Petits Pains au Chocolat. These classic French breakfast pastries with a centre of soft chocolate ganache are not as difficult as you may think to prepare and can even be made in advance.
This recipe begins with delicious brioche wrapped around gooey chocolate ganache. I have been making these great little breakfast treats since I was a kid.
Back then I just filled them with chocolate chips but today I use a chocolate ganache to fill the inside. Although it does take a little more time and effort, this method produces a much more soft and silky chocolate center.
These are meant to be served while still warm. What could be better for weekend brunch than to wake up to these, straight out of the oven.
Additionally, these will actually freeze quite well before they are baked.
First, lay out the prepared petits pains on a silicone baking pad on a cookie sheet. Freeze them solid before placing them in an airtight container and returning them to the freezer.
They can then be laid out on a cookie sheet in the fridge overnight to thaw before popping them into the oven in the morning.
For even more delicious ideas for brunch, we have put them together into one amazing collection of our 25 Best Scone Recipes.
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Originally published July 2010. Updated May 2019 to include a printable recipe card and add nutritional information.
For the Chocolate Filling
- 2 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
For the Brioche dough
- 4 cups flour
- 1 envelope of instant yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup real butter, slightly softened and near room temperature (NO SUBSTITUTES) Cut butter in about a dozen small pieces
- 1/2 cup whole milk, or for even richer brioche substitute undiluted evaporated milk
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate filling
- Gently melt the chocolate and cream together over low heat just until smooth. Do not overheat the chocolate.
- Spoon the mixture in 16 equal portions about 1x2 inches onto a parchment or silicone pad lined cookie sheet. Chill until the chocolate solidifies.
To prepare the Brioche
- In a stand mixer add the flour, salt, yeast and sugar. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and mix together just until the flour is incorporated, the dough will be quite tough and lumpy at this point, this is normal.
- Using the dough hook attachement for your mixer begin adding the pieces of butter as the dough turns in the bowl. Continue until all of the butter is incorporated into the dough. Continue until the dough is very smooth and elastic. Do not add additional flour.
- Cover and let rest and rise until double in volume.
- Turn the dough out into a lightly floured breadboard and knead for about 5 minutes before forming the dough into 16 individual balls.
- Roll out the individual dough balls to a half inch thickness and place one of the chocolate pieces on each portion of dough. Bring the edges of the dough together and pinch together to seal.
- Turn the petit pans over onto a silicone pad lined baking sheet so that the seams are on the bottom. I get only 6 to 8 pastries on each sheet. Remember to leave adequate room for the petits pains to rise and expand.
- Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise at room temperature for about an hour.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 -30 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving warm.
Nordicware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet (2 Pack), Silver
HIC Harold Import Mrs. Anderson's Professional Half Sheet Baking and Cooling Rack, Heavyweight Chrome, 16.5-Inch by 11.75-Inch, Silver
KitchenAid Professional 6 Quart Bowl Lift Stand Mixer with Food Grinder Attachment, Empire Red
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Amount Per Serving Calories 410 Saturated Fat 16g Cholesterol 83mg Sodium 293mg Carbohydrates 44g Fiber 2g Sugar 15g Protein 7g