First off I want to say that you to all of you who participated in the Blog Giveaway. I really loved reading all of your holiday traditions, and I think I may even steal a few ideas for this years holiday season. This morning I wrote everyone's names down on a piece of folded paper and drew from a hat, and Kate Stockman you are the winner! I will email you this week to get your address, and then the book is all yours! Thank you again for all the responses, it was such a blast reading them all.
Now on to a more foodie note, this past week was a crazy one. I mean crazy. I had one sick baby, and a huge to-do list that has been put on hold. But there is one thing on my to-do list that I was able to check off, and that is "making Pain au Chocolat", or chocolate croissants. I honestly can't take all the credit for these because this really was mostly the handy work of my sister Brittany. She is INCREDIBLE, and an insanely good baker. She is the chocolate croissant queen, and she is the featured baker of the day on this blog. I am not going to such much more than the fact that they were AMAZING, because there is a lot of directions on how to make these. The process itself is quite simple, but it takes a total of 2-3 days to make because of the rising time. But don't let that scare you, you must make these, or find someone who will because you will never want to taste another croissant again.
Pain Au Chocolat
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
This recipe makes about 16-20 large chocolate filled croissants, or 2 dozen regular rolled croissants.
2 cups cold milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 pounds (about 4 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
4 ounce (1 scant cup) unbleached pastry flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup sugar
3 packages active dried yeast (or 2 oz. fresh yeast)
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 pounds (5 sticks) Unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg, lightly beaten
8 oz good quality milk chocolate or a mix of semi-sweet and milk (1/2 oz per croissant)
Make the dough package; Heat milk to 110 degrees F. Stir in the yeast to dissolve, and let sit about 5 minutes until foamy. Stir in the honey. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir together 4 1/4 cups bread flour, the pastry flour, sugar and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the milk mixture. Mix until the dough just comes together, 2-3 minutes.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, gently knead to form a smooth ball, about 45 seconds. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.
Make the butter block. Lay the butter sticks side by side on a piece of plastic wrap, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup flour. Pound with a rolling pin until flour is incorporated, and roll into an 8-inch square. Wrap tightly, and refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight.
Remove dough package from refrigerator; place on a lightly floured work surface. roll out to a 16x10 inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick, with a short side facing you. Remove butter package from the refrigerator; place on the bottom half of the dough; fold the top half of the dough over the butter; pinch the edges good to seal.
Roll out the dough to a 20-by-10-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick, with a short side facing you; keep the corners as square as possible/ Remove any excess flour with a dry pastry brush. Starting at the far end, fold the rectangle in thirds as you would a business letter. This completes the first of three turns. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
Repeat rolling and folding process above, two more times for a total of three rolls, with an hour refrigeration time in between. After the third roll, wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 6-8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with the racks in the upper and lower thirds. Lightly brush croissants with the rest of the beaten egg. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the croissants are puffed and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temp.