Chocolate Filled Brioche Buns

An Easier Way to Make Pain au Chocolat

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These chocolate filled brioche buns are rich and buttery with a flaky crust. When served warm, they ooze a luscious chocolate filling! You can make these in a fraction of the time it would take to make croissant dough!

Back in July I published a recipe for Brioche Feuilletée, which are buns that are filled will layers of butter so that they puff up and become flaky in the oven. They are similar to croissants. While they are not as flaky as croissants, they have a rich buttery flavour that is almost exactly like a croissant. AND they take much less work to make!

When I was growing up, my family used to go camping around Europe in the summers. One of my absolute favourite treats for breakfast was a Pain au Chocolat. These pastries are buns made from croissant dough that are filled with dark chocolate. They can be eaten warm or cold, but I love them warm, because the then chocolate melts lusciously. Yum!

Since we liked the Brioche Feuilletée so much, I wondered if I could make it into a Pain au Chocolat. It took me three tries to get these right! The first time, they tasted good, but I wasn’t sure how much chocolate to put inside, and I didn’t put enough. The second time I made them, I changed my method slightly. Because the dough has so much moisture in it, I had trouble picking up an end to fold the dough in half, so I ended up rolling it into a log in one of the steps. After that I proceeded with the other steps as usual, except that I chilled them in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours before baking. This time when I baked them, they really puffed up! They were much more flaky, but they were huge!

I decided to try to make the buns one more time, to see if I could get the recipe right. I liked how flaky the buns got with rolling the dough into a log so I did that again. Then on a whim, I popped the log in the fridge to chill and harden the butter for 30 minutes. I also added one more tablespoon of butter to the recipe. Because they had puffed up so much the last time, I made 14 buns instead of 12. Once again I chilled the dough for 1 1/2 hours before baking.

This time the buns were exactly what I wanted. There were the right size and they were crispy and even flakier on the outside and they were soft in the middle. They had a rich buttery flavour and had the right amount of chocolate inside. It took me 5 1/2 hours from start to finish to make these, but most of it was rising and chilling time. The active time was only about 30 minutes. Compare this with croissants that take about 12 hours to make and involve a lot of pounding out of hard butter, these are much easier!

For the chocolate, I bought a big 500 gram bar of Lindt dark chocolate and cut it into strips of 3 squares for each bun. Any good quality dark chocolate would work.

If you would like to try them, here is the recipe. For those of you reading this over email, the recipe may not show up in the email. Click on the title of this post to go through to the website and see the recipe.

chocolate filled brioche buns
Yields: 14 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 5 Hr 15 Mins Cook Time: 12 Mins Total Time: 5 Hr 27 Mins
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Chocolate Filled Brioche Buns

These brioche buns are rich, buttery and flaky and filled with just the right amount of dark chocolate. Serve them warm for a luscious, oozing centre!


0/11 Ingredients
Adjust Servings


0/19 Instructions
  • Whisk together milk, hot water, vegetable oil and sugar in a large bowl. Liquid should be warm but not hot or it will kill the yeast. Whisk in yeast and let sit until yeast foams on top.
  • Whisk in egg yolks and salt.
  • Stir in flour a half cup at a time until you reach 3 cups. Then stir in a couple of tablespoons of flour at a time until dough comes together into a cohesive, but still sticky ball. I like to use my hands to I can feel the dough texture better.
  • Work the dough with your hand for a minute or two to develop the gluten.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, lightly coat the bowl in vegetable oil, then return the dough and turn to coat. Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size 1-2 hours.
  • Lightly coat your work surface in vegetable oil to prevent the dough from sticking, then turn the dough out onto the counter. Using your hands or a well greased rolling pin, gently stretch the dough to a rectangle that is about 18x20 inches in area.
  • Dot the dough with half of the butter, then use fingers to spread over the entire surface.
  • Starting at one end of the dough, tightly roll the dough into a log.
  • Spread half the remaining butter over one half of the log and then fold the log in half, encasing the butter.
  • Transfer dough to a lined baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove dough from fridge and transfer back to counter. Pat dough out to a thick flat rectangle and then cover half the dough with the remaining butter. Fold the dough in half once more to encase the butter.
  • Using hands or a well greased rolling pin, stretch the dough to a large rectangle, going as thin as possible without tearing the dough.
  • Cut the dough in half horizontally and then cut each half vertically into 7 strips, for a total of 14 strips.
  • Working with one strip at a time, place a strip of 3 squares of chocolate (about 24 grams) at one end of the strip. then roll the dough vertically into a log, encasing the chocolate in the middle. Transfer the rolled buns to baking sheets. 7 buns, per sheet.
  • Place baking sheets in the fridge and child for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 425 F/218 c
  • Before baking, brush each bun with the reserved egg white and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through, until buns are golden.
  • Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then serve or transfer to racks to cool completely.

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