Black Sesame Pumpkin Pie

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This is what you do when you have extra black sesame paste.

INGREDIENTS

Crust
1 1/4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup refrigerated black sesame paste
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Filling
2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the chilled black sesame paste into the dry ingredients.  Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork. Form a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges.  Freeze for 30 minutes while you preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove pie shell from freezer. Line pie shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack for about 20 minutes. Remove parchment paper with pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes more until it is slightly browned.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes while you make the filling. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, heavy cream, spices, and salt until smooth. Return the pie shell to the baking sheet and pour in the filling.

Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges of the filling are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Lemon & Black Sesame Rolls

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I love anything that can be made the night before and taste this good. I borrowed tips and tricks from every baker I know.

INGREDIENTS

Tangzhong
71 g water
71 g milk
28 g flour

For the Dough:
500 g all-purpose flour
100 g sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
7 g kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
115 g unsalted butter
115 g milk
115 g unsweetened yogurt
Zest of 2 lemons
approx. 10-12 tablespoons of heavy cream to pour on top of rolls before baking

Filling:
1 cup toasted black sesame seeds, finely ground
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Zest of 1 lemon

Frosting
225 g  cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250 g powdered sugar
20 g fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Tangzhong: Combine all of the starter ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from the heat, and set it aside to cool.

Dough: Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and baking soda until thoroughly combined. Add tangzhong and stir.

Melt butter over low heat, then stir in milk, yogurt, and lemon zest. Add this to flour mixture and stir to combine. With the hook attachment, knead on low for about 15 minutes.

Cover bowl and set aside until it doubles in size.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 12-inch square. Spread the black sesame filling evenly over dough to form a log with seam side down.

Using twine (so you don’t mush the roll) cut it into 1″ slices and arrange in a 9″ x13″ pan lined with parchment. Cover with foil and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.

Filling: Toast sesame seeds slightly.   Let cool and grind in a spice grinder or food processor. Add the sugar and pulse again.  Place the sugar and sesame seeds into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment and add softened butter and lemon zest.  Mix until smooth and combined.  Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. You can refrigerate this in advance. Before using, bring to room temperature to ensure it has a spreadable consistency.

Frosting: Add softened cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add vanilla, lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Mix on low and then increase speed until smooth.   Should take about 5 minutes.

Bake: In the morning take rolls out of refrigerator and let come to room temperature while you preheat oven to 350F.  Pour heavy cream over rolls before baking (1 scant tablespoon over each)/ Bake for about 30 minutes with aluminum foil on and then remove and bake for another 15 minutes until browned. Frost when they are still warm and serve as soon as you can.

 

Birthday Cake

All of these birthdays just give my obsession some legitimacy.  The cake is from Amy Sedaris. and the frosting is from Emma Laperruque and Food52.

INGREDIENTS

Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk

Chocolate Frosting

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (85 grams) natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cups (513 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 cup strong, cold coffee, plus more as needed

DIRECTIONS

Cake

Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. Pour in sugar and beat well. Add 2 eggs. Mix well. Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk. Beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into two 7″ cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Frosting

Make the chocolate frosting. Combine the butter and cocoa in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix until smooth, scraping down as needed. Add the vanilla and salt. Mix again. Alternately add the powdered sugar and coffee, beating until light and fluffy. (If it doesn’t start to fluff up, it may be too warm. Chill for a little while until thicker, then beat again.) 

Set the first layer on your serving platter or a rotating turntable if you have one. Add about 1 cup frosting on top and spread evenly (I like an offset spatula best here). Top with the second cake layer. Add another 1 1/2 cups frosting to the top and spread evenly over the top, then the sides. Add more frosting as needed. Use the offset spatula or a spoon to create swooshes. Slice and eat or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

 

Concha Pan Dulce

I love baking treats from different cultures.  I can’t believe it has taken me this long to make these Mexican sweet breads. I used this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

Concha Dough

3 tablespoons warm water

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup melted butter

1 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup white granulated sugar

3/4 cup evaporated milk (you can also use regular whole milk)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 large eggs, at room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Food Coloring Gel

DIRECTIONS

Concha Dough
To the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the hook attachment (you can also do this in a large bowl and knead it by hand!), add the warm water. Pour the active dry yeast on top and mix in into the water. Allow to stand until foamy, about 5 to 7 minutes. If it doesn’t get foamy then you’ll need to do it again.
When the active dry yeast is foamy, pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, granulated sugar, evaporated milk, salt, vanilla, ground cinnamon and eggs. Break up the eggs with the back of a spatula and allow the dough hook to mix it up a bit, about 30 seconds.
Next, pour the flour in all at once and run the machine for about 5 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is soft and smooth. If you’re doing this by hand, once the dough comes together, you’ll want to dump it out onto your floured counter and knead it for about 10 minutes, until it’s nice and smooth.

