making it easy to eat two at a time. It was not too effort-intensive but was a bit time-consuming with waiting. If you have a weekend or any free time and a sweet tooth, these Pain Au Chocolats are for you!