Imagine bacon spooning dark chocolate like a body pillow under a cover of flaky buttery dough. In a perfect world, pain au chocolat, or chocolate croissants, would come with the option of bacon as a bedfellow.
By now, chocolate and bacon have been around the block a few times with each other, but I'm amazed that chocolate-bacon croissants haven't hit the streets. (Although I did pitch it as an idea to my favorite bakery, so if anyone has seen these hybrid pastries about town, contact me immediately.)
I have many food fantasies, and they often lead to bouts of home cooking. The worst that can happen is that it won't taste good, or that I'll have to repeat it a few times with some tweaking to get the desired result.
I'm sure there are many delectable croissant recipes, which you're welcome to use. I'm no pastry chef, and I feel there's no need to reinvent that wheel. Plus I was getting a bit impatient as my coffee was cooling and an expedient hunger fix was becoming necessary, so I fell back on Pillsbury to front the dough. It's fast and simple, and if you splurge on good-quality bacon and chocolate, my feeling is that it all kind of balances out.
I think of these as being akin to jalapeño poppers or prosciutto melon roll-ups in that they make for relatively foolproof finger foods using just a handful of ingredients - but do splurge on good chocolate and bacon.
I used Dagoba chocolate, which is made from cacao grown in Costa Rica. There is a Wisconsin connection - a former wildlife ecology professor of mine is very involved with the company and its sustainable practices, and I first tasted the chocolate as it was being chipped off of a huge block in a lecture hall. The Conacado bar is ultra dark and velvety, while the Xocolatl bar, studded with cocoa nibs and chili powder, adds a little kick.
Pecatonica Valley Farm bacon is cured with maple syrup and is available at the Dane County Farmers' Market ("the best on the Square," the farmer assured me).
Tuck these in the oven and forget pigs in a blanket. Sweet dreams are made of these....
Makes 12 croissants
- 2 10-oz. packages Pillsbury Big and Flaky crescent dough (or your own choice of dough)
- 6 strips of farm-fresh bacon
- 4 oz. dark chocolate
- 1 egg, beaten
- Optional: maple sugar or powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook bacon over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes each side until cooked through and slightly crispy. Cool on paper-towel-lined plate. Break each piece in half so you end up with 12 3"-4" pieces.
Cut chocolate bars across horizontally into 12 pieces, about 3" across and 1/2" wide. Dagoba has horizontal breaks in the bars, which makes division easy.
Unroll dough - each package will be divided into 6 triangles. Press the diagonals of the triangles together so you end up with three separate rectangles of dough. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise.
At one end of dough rectangle, place one piece each of bacon and chocolate and roll into neat buns, pinching and tucking the ends and placing the fold side down onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake about six rolls per cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.