I don’t store a lot of ready-to-eat snacks in the house, so whenever I’m in the mood for snacks I make myself do a few hours work to make something from scratch. This is the base recipe for a lot of those snacks.
The dough can be made into anything, really, but I typically do pain au chocolat as I always have a lot of chocolate stockpiled.
A more traditional puff pastry is made by making the dough then layering a full sheet of butter on it, but in this quicker recipe we incorporate the butter when making the initial dough.
Anyway, getting into it: I didn’t take any pictures of the actual mixing of the dough, since my hands were super sticky, but the pictures have most of the other steps.
- 8 oz all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 8 oz butter, cold, cubed into 0.5″ pieces
- 5 oz water, cold
- Chocolate, or filling as desired
- 1 egg, for the egg wash
- Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
- Add the butter. Using your hands, make sure each piece of butter is coated in flour. Squeeze the butter pieces down flat. You aren’t trying to dissolve the butter in the flour, but simply flatten out all the pieces. Try not to let the butter combine.
- Gently add the water while mixing the dough with your hands. You might not need to use all the water, or you might need some more flour. The final dough will look pretty messy, don’t expect a big steady glossy ball.
- Once the dough is stable, transfer to a lightly floured surface.
- Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, around 0.5″ thick.
- Using a bench scraper, lift up 1/3 of the dough and fold in.
- Lift up the opposite 1/3 of the dough, fold over the previous fold.
- You should now have an envelope. If you do the folds carefully enough, you can get pretty well-defined edges.
- Fold the dough one more time, the opposite way, to make the letter into a square.
- Cover in plastic wrap and store in fridge for 15-20 minutes.
- Roll dough back into a rectangle, repeat same folds as before. Return to fridge.
- Repeat entire fridge –> fold cycle two more times, at a minimum.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper or baking mat.
- Roll dough into a large rectangle again. Practice good follow-through with your rolling pin when hitting the edges of the dough, to get it all equally flat.
- Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut out 1 inch by 2 inch strips of dough, or desired size.
- Grab one of the strips. Place fillings on one side of the strip of dough. Pick up the edge near the filling, pull away from the dough a bit, then fold over the filling. Roll the length of the strip.
- Place prepared pain au chocolat on baking tray, assemble all cut-out dough strips.
- Once all are assembled, first brush some egg wash onto the place where the edge of each strip meets, to seal the pain au chocolat closed and ensure it won’t unroll.
- Place each pain au chocolat back down on the tray, so that the sealed seam is on the bottom. Give each a liberal egg wash.
- Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350F, and bake for another 20-30 minutes.
- Once they look a good golden brown, remove from oven and let cool completely.
You can do a lot of different shapes or treats with this same dough. From cutting an extra V onto each slip and folding into croissants, to using the dough as a base layer for a tart.