Gluten free brioche au chocolat are decadent sweet rolls filled with pastry cream and chocolate, and they’re the most delectable rolls ever!
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I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Bluprint, the online craft subscription service that was once Craftsy? I’ve taken SO many classes on Bluprint that I’ve lost count at this point!
The owner of Flour Bakery in Boston, Joanne Chang, teaches a class on Bluprint all about brioche. She makes traditional brioche, brioche au raisins (which is just what it sounds like), sugar brioche buns, and sticky buns to name just a few.
I adapted her recipe for brioche au chocolat to suit my gluten free needs. You’ll get brownie points for sure when you give these to your gluten free Valentine💖
What is Brioche au Chocolat?
Have you ever heard of pain au chocolat? Pain au chocolat is the same as chocolate croissants. But then what is brioche au chocolat? Brioche au chocolat is brioche dough that’s stuffed with pastry cream and chocolate, and it is HEAVEN on a plate!!
These pastries are usually made by folding the dough over onto itself. This creates a long narrow pastry that’s stuffed with custard and chocolate. I chose to roll up the dough into individual cinnamon roll-style buns so there’s a good dose of filling in every bite!
Making the Easiest and Best Ever Pastry Cream
This pastry cream is seriously the easiest I’ve ever made, but it’s also the thickest and best tasting!! It takes only minutes to prepare and it can be made into any flavor combo.
In a small saucepan, heat equal amounts of cream and milk over medium heat until they come to a simmer. While they’re heating, in a large bowl whisk egg yolks with sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla extract or seeds. Whisk until mixture thickens and becomes ribbon like, just a few minutes.
Slowly pour the milk/cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture while whisking vigorously. Add a little more, and a little more, until the whole thing is combined.
Pour the entire mixture back into the small saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly. Don’t use a wooden spoon for this. Whisk until the pastry cream resembles thick mayonnaise. Remove it from the heat and add the butter. Pour it into a sieve set over a small bowl to remove all bits of cooked egg yolk.
Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap right on the surface (to prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate it for a couple of hours, or until cool.
What’s the Best Kind of Chocolate to Use?
I find chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate is the best, but you can also use semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips. I wouldn’t use milk chocolate as I think that would be too sweet.
How to Make This Pastry Gluten Free
Making this wonderful pastry is surprisingly easier than you would think. It all starts with my gluten free sweet dough, which is the perfect substitute for regular brioche.
After making the dough and refrigerating it, roll it out to a rectangle about 10 inches by 14 inches. Spread it with the pastry cream and then sprinkle it with the chopped chocolate. If desired, sprinkle it with about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. It’s not enough to make it a cinnamon roll, but just gives it a hint of cinnamon, which I love.
Begin rolling the pastry up like you would when making cinnamon rolls. Roll it as tightly as possible. The dough needs to be nice and cold to do this. If you haven’t refrigerated it enough, you’ll have a hard time working with it.
At this point, what I like to do is elongate the log of dough a little bit. That way I can get taller rolls and they’ll be equal in both filling and dough. Just gently pull it from the middle, stretching out to the ends.
If your dough is getting too warm, carefully transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover it, and let it chill for about 30 minutes.
Slice the log into eight equal pieces using a sharp knife or bench scraper. The best way to make them equal is to slice it in half, then each half in half, and then each quarter in half again. Place the slices in a baking dish (I used an 11 by 7-inch one like this).
The rolls will now need to rise once before baking. Cover them with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise in a warm, draft-free area until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes to an hour.
Baking the Brioche au Chocolat
After the rolls have risen to almost doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake them for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
How Long Will Brioche au Chocolat Last?
As with most freshly made breads and rolls, these rolls are best eaten within a few hours of making them. However, they can be covered and placed in the refrigerator for a few days (because of the pastry cream).
If reheating all of them at once, place the covered rolls in a 350-degree F oven for about 15 minutes. If reheating only one, cover it with a damp paper towel and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave it for about 30 seconds at a time until heated throughout.
Can I Make the Rolls Ahead of Time?
Yes!!! Unlike my gluten free cinnamon rolls, these brioche au chocolat can’t be placed in the freezer. Pastry cream is not freezable. BUT, you can make them up to the point of cutting them and placing them in the baking dish.
At that point, cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator. If left overnight, they will rise some in the refrigerator (called a cool rise). Take them out of the fridge about an hour before you’d like to bake them the next morning.
If you make your honey these rolls for Valentine’s Day, or any day of the year, they’ll love you forever 💖💖💖
Gluten Free Brioche au Chocolat
- ½ recipe ultimate gluten free cinnamon roll dough
- 1 recipe pastry cream (see below)
- 4 ounces roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, if desired
- ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp (15 g) cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tbsp butter, softened
- Make gluten free cinnamon roll dough per recipe instructions. Refrigerate several hours, but preferably overnight.
MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM
- In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and heavy cream over medium heat until just simmering. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla in a medium bowl until thick and ribbon like, just a few minutes.
- Remove the milk mixture from the heat and slowly pour a little bit into the egg yolk mixture, whisking vigorously. Add a little more, whisking vigorously, and continue adding all of the milk mixture slowly.
- Pour the entire thing back into the small saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture begins to look like thick mayonnaise, about 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in butter. Pour into a sieve set over a small bowl (to catch any cooked egg yolk bits).
- Place plastic wrap right on top of the pastry cream (touching it to avoid a skin from forming) and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to 3 days.
TO ASSEMBLE PASTRIES
- Knead dough briefly on well-floured surface until smooth.
- Roll into a long rectangle about 10 inches by 14 inches in length and about ¼ inch thick. Spread cooled pastry cream all over dough. Sprinkle chopped chocolate on top, followed by cinnamon (if desired).
- Roll as tightly as possible, jelly roll style. From the middle of the roll out, gently stretch the log until it's a bit longer. This makes the filing and dough more equal.
- Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut into 8 equal pieces (beginning by cutting in half, then into fourths, and then into eighths).
- Place in a baking dish about 11 by 7-inches in size that's been sprayed with a non-stick spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free area until about doubled in size, about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Remove plastic wrap from risen rolls and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve warm.
Inspired by Joanne Chang’s Classic & Creative Brioche Pastries on Bluprint.
Pastry cream adapted from Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Pie it Forward.