Rub a large bowl with oil or spray it with cooking spray and place the dough in the center of the bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Topping
In the bowl of stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment (you could also mix this by hand if you don’t have a mixer), add the butter, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth, about 1 minute.
Divide the dough in two. To one part of the topping, add a drop of food coloring gel. To the other topping, add the cocoa powder and knead until it’s cohesive.

Assembly
Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Or better yet, weigh them into balls of 100g. Form the balls of dough into rounds. Repeat until you’ve worked through all of the dough.
Take about 2 tablespoons of the topping and rollout using our palms, flatting it into a thin round. Drape it over the round of dough, patting down lightly. Using a knife, cut grooves in the topping like a clam shell. You can also do other types of cuts like criss cross, circles, etc. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool. Serve with hot chocolate or coffee.

Coconut & Macadamia Muffins

Because it’s Monday and it’s been a while since I’ve made some muffins.

INGREDIENTS

212 g flour
100 g sugar + 25 g sugar for topping
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
227 g milk
50 g vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425F.  Spray muffin tin with baking spray.

Chop coconut and macadamia nuts and toast them until browned. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, & baking powder in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Fold in half of the toasted coconut and macadamia nut mixture.

Fill muffin cups.

Combine the 25g of sugar with the rest of the nut mixture and sprinkle on top of muffins before baking.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

On The Fence Brownies

Thanks to my friend, Helen from Bakers Anonymous for turning me on to this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (227g) unsalted butter
2 ¼ cups (525g) sugar
1 ¼ cups (155g) Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups (180g) flour
1 cup (170g) chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine.

Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (110°F to 120°F) but not bubbling; it will become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth, then add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies for 28 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The brownies should feel set on the edges and in the center. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

 

Black Sesame Milk Bread

I made two loaves of Japanese Milk Bread from Food 52 with some black sesame paste from Studio Baked.

Tangzhong:

6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons bread flour

For the rest:
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
320 grams bread flour, plus up to 30 grams more
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk or milk powder (optional)
2 eggs, 1 for the dough and 1 for the egg wash
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 splash milk or water, for the egg wash

For the black sesame paste:
½ cup toasted black sesame seeds, finely ground
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened

INSTRUCTIONS

Tangzhong
In a small saucepan, whisk together 6 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of bread flour until no lumps remain. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. It should thicken to a gel-like consistency after just a few minutes. As soon as lines appear in the mixture when stirred, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a small, clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature.

Next, heat the milk briefly to just above room temperature, about 110° F or lukewarm to the touch. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.

In the meantime, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the bread flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl or a measuring cup, whisk together the tangzhong, cream, condensed milk (or milk powder), and one egg.

When it’s ready, add the yeast mixture to the wet ingredients, and whisk gently, just to incorporate. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in all of the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a loose, shaggy dough, then switch to using your hands. Knead for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough forms a semi-smooth ball. The dough will be quite sticky — sprinkle the extra 1/4 cup flour, a tablespoon or so at a time, over the dough and your hands as you knead to keep it from sticking too much. I usually use at least 2 tablespoons and often up to the full amount, but you may not need it all.

Add the butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time, kneading after each addition. Add the second tablespoon of butter only after the first has been evenly incorporated. The dough will be slippery and messy at this point, but just keep kneading and it should eventually form a soft and pliable dough that’s easy to work with. Knead for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a large bowl with plenty of room and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until well doubled.

Once the dough is doubled gently deflate the dough and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each piece into a ball and roll them out into an oval using a rolling pin on a well floured surface. Fold the right side (lengthwise) over to the middle and then fold the left side (lengthwise) over to the middle so both sides meet but are not overlapped. Roll the dough out into an oval again and then spread with black sesame paste. Starting from the edge of the short side, roll the dough up into a cylinder like you would roll up a sleeping bag.

Place each piece seam side down in the prepared loaf pan and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover and let rise for another hour or so. After about 40 minutes, preheat the oven to 350° F. When the dough seems ready, test it by pressing it gently with one finger; when the indentation bounces back slowly but remains visible, the dough is ready to bake.

Whisk your second egg with a splash of milk or water, and brush the egg wash over the dough. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden-brown on top. Internal temp should be 200 degrees F.

For the black sesame paste: 
Finely grind the black sesame seeds in a spice grinder or small food processor. Add the sugar and softened butter. Pulse to make a paste. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside.

You can refrigerate this in advance. Before using, bring to room temperature to ensure it has a spreadable consistency.

Baker Bettie’s Baguettes

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I keep trying new recipes and I like this one a lot.  I decided to brine the breads right before they went in the oven and it was delicious.

