The inspiration for these chocolate straws (or chocolate twists?) was a recipe from the Canal House ladies. I mentioned them a few weeks ago when they were in town for the Antiques and Garden show. I tell ya what, for ladies from New Jersey, they sure know how to make really fantastic pimento cheese. The deviled eggs were also fantastic, though their biscuits were a little more dense than I prefer.
Anyhoo, they have a recipe for cheese straws (published here on the New York Times website) that uses puff pastry instead of just flour, cheese and butter like my cheese straws. Though I very much intend to try this with cheese, I decided I wanted to make a sweet version. I just bought a jar of the Hershey’s version of Nutella (forgive me, Nutella, but I had a coupon), which I thought would be a nice little treat. And they were! These chocolate straws are delicious (and so easy!).
I had to experiment quite a bit to get the chocolate straws just the way I wanted them, though. Different types of twists, different temperatures, lengths, and amount of chocolate, but I finally got to the perfect recipe. We preferred the ones that were a deep golden brown and very crispy to the ones that were a little lighter and softer, so adjust the directions accordingly if you prefer something not so crisp. The reason why I used one sheet and pressed it out was to ensure that it was thin enough to be as crisp as I’d like. You can take the shortcut of putting all the chocolate on a single sheet and then putting the other sheet on top of that, but you’ll have a thicker pastry that would be softer in the middle.
Chocolate Straws (or Chocolate Twists)
yield 4-5 dozen
1 box (2 sheets) of puff pastry, thawed but chilled (I used Pepperidge Farms)
4 tablespoons chocolate spread, divided (Nutella, Hershey’s, or another brand; I used Hershey’s hazelnut)
1/3 cup turbinado or raw sugar
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Remove one sheet of puff pastry from the box and return the other sheet to the refrigerator. Unfold the pastry and then fold it in half, lengthways (opposite of how it was folded in thirds). Spread 2 tablespoons of chocolate on one half of the pastry (ensuring that it’s thinner at the edges) and fold it over so that the spread is between two layers.
Sprinkle about a quarter of the sugar out on a clean work surface and place the folded pastry on top. Sprinkle more sugar on top and roll out the pastry with a rolling pin until it is about 8 inches by 14 inches and about 1/8 inch thick. Then, using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the pastry into 1/2 inch thick strips. Pick up each strip and twist from both ends 4-5 times. Transfer each twist to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the oven and let cool on the parchment paper before removing so that they retain their shape. Repeat with second sheet of puff pastry dough.
1. The twists move around on the baking sheet a bit when they’re cooking and even untwist a little. Check on them about half-way through baking to make sure they’re still on the sheet and to straighten them up.
2. I really tight twists yields a straw that’s not as crispy because the dough doesn't open up as well and puff as much. The inside is softer and a little more doughy. Try a couple with a tight twist just to see how you prefer them.
3. I baked mine for the full 12 minutes (and just a bit longer, actually since I had to take them out and straighten them) because we liked them extra crispy.
4. As you can see in the photos, I sprinkled the sugar on the work surface before unfolding the dough, but it doesn't matter when you do it because the dough is cold and doesn't stick too well until it's rolled.