OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Snowstorm brings longing for Pain au Chocolat

Cheater Pain au Chocolat (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)
Cheater Pain au Chocolat (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

When faced with a pastry case full of croissants and pains au chocolat, I will choose the pains au chocolat every time.

Don't get me wrong, croissants are wonderful, but they're not filled with chocolate.

During the recent snowstorms, I found myself craving pain au chocolat — the craving was actually more specific than that: I wanted to sit at my window and watch the snowflakes swirl and twirl while sipping strong coffee and eating pain au chocolat.

What I did not want was to spend hours making a yeasted pastry dough and all that entails. So I did the next best thing under the circumstances. I opened my freezer and pulled out box of puff pastry.

Puff pastry, though similar, isn't exactly the same, but it worked great in a pinch. I filled mine with chocolate batons (chocolate sticks), but chocolate chips, chocolate chunks or even chopped chocolate bars will work, too. And about half an hour later, I was living my dream, snuggled up under a blanket with two dogs at my feet and with coffee and pastry in hand.

If eight pastries are too many to have around, use one sheet of puff pastry and half of the chocolate.

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Cheater Pain au Chocolat

  • Flour, for dusting
  • 2 (17.3-ounce) box frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for brushing)
  • 16 to 24 (3-inch) chocolate batons OR about 1 cup (more or less) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll each sheet of puff pastry into a 12-by-12-inch square. Cut each sheet into 4 (3-inch-by-12-inch) strips and brush with egg wash.

Working with one strip of dough at a time, arrange a strip of dough short side parallel with your work surface and lay 2 or 3 chocolate sticks on the end nearest you (or arrange 2 rows of chocolate chips or chunks) and then roll up dough, encasing the chocolate. You should have a thick, 3-inch wide roll of dough. Repeat with remaining pastry and chocolate. Transfer each roll, seam side down, to the parchment-lined baking sheet, 4 pastries per baking sheet.

Brush tops and sides of pastry rolls with remaining egg wash. Bake 20 minutes, or until pastries are golden brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Pastries are best served slightly warm the day they are made, but they will keep for a day or two in an airtight container. To refresh, heat in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes.

Makes 8 pastries.

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