DIRECTIONS

Poolish
89g bread flour
89g water slightly warm (about 90 F)
1g quick rise yeast

Dough
209g bread flour
62g all-purpose flour
163g water, slightly warm (about 90 F)
1g quick rise yeast
6g Kosher salt

Brine
3g kosher salt
40g warm water

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the Poolish:
The night before making your baguettes or at least 6 hours before, make the poolish. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the poolish. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours, but preferably 8-10 hours.

Combine the Dough:
In the morning, add the rest of the ingredients for the baguette dough into the bowl with the poolish. Stir until well combined. It will appear as if there is not enough liquid at first, but as you work it together it will become a sticky dough. You may need to use your hands to knead it slightly to hydrate all the flour. As soon as all of the flour is hydrated and you have a shaggy dough with no dry spots, cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let it set at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Stretch and Fold:
After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, you will do a series of three stretch and folds with the dough. With the dough still in the bowl, lightly dampen your hand (this will prevent the dough from sticking) and pull on one side of the dough and stretch it up and then fold it down over the top of the dough. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and do the same with the next side. Do this again until you have stretched all four sides of the dough up and over on itself. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 more minutes. Stretch and fold the dough for the second round. Cover and let rest for 30 more minutes. Stretch and fold for the third round. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 more minutes. This is a two hour process from when the dough is mixed to when it is ready to be shaped. Four 30 minute resting periods with three stretch and folds in between.

Prep the Oven & Other Equipment:
During the final resting period, prep your pans and your oven. Position one oven rack in the very bottom position in the oven and another rack in the middle position. Place a cast iron skillet or another heatproof skillet on the bottom rack and a baking stone, baking steal, or a sheet pan turned upside down on the middle rack. Preheat your oven to 500F (260C). You want your oven and pans to be heating for at least an hour before the bread goes into the oven. You will also need to set up a lightly floured lint free towel or baker’s couche to let your shaped dough rise on. Additionally, prepare a pizza peel or an unrimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

Pre-Shape & Rest the Dough:
If you have a scale, weigh the dough and divide it in two equal pieces by cutting it (do not tear it). Each piece should be about 305 grams each. You can also eyeball this if you do not have a scale. On a very lightly floured surface, press one piece of dough out into a rectangle and gently stretch the short ends out. Fold each short end into the center and press down with your fingertips to seal. Fold each long end into the center and press with your fingertips to seal, creating a seam in the dough. Set the dough aside and repeat this process with the second piece. Cover the pieces of dough with plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Shape into Baguettes:
With the seam side up, press the first piece of dough into a thin rectangle. Starting at the top left edge, begin folding down the dough about 1/2″ (1.5 cm) and sealing it with your fingertips, working your way across the top. Repeat this process, continuing to fold down on the dough and sealing to create a tight log. Once you have a thin, tight log, turn it seam side down. Using both hands, roll the dough on the counter-top, working it into a long thin snake shape. Try to keep the dough as even as possible and work it into about a 14″ (36 cm) baguette. Move the piece of dough to your prepared towel or baker’s couche. Push the towel or couche up on both sides of the baguette to create folds to hold the dough’s shape. Repeat this process with the second piece of dough.

Let the Dough Rise:
Cover the pieces of dough with plastic wrap and let them rest for 45-60 minutes until doubled in size.

Transfer the Dough & Score:
Place a baguette board or a small cutting board right beside one of the baguettes. Gently pull up on the towel to flip the baguette over onto the board. Move the baguette over to the parchment lined pizza peel or unrimmed baking sheet. Gently flip the baguette onto the parchment paper, so that the seam side is down. Repeat this to move the second baguette over. Using a very sharp knife or a bread lame, cut 4-5 slashes in the top of the baguettes.The slashes should go diagonally and at a slight angle, going about 1/4″ (.5 cm) deep. Mix the salt with the warm water and brush on to the loaves before baking.

Bake:
Fill a small bowl with about 2 cups of ice cubes. You want to work quickly and carefully when transferring the baguettes. Open the oven and gently slide the whole piece of parchment paper with the baguettes onto the preheated baking stone or sheet pan. Quickly pour the ice cubes into the preheated skillet and immediately shut the oven door. Turn the oven temperature down to 475F (246 C). Bake for about 25-40 minutes. It is traditional for baguettes to have a very dark crust. Check them at 25 minutes and decide if you would like a darker crust. I bake mine for 40 minutes for a dark, almost charred, crust.

Cool:
Allow the baguettes to cool before slicing. This will completely develop their flavor. Baguettes are best when eaten the same day. However, leftover baguette can be wrapped in foil and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Orange & Ginger Choux

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I love the smell of orange and ginger in the morning. I started them last night and filled them in the morning.  Don’t really want them sitting around too long.  But I doubt they will.

