You’ve read recently that one of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was the Essentials of French Cooking by William Sonoma and that the first recipe I tried was just fine. Nothing spectacular. While I was waiting for the Grueyere Gougeres to bake, I continued to flip the pages and found a great photo of Pain au Chocolat (or, in English, a Chocolate Croissant).
As you know, I don’t like to bake. I love to cook, but baking is a different thing all together. Baking is chemistry and cooking is art — and I’m no scientist. I figured I’d try something new and give it a shot. The recipe said roll out the croissant dough to a certain size — well, that’s not the start I was expecting. Luckily the end of the book had the recipe for croissant dough. The recipe for the Pain au Chocolat was very simple and straight forward, but the croissant dough, not so much. William Sonoma doesn’t put their recipes online (or if they do, I cannot find them) I did find this one if you’d like to try it yourself.
This recipe typifies why I don’t like to bake. Basically you make the dough, add the butter, fold, roll, fold roll then refrigerate for 45 minutes…then you repeat…then you repeat. I ended up spending almost all afternoon working on the dough for the croissants. Once the dough was prepared, I filled it with chocolate then waited longer for the croissants to rise — then finally put these in the oven. Good god this was a long process.
Both pans of croissants turned our very tasty. The first pan wasn’t quite as pretty as the second because I forgot to put the final egg wash on. I spent all damn day working on this then I forget the penultimate step. Again, this is why I hate baking.
The croissants were really good. I think next time I would add more chocolate — and I think I would make a double batch of the croissant dough and I’d put the extra dough in the freezer. It is such a process I don’t envision making these things all that often, but if I do, I’m going to double up the batches.
What have you recently made? Do you prefer to bake or to cook? What recipes would you recommend I use if I want to start baking a bit more? Do you love a Pain au Chocolate as much as I do?