Chocolate Twists – My self challenge at 2AM

An inspiration to bake or make something can come off anything at any time.
I am certain I am not the only blogger who thinks this way. An offline conversation on the comments page with a lovely fellow blogger (you can check out her lovely blog too at: http://sarahslittlekitchen.wordpress.com/) at 2AM (UAE time) led me off to my latest creation. Prepared two days ago, and ever since I have been patting myself on the back because this baked creation got me drooling and I am sure every chocoholic will feel the same. Of all my technically challenging recipes, I am really proud of this one and can’t wait to share it with you.
Off late I have been challenging myself in the kitchen with recipes that require techniques to be tried, tested and subsequently blogged in my case.
My visits to Costa’s has been sweeter lately with the discovery of the Chocolate twists. I am a fan of Chocolate croissants but these delightful twisted rolls take the sweetness to a new level. Loaded with chocolate chips and dusted with icing sugar, the chocolate twist is a must for fans of the traditional chocolate croissants enjoyed with coffee. I have been trying to prepare croissants at home and this was a good excuse. Scouting for recipes online led me to another lovely blogger who prepared the same some time ago. The Wishful Housewife (check out her blog on : http://thewishfulhousewife.com/2011/08/04/chocolate-twists/) is the person behind this recipe. Her detailed and easy step by step pictorial instructions will make it easier for first time bakers like me. I will be honest; the process is painful and long. I admit I did get impatient with the number of times the dough needs to be rested and rolled. My day seemed like a process of resting, rolling, rising and waiting and the same thing all over again. At the end, the wait seems well worth. Think of the warm twisted rolls with chocolate layered on crème patissiere in between, you will not mind repeating the process over and over again.

This recipe consists of three parts:
• The pastry making ( which I have used from the Wishfulhousewife)
• The crème patissiere ( a recipe from my old records)
• The filling ( inspired once again from the Wishfulhousewife)

Before I begin, a special thank you to the Wishfulhousewife for the detailed recipe which I am sure would have taken a lot of patience to post. Thank you for simplifying the recipe with the lovely detailed pictures too and thank you Sarah for inspiring me on this one. It was definitely worth the try.

Some handful tips to be kept in mind before trying this recipe.

• As mentioned, before in my previous post on pastry making, all ingredients are better off kept chilled specially the butter and the dough (when ready)
• This recipe involves resting overnight. So if you need the twisted rolls to be prepared on a particular day, you might want to begin a day or evening before.
• These rolls taste best when made on the same day.

For the pastry:
7 g fresh yeast (or a 7g sachet of dry yeast)
3 tbs warm water (not over 37°C)
3 tsp castor sugar
225 g plain flour
1 tsp salt
120 ml warm milk (not over 37°C)
2 tbs sunflower or canola oil
115g chilled unsalted, high quality butter

1. Activate the yeast in a bowl by stirring it in warm water and one tsp of caster sugar. Not too warm and not chilled either. Room temperature is just perfect. Stir and leave it aside till it turns into a foamy substance.
2. Use the remaining sugar and salt to be stirred in the warm milk. Keep aside.
3. Sift flour in a large mixing bowl. Create a well in the middle of the flour and pour in yeast and milk mixtures. Using a spatula mix together all the ingredients to ensure it forms a smooth ball of dough leaving the sides. At this stage the dough will be sticky, which is ok. Always remember to never over work the dough while preparing pastry.
4. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes which will allow the dough to absorb all the liquid ingredients.
5. With the aid of a pastry scraper or spatula lift the dough off the surface from one end and flip it over. Rapidly repeat this process 8 to 10 times until the dough forms a ball, feels smooth and draws back into shape when pushed out. This is all the kneading the dough should have – it should have just enough body to hold the dough together when eventually rolled out, but it is important not to over activate the gluten as this will make the dough difficult to handle.
6. For Rise 1 – Place dough in a clean bowl and cling wrap. Place a towel on the top and keep in a warm place for the dough to rise. Ideal room temperature should be around 21 to 22 degrees C. Keep dough to rise for about 2 -3 hours.
7. For rise 2 – deflate the risen dough using a spatula to scrape it away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat down dough into a rectangle of about 20 x 30 cms. Fold dough as though folding a business letter by folding the bottom third of the dough onto the middle and the upmost third over it. Once again place in a clean bowl, cling wrap with a towel placed above and allow to rise for 1 -2 hours or alternatively place the bowl (without the towel) in the fridge overnight.
8. If the dough rises at room temperature, once doubled in size turn out onto a lightly floured plate, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes which will make the next step easier.

While the dough is cooling, take the chilled butter out of the fridge and place on a sheet of grease proof paper. Using a rolling pin beat the block down into a square of about 19cm by 19cm. Once beaten the exact rectangle dimensions can be scraped and spread out using a butter knife or spatula. The idea is get the butter into a cold, spreadable consistency without it warming up and becoming melted and oily. If this happens refrigerate until cold again.
9. After refrigeration place dough on a cool lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands push and pat the dough into a rectangle about 20cm wide by 35cm long. Turn the grease proof paper and butter over onto the dough so that it covers the top two thirds of the dough – leaving a 0.5cm border all the way around. Peel off the paper leaving the butter on the dough.