INGREDIENTS

Orange & Ginger Filling
530 ml milk
3-4 pieces of fresh ginger
75 g egg yolks (about 5 eggs)
90 g sugar
60 g cornstarch
1 tablespoon ground ginger
Zest of two oranges
1 vanilla bean pod
270 g heavy whipping cream

Choux
375 ml water
150 g unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
240 g flour
6 eggs (335 g)

DIRECTIONS

Orange & Ginger Filling
In a medium pot, heat milk with chunks of ginger and seeds from vanilla bean pod until steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes and then strain out ginger.

In a medium bowl, whisk yolks and sugar then whisk in cornstarch and ginger until smooth.

Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg mixture bowl while whisking constantly. Return the combined mixture to the pot and continually whisk on a medium heat until thickened.  Once it reaches desired consistency, add orange zest.  Refrigerate until completely cooled.

Place pastry cream in a large flat container (for quicker cooling time) and cover with plastic wrap making sure that the wrap touches the cream. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Choux
Prepare two baking sheets with parchment and brush on some water. Preheat oven to 400F.

Add water, butter and salt to a pot over medium heat.  When butter is melted, take off heat and whisk in flour.  Once smooth, return to heat and cook out the water.  Use a wooden spoon to keep moving the mixture until you see a film start to develop on the bottom of the pot.

Remove from heat and add to stand mixer with paddle attachment.  Run at medium for a bit to cool down flour mixture. Once at about 160 F, add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated and smooth.

Put choux into pastry bag with piping tip (Ateco #865) and pipe out 2″ mounds onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400F and then lower temperature to 375F but do not open door.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes more until browned all over.  Slice off tops and let cool on baking sheet.

Assembly
Whip cream to stiff peaks in stand mixer then add chilled pastry cream and whisk until combined.  Put in pastry bag with star tip and pipe into bottom half of choux shells.  Cover with lid.

 

Pain au chocolat 1.0

Consider this the beginnings of my pain au chocolat adventure.  I bought 300 chocolate batons over the weekend so I’ve got plenty of runway. I started with combining two recipes. One from King Arthur Flour and one from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

INGREDIENTS

Dough
340 g of milk
50 g sugar
539 g flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
57 g unsalted butter, softened

Butter
340 g unsalted butter

Assembly
32 Chocolate batons
1 large egg + 1 yolk for egg wash

DIRECTIONS

Dough
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the water, sugar, 2 cups of the flour, yeast, salt, and butter. Mix until fairly evenly blended.

Add the remaining flour and stir until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out and knead it until it just starts to smooth out. You don’t want to over-knead it at this point, since it’s going to spend a considerable amount of time rising.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until puffy.

After an hour at room temperature, refrigerate the dough (in its covered bowl) for 8 to 16 hours; overnight is your best bet.

Butter
Just before the dough is ready to come out of the fridge, prepare the butter for rolling into the dough. Cut each of the three sticks in half lengthwise and place all six pieces on a floured piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Sprinkle flour on the top surface of the butter, cover with another piece of paper or plastic and gently pound it with a rolling pin until it becomes malleable. Then roll the butter out until it’s about 8″ x 8″.

To assemble the rolls: Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 12″ square. Place the butter in the center of the dough at a 45° angle; it’ll look like a diamond inside the square. Fold the four flaps of dough into the center to enclose the butter, pinching them together as best you can.

Roll the dough into a 10″ x 20″ rectangle. Fold one third into the center, then the opposite third over the first, like you were folding a business letter; this is called a letter fold. Turn the dough 90°, roll it into a 10″ x 20″ rectangle again, and do another letter fold.

Wrap the dough in lightly floured plastic wrap and refrigerate it again for an hour. Remove the dough from the fridge, and give it two more letter folds: rolling, folding, turning 90°, rolling, and folding. Wrap the dough in lightly floured plastic wrap and refrigerate it again for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours, until you’re ready to use it).

Assembly
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough out into an 8×20-inch rectangle. Use your fingers if you need to. Once again, the dough is very cold, so it will take a lot of arm muscle to roll. The dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working it with your hands and rolling pin until you have the correct size rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the dough in half vertically. Each skinny rectangle will be 4 inches wide. Then cut 3 even slices horizontally, yielding 8 4×5-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise so you have 16 2×5-inch rectangles. Work with one rectangle at a time. Using your fingers or a rolling pin, stretch it to be about 8 inches long. Do this gently as you do not want to flatten the layers. Place a few small pieces of chocolate in a single layer at one end and tightly roll the dough up around the chocolate. Make sure the end is on the bottom. Repeat with remaining dough, placing the shaped croissants on 2 lined baking sheets, 8 per sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature (no warmer! I suggest just keeping on the counter) for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to rest for 1 hour or up to 3 hours. I prefer the shaped croissants to be cold going into the oven. When you poke the dough with your finger, it will slowly bounce back. That means they are ready to be baked.

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).

Bake the croissants: Bake until croissants are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. If croissants show signs of darkening too quickly, reduce the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Remove chocolate croissants from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving. They will slightly deflate as they cool. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.