Summer is fast approaching and that means the kitchens are going to get hot, especially in the afternoon. No one wants to turn on the oven or stand by a stove. You want to be outside, enjoying the sunshine and eating a cool refreshing dessert.
So, I'm putting this recipe up now before it gets too uncomfortably hot to make these in your own kitchen. You have to give these a try before summer hits because these. are. unreal.
You may have seen kouign amann in bakeries around your town, you might not have. If you've tried them before, you know that these are just deadly. Like a croissant but crispier and sweeter. And that caramelized bottom! Hands down, these have got to be my favorite pastry now.
These are very very similar to croissants. There are two turns at first, just like a head of croissant dough, but then the other two turns involve sugar. That's the biggest difference. You still get the flaky, buttery layers, but now they're flaky, buttery, and sugary. The sugar caramelizes a little bit on the outside and on the bottom to create this amazingly delicious sticky sweet mess.
I'm not going to trick you with these - they are unhealthy (as if you hadn't already guessed). I'm not going to try and make them seem healthy because there's just no way. It's basically flour, butter, and sugar. But everyone deserves a little indulgence once in a while.
And then I went and added chocolate 'cause... y'know, why the hell not?
That little hidden pocket of semi-melted chocolate is like finding a treasure chest of gold and jewels buried in your backyard. They're a sneaky little delicious surprise (unless you made them, then you know). It just takes these kouign amann to the next level, man. Seriously.
Kouign amann are best eaten the day of, but this recipe makes 12. Two options: 1. Eat them all yourself and feel a mix of guilt and pride, or 2. Share them!
I'm going to go with option 2 because these are so deliciously rich that you could eat maybe three in one day. Four, tops. Invite some friends over, pull these out of the oven, and watch as their eyes light up at these beauties.
You can also do certain steps the night before so there's less work in the morning for you to do. I made the dough, fermented it, and then put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I did the turns, proofed them, and baked them. They were out of the oven by 1pm! Just in time for lunch. And you can bet I ate of them while sitting on my floor next to my camera.
Chocolate Kouign Amann
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn
240 g water, at room temperature
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
343 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
226 g cold salted butter, plus a little extra for buttering the pan
300 g granulated sugar
350 g dark chocolate, chopped
Combine the water and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit for a few minutes to dissolve and become bubbly. Add 312 g of flour to the bowl (reserving the 21 g) and the salt to the bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until a floury, shaggy dough is formed.
Fit the mixer with a dough hook and knead the dough at low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until the dough is slightly tacky but smooth. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bow, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time and knead until the dough is smooth. If the dough feels very stiff and dry, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and knead until the dough is smooth.
Cover the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for one hour, until doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled in bulk, place it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight. Chilling the dough makes it easier to roll out and prevents the butter from melting in the following steps.
While the dough is chilling, begin pounding the butter. This softens the butter enough to roll it out with the dough while keeping it chilled.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour and lay the butter on top and dust with about a tablespoon of flour. Gently begin to tap the top of the butter with your rolling pin, and then pound more forcefully once the flour sticks to the butter.
Continue pounding the butter until supple. Pound it flat, then fold it in half using a pastry scraper. Pound it flat, then fold in half again. Repeat two more times, until the butter is supple, flattens within a few hits of the rolling pin, and folds easily. Sprinkle with additional flour as necessary to prevent the butter form sticking or smearing on the counter or rolling pin.
Pound the butter into a 6 by 10 inch rectangle, keeping the edges straight and even. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate while you roll out the dough. Do not refrigerate the butter for longer than 15 minutes or you will need to pound it out again.
Dust your work surface with flour and transfer the dough onto it. Roll the dough to a 12 by 20 inch rectangle, keeping the edges straight and the corners sharp, not rounded. If you have a pastry brush, use it to brush off excess flour before completing the turns.
Remove the butter from the fridge and transfer it to the middle of the dough. Fold one half of the dough over the butter and fold the other half on top, like folding a letter. Roll it out slightly to press the layers together, then fold it again into thirds.
To do the first turn, rotate the dough so the narrow open end is facing you. Roll the dough out to a 12 by 20 inch rectangle, keeping the edges straight and the corners sharp, not rounded. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up and over, like folding a letter.
Rotate the dough 90 degrees so the open end is facing you. Do a second turn.
If at any point, the dough is warming too much and the butter is melting into the dough, refrigerate the dough for about 10 minutes, then continue working.
After the first two turns, transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Do not refrigerate it more than that or your butter will become too cold and will shatter instead of spread.
Remove the dough from the fridge and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. With the open end facing you, roll out the dough to a 12 by 20 inch rectangle, keeping the edges straight and the corners sharp, not rounded. Sprinkle evenly with 150 g of granulated sugar and press lightly with a rolling pin to help it stick. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up, thus completing a third turn
Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the open end is facing you. Roll out to a 12 by 20 rectangle, keeping the edges straight and the corners sharp, not rounded. Sprinkle evenly with 150 g of granulated sugar and press lightly with a rolling pin to help it stick. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up, thus completing the fourth and final turn.
Transfer the dough to the parchment lined baking sheet, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Prepare a muffin tin by generously coating with butter. Liberally butter the sides and especially the bottom. Set aside.
Clean your work surface completely. Sprinkle the work surface with granulated sugar, remove the dough from the fridge, and transfer it to your work surface. Sprinkle additional sugar on the top of the dough. Roll out the dough to an 8 by 24 inch rectangle, keeping the edges straight and the corners sharp, not rounded.
With a ruler, cut the dough lengthwise, creating two strips 4 inches wide by 24 inches long. Cut each strip into 4 inch wide and 4 inch long squares, creating 12 squares in total.
Place about 30 g of chopped dark chocolate in the middle of each square. Pick up the dough by the corners and gently lower it into the muffin pan. Fold the corners into centre and press down lightly to make sure they do not open while baking. Repeat with the remaining kouign amann.
Cover the kouign amann loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise until slightly puffy, 30 to 40 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Set the muffin tin on a baking sheet to catch any butter drips during baking. Place the kouign amann in the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 350. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan half through baking. They are finished when the tops are deep golden.
Transfer the kougin amann to a cooling rack and let the pastries stand until they are just cool enough to handle. Gently wiggle them out of the muffin tins and set them on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. Note: When I set them on the cooling rack, I set them upside down so the stick caramelly bottoms wouldn't stick to the cooling rack. Do not let the kouign amann cool completely in the pan or the caramelized sugar at the bottom will harden and make the pastries impossible to remove.
Kouign amann should be served as soon as they are cool enough to handle and best served the day they are made.