Petits pains au chocolat are bite-sized pockets of rich dark chocolate encircled in buttery, flaky pastry dough perfect for indulging your sweet tooth.
One of the perks of living in San Francisco is that one is never far from freshly baked breads and pastries. My absolute favorite French pastries are pains au chocolat consisting of croissant dough studded with pieces of rich dark chocolate. Though I enjoy sampling house specialties, like the morning buns at Tartine Bakery or the macarons at La Boulange, I always find myself drawn to purchasing at least one pain au chocolat at each local bakery I visit.
Traditional pains au chocolat are typically quite large, which makes them tough to satisfy a quick craving without overindulging. I’d be kidding myself if I said I would save half for later. Unless by later we meant waiting until I was actually seated to eat the second half, in which case I have incredible self control. These petits pains au chocolate are the perfect bite-sized solution for indulging my sweet tooth in moderation and would be perfect for serving at a mid morning brunch or afternoon tea.
- 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry
- 12 Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares, cut in half
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- coarse sanding sugar
- Bring puff pastry to manageable temperature by transferring from the freezer to the refrigerator and allowing to thaw overnight.
- Unfold puff pastry and cut each sheet into three rows and four columns to yield a total of twenty-four equal rectangles.
- Whisk together egg and milk to make a simple egg wash. Brush pastry rectangles with a thin layer of egg wash.
- Place half of a chocolate square on the edge of each rectangle, roll up and place seam side down on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Brush the tops of each rolled pastry with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar.
- While the oven is preheating, freeze pans for at least 10 minutes prior to baking.
- Bake petits pains au chocolat for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until tops are a warm golden brown. For best results, rotate pans halfway through baking time.
- Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
I made half of the batch with plain dark chocolate squares and the other half with the dark & sea salt caramel chocolate squares. Though slightly less traditional, the caramel bunch were definitely my favorite. Feel free to experiment with different chocolates, just make sure to use semi-sweet or dark varieties as milk chocolate will not hold up to the high heat and may melt out completely.