Chocolate Choux au Craquelin

Cute little rounds of pastry dough made with delicious Dutch cocoa powder are covered in a chocolate topping, baked and then filled with a vanilla bean cream.

We’re excited to have Meriel from Mmm Desserts back in the Gygi Kitchen for our Annual Chocolate Extravaganza. She’s here with a really fun recipe that is equally rewarding to create and eat.

Chocolate Choux au Craquelin

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  • Chocolate Craquelin
  • 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 20g dutch process cocoa
  • 120g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Choux Dough
  • 125g whole milk
  • 125g water
  • 110g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 5g (1tsp) Kosher Salt
  • 5g (1 tsp) vanilla bean paste
  • 15g Sugar
  • 165g All-purpose flour
  • 240g egg, lightly beaten, plus more if needed
  • Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 45g cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp dutch process cocoa powder
  • 135g egg yolks
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 550g whole milk
  • 30g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 350g heavy whipping cream, for making diplomat cream





Place all ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium until combined. Turn out the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper, and top with a second piece. Roll out to 2mm-3mm in thickness. (1/16-1/8th inch)


Place the dough, still between the parchment sheets, in the freezer for an hour, or until ready to use (Can be made ahead).




In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. Add the egg yolks, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Whisk well to combine.


In a medium pot, warm the milk until there is movement just around the edges of the milk - do not bring it to a boil.


Remove the milk from the heat, and, whisking constantly, add half of the milk mixture into the egg and cornstarch mixture to temper the egg yolks. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds. Transfer the milk-yolk mixture back to the pot, and return to a medium/low heat. Whisk constantly until very thick.


Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate and butter, mixing well until totally combined. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Strain into a container and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate until totally cold. Can be made up to 2 days in advance - see 'assembly' for instructions on making diplomat cream.




Preheat the oven to 400°f / 200°c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter, trace 1 ½” circles on each baking sheet using a pen or a pencil, leaving some room for spreading (about 2” (5cm) between each), then flip over the baking sheet so that the side with the drawing is facing downward.


Fit a large piping bag with a large round piping tip (I used an ateco #805)


In a medium pot, combine the milk, water, butter, salt, vanilla bean paste, and sugar. Place over medium heat, and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture has begun to boil. Remove from the heat, and add the flour all at once, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon to combine. The mixture will form a thick paste.


Return to the heat, and, stirring constantly, cook the mixture for 2 minutes to help dry it out. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute to help cool down the mixture.


With the mixture running on low, slowly stream in the 240g egg. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until the egg is fully incorporated. Test the consistency of the batter by dipping in the beater and pulling up. If it forms a v which eventually breaks off, you are good to go. If it seems too stiff, slowly add another beaten egg and mix to incorporate. Perform the 'v' test again to check consistency. Use more beaten egg if needed.


Transfer the choux pastry to the prepared piping bag. Using your traced circle as a guide, pipe mounds onto the baking sheet, ending each with a little flick of your wrist. If the choux has left a point, you can flatten down with a wet fingertip. Repeat with the second tray. If you need another tray to pipe your choux on, create another template using the parchment and a cookie cutter.


Remove the craquelin from the freezer, and peel off the top piece of parchment. Using the same sized cutter you used to trace the circles on the parchment paper, cut out circles of dough. Place each carefully on top of a mound of choux, pressing lightly to adhere. If you are baking one tray of these at a time, ensure that you only put the craquelin on one tray at a time - put the craquelin on the second tray just before you bake them - they need to stay frozen/cold.


Bake the cream puffs for 15 min at 400°f / 200°c, then turn down the oven to 350°f / 180°c, and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until puffs are deeply golden. Remove from the oven and poke a small vent in the side of each using a paring knife or chopstick to help the steam escape, this will help prevent collapsing. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. If baking in two batches, return the oven to 400°f / 200°c, and repeat the baking process with the puffs.




In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Briefly mix up the chilled pastry cream to loosen. Carefully fold the pastry cream through the whipped cream, until combined. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a Bismarck tip or a round piping tip. Using a chopstick, carefully poke a hole in the bottom of each cream puff.


Working with one at a time, insert the end of the piping tip into the cream puff, and pipe the diplomat cream in until you feel the cream puff fill and become heavy. It will take a few to get the hang of it - just wipe off any excess that may spill out from over filled puffs.


Serve within a few hours of filling. Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.

Make these tasty pastries with Meriel in this LIVE recording of her class:

This recipe is part of our Annual Gygi Chocolate Extravaganza. Check out all the classes (hands on, demo and virtual options!)

Connect with Meriel over on Instagram at Mmm Dessert!

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