While living in France, my family learned to love some recipes that we really miss now that we’re back home. After some experimentation and a few boo-boos, success is mine!
Our first favorite is pain au chocolat. Roughly translated, it is chocolate bread, and it is a favorite breakfast food in France. It is also extraordinarily popular as an after school snack. This food is so popular, they sell them in plastic wrappers in packs of 8 or 10, just like our hot dog buns! Now, keep in mind that the French version uses a type of croissant dough that takes hours to make by hand. I found the following two methods give me a reasonable substitute that my family likes.
First and probably easiest is the crescent roll version. I open a can of crescent rolls, but separate the pastry into rectangles by keeping two of the triangles together. I press the seams with a moist finger to seal them together. One can makes 8 crescent rolls, so it makes 4 French pastries. I have a big family, so I need 4 cans. If you have a small family, you can make do with two cans. Next, take your favorite plain chocolate bars ( like you would use to make S’mores) and cut the bars into strips parallel to the short side, about 1/4″ wide. Lay out one rectangle of dough, and put two strips of chocolate on top, set in from each short end enough so that you can take each end and fold it over the chocolate. The edges of the two folds should touch in the middle of the pastry. Once you have folded the dough, turn it seam side down and go on to the next one. Once you have them completed, bake the dough as directed on the package. When they are done, pop them out of the oven and serve them warm. You can use dark or milk chocolate, but traditionally the French use darker chocolates than we do.
The second method is to buy frozen puff pastry squares and follow the rest of the instructions above. These are a little closer to the true texture of the bread dough used in France, but a little more costly to make.
With either method, you could substitute a line of chocolate chips for the strips of chocolate if you don’t have bars of chocolate on hand. Since it all melts in the end, it really doesn’t matter.