Delicious, fresh-baked chocolate croissants whenever we want them? Yes, please!

You may think that, among the many different cafes in Japan, Starbucks reigns supreme in our hearts here at SoraNews24, given that we have to try just about every limited-edition drink they ever release (and then rank them at the end of the year). But you’d be wrong. In fact, there’s at least one strong Starbucks contender, and that’s because of the cafe chain’s delicious chocolate croissants. Yes, we’re talking about St. Marc Cafe, also known as “Sanmaruku Cafe”.

One of the first things you’ll see when you walk in the door of this nationwide chain is its array of sweet croissants, which are lined up along the serving counter in a self-serve fashion so you can’t resist buying one every time you go in. Though they offer limited-time-only flavors like black soybean kinako mochi, one variety they always have available is chocolate, lovingly dubbed the “ChocoCro”, and with good reason, as it’s delicious enough that fans never get tired of it.

And it turns out you don’t even have to go to the cafe to get your ChocoCro fix! You can make your own St. Marc Cafe croissants at home with the “St. Marc Cafe Original Chocolate Croissant Bake from Dough Kit.”

The kit comes with the dough fully prepared for you, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of making it yourself. In our kit, there was enough dough and chocolate for 10 croissants, so you can make and share them with friends (if you’re not selfish like we are). They even come with St. Marc Cafe croissant bags! Yes, the very same ones you would receive if you bought your croissants in-store.

So…does this mean these chocolate croissants are going to be just as good as buying them from the cafe?

We couldn’t wait to find out, so we started immediately. The kit comes frozen, so after defrosting we cut each rectangular piece of dough in half to make two triangles.

After that, all we had to do was wrap the chocolate in the dough. It was almost disappointing how easy it was–we’d kind of expected more of a challenge!

We decided to try our own original recipe and, inspired by the chocolate banana handpies we made last year, we added pieces of banana to some of our croissants.

Once they were rolled up, all that was left was to pop them in the oven! It was so easy and simple, it would make a great activity for kids.

You can brush them with egg wash so they brown nicely, but you don’t have to. We chose not to (mostly because we were almost out of eggs). Once they’re ready to go in, the instructions say to bake them in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit)  for 10 to 15 minutes. We started with ten minutes, but they didn’t seem to be golden brown yet, so we left them in for another few minutes. Sadly, that was too long, as they then ended up slightly burnt.

But that was just proof that we made these croissants ourselves! Once we put them into their little bags, you couldn’t even tell they were burnt anyway. Besides, the delicious chocolatey pastry smell wafting through our house more than made up for it. It really felt like we were in a St. Marc Cafe!

Even though they were a little singed, they were just as good as the cafe’s croissants. They had the same crispy texture and chocolatey sweetness we look forward to with every visit.

In fact, they’re almost better than buying them at the cafe, because you don’t always get there just as they’re pulling them out of the oven. When you make them yourself, you get to eat them piping hot.

And our Chocolate Banana Croissants were just as delicious! We were immediately inspired with new ideas for different fillings that we could pack into these little croissants. Perhaps we should buy another kit…

The St. Marc Cafe Original Chocolate Croissant Bake from Dough 10-piece Kit sells for 3,000 yen (US$22.65), but you can get more for an even better bargain (20 for 4,800 yen, 30 for 6,300 yen), so if you like chocolate croissants, you may want to splurge on one of the bigger kits! You can keep them in your freezer until you have the desire for a fresh-baked pastry (or if you have sudden guests…but we have a feeling we’d eat them all before then).

If you’re looking for more cooking fun to share with kids (or to eat by yourself), we also recommend Popin’ Cookin’s sets, especially the Taiyaki and Odango Kit. They don’t require an oven, but make for a fun experiment that yields cute and tasty results!

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