Chocolate croissants are commonly known in France as “les petits pains au chocolat” (literally translated as little chocolate breads) or also called “Chocolatines” in various parts of France. They are a staple delicious snack or “goûter” for every French boy or girl after school and a tradition on Sunday mornings and probably a best-selling item in French bakeries along with the infamous croissants!
In Los Angeles, there are many good bakeries that carry them and some are more authentic than others. A good pain au chocolat is light, flaky yet very buttery (just like a croissant) and filled with a delicious chocolate bar. In the older days, we would just use a piece of baguette, smother it with creamy butter and insert a chocolate bar for a quick delicious snack.
If you cannot get to a bakery and would rather have your little pains au chocolat handy for Sunday brunch or breakfast then just head out to your local Trader Joe’s all over the USA and buy them frozen! Yes, they come in a little box of 4 and sell for only $3.99 which is about a buck for each. So far, I think they are the most authentic little pains au chocolat in the USA!
Here’s an illustrated journey of the instant pain au chocolat from freezer to oven. All you do is open the box, let the dough proof or rise overnight and bake for a delicious treat!
Step 1 – Open the box (This is how they look frozen straight out of the box)
Step 2 – Let rise of pastry sheet (Few hours later, they already start to swell & puff-up)
Step 3 – Let proof overnight (here they are fully risen in the morning)
Step 4 – Ready to go in the oven
And voilà! The final result is very close to the picture on the box!