Call it a chocolate croissant, a pain au chocolat, or a chocolatine—this is my one true pastry weakness. I know many others are drawn to the elegant simplicity of a butter croissant or an almond croissant oozing with marzipan, but chocolate croissants have been my go-to since I was a kid. I’ve eaten them all over the Bay Area, in Seattle, in France, Germany, and in Florence, Italy, where my study-abroad friends and I would go to “secret bakeries.”
Knock on the back door of one of those secret bakeries in the middle of the night while the croissants are being baked, and you shall receive a hot, freshly baked Nutella-filled croissant for a euro. But along with the requisite flaky laminated dough, I’ve always maintained that the best chocolate croissants were made with bars of dark chocolate running through the center—not filled with Nutella or ganache.
That all changed at the Portland Farmers Market last weekend at PSU, where I stumbled across Twisted Croissant’s stand. There, butter croissants and chocolate croissants sat alongside croissant creations that looked like they were straight out of a mad scientist’s lab, the Willy Wonka of patisserie, if you will. Pastry chef Kurt Goddard has engineered tall, regal raspberry rose cruffins topped with freeze-dried raspberries. He's also devised diamond-shaped Oregon savory croissants, filled with black truffle béchamel and foraged mushrooms, then topped with crushed toasted Oregon hazelnuts and Oregon pinot–mushroom reduction.
But those would have to wait another day—maybe at another farmers market, or at Twisted Croissant’s brick-and-mortar on NE Broadway. I had to try the chocolate croissant.
This is one pretty chocolate croissant, with thick, glossy, chocolaty stripes running across it. Cut into the croissant, and those layers run through the airy, flaky dough like rings of a tree trunk. At the center of those rings: a generous dollop of 70-percent chocolate ganache. The richness of the ganache is fine-tuned just right—not so sweet or chocolaty that it makes you clench your throat and gasp for water, but smooth and creamy instead, like an extra-chocolaty pot de crème.
After I left the market, I sat on a park bench and tore the croissant in half, thinking I'd finish the other half at home with a cup of coffee—but a couple of bites in, I decided there was no way the other half was going to make it home. This croissant was going to be demolished in seconds, with only flaky bits of croissant dough all over my jacket as evidence.