Now moving on to the folds for the pastry.

1. Just like folding a business letter – by folding the bottom unbuttered third of the rectangle over to cover the buttered middle third and then folding the top buttered third on top of the bottom third. This will form 3 layers of dough separated by two layers of butter.
2. After a while the dough needs to be folded for the second time. On a lightly floured surface turn the dough so that the edge of the top flap is on your right – as though it were a book which could be opened. Lightly flour the top of the dough, and using a rolling pin roll the dough into a rectangle of about 15cm by 35cm. Roll rapidly from 2cm of the near end to 2cm of the far end. Fold in three again like a business letter. Wrap dough in grease paper and refrigerate and rest dough for an hour allowing the gluten to deactivate.
3. Unwrap the dough, sprinkle lightly with flour and deflate by tapping lightly several times with the rolling pin. Cover and let rest for 8 to 10 minutes to relax the gluten. Ensure the dough is lightly floured on both sides and roll into a rectangle of about 15cm by 35cm. Roll rapidly from 2cm of the near end to 2cm of the far end. Fold in three again like a business letter (as in fold 1).
4. Roll dough out into a rectangle of about 15cm by 35cm and fold in three again like a business letter (as in fold 1). There will now be 55 layers of dough. Wrap and chill in the fridge for two hours before baking, or leave in the fridge overnight covered by a board and a 2kg weight.

Once the dough is ready, we move on to the preparation of the crème patissiere. This is used as a filling inside the twisted rolls giving it a slightly guey texture and also sweetening it. Ideally used as custard like filling for other pastry forms such as tarts and choux pastry, crème patissiere goes perfectly with these chocolate rolls as too. In case the doze of chocolate bits isn’t enough to satisfy your chocolatey cravings, crème patissiere can be ideally converted into a chocolate custard by adding cocoa powder or a flavouring essence suiting your needs.

This is the recipe I used:

300 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 large egg yolks
50 gms sugar
20 gms flour
20 gms corn flour

In a bowl, mix together sugar and egg yolks until it forms a pale yellow mixture. Sift together flour and corn flour together. Add to beaten yolks gradually and fold in to form a paste.
In a saucepan over low heat, bring milk and vanilla up to initial boiling point, just when it begins to foam on the sides. Remove from heat and add to beaten egg paste, whisking continuously to avoid lumps from forming.
Then pour this mixture back to the saucepan stirring continuously over low heat. Continue whisking until it reaches boiling point. Once it reaches boiling point, whisk for another minute until it turns thick. Remove from heat.
Pour into a bowl and cover immediately with a layer of cling wrap on the surface of the custard, this will help prevent a skin from forming on the top while it cools. Cool to room temperature and use accordingly.
Finally reaching to the final part of the recipe, preparing the chocolate twists for baking.
After all the resting and rising steps, the dough is finally ready to be used. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into thirds that would form long elongated rectangles and about 0.5mm thick.
Using a spatula, spread a generous layer of crème patissiere on the surface of the dough. If you are using chocolate chips, spread chocolate chips on the crème patissiere depending on how much chocolate flavor suits you. I used chopped dark chocolate bits that tasted just great.
Once the fillings have been spread, cut dough into long strips about 3 inches wide. Fold each strip halfway (lengthways) making the crème patissiere and chocolate chips sandwiched between two layers of pastry, above and below. Gently twist these strips using your fingers to form twisted rolls. Place rolls on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Before baking, the dough needs one last rise. Place tray in a warm place and let it rise for one hour or until almost double in size. This is needed to make the dough light like pastry.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and brush twisted rolls with egg wash just before placing it into the oven. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown and puffed up.
Cool on a rack before serving and dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Phew that was long, despite having many parts taken from the original post itself. Do give it a try specially if you are a fan of the Chocolate Twists available at Costa’s or simply a chocoholic like myself. Without sounding discouraging, the procedure is long and nerve wracking I will definitely say. I have not been through a much more agonizing recipe before, but the once the final bake is ready trust me, all the time and effort is worth it. Yes, worth it ..down to the very last bit of the twist.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the week. Happy baking !

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20 thoughts on “Chocolate Twists – My self challenge at 2AM

  1. This looks great! And you’re right … i’ve found myself baking at really odd hours a number of times too … it’s just all the more fun when you’re done with all the errands for the day .. thanks for sharing the recipe … will try it out soon 🙂

  2. thanks for your comments on my blog…. first time looking in here…LOVE IT! These chocolate twists are superb!! Nice blog! Looking forward to revisiting!

  3. Pingback: Blogging 101 class of 2014 | My Blog; different topics, related to me

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