Etymologically speaking, Cronut is the combination of two words: croissant and donut. Easy enough right? But when it comes down to the baking, it seems to be the pastry jackpot with a 6 hour shelf life. If this line is any indication of the value of a Cronut, you'd think they not only taste great, but also reverse the affects of aging and turns your sweat into liquid gold.
The Cronut craze is here, and we're not sure why it started, or when it will end, but here's everything you need to know about the Cronut.
What Is A Cronut
Step 1: Lamination
The Cronut is, as mentioned, a pastry that resembles a cross, or combination, between a croissant and a donut. More specifically, it is similar to (but not exactly like) laminated dough, which has alternating layers of dough and butter in the pastry (as is done in a croissant). These layers of butter and dough are what gives croissants, and now the Cronut, the puff, flakey, and delicious texture and taste that we all have grown to love (or just loved at first bite). Since butter is basically fat and water, when heated, the water turns into steam creating the puffiness, while the fat gives it the golden flakiness.
Step 2: Proofing
After lamination, and after the Cronut dough is formed into the desired shape, it is then proofed, which is the final step where the dough rises before baking/frying, This is also often referred to as the final step of fermentation.
Step 3: Frying
After proofing, the Cronut is then fried in grape seed oil. Grape seed oil is similar to vegetable oil, and is pressed from grapes. It has a relatively high smoke point (so it doesn't start smoking when you're cooking at high temperatures) and thus is ideal for frying.
Step 4: Flavoring
After the Cronut is cooked, it is then rolled with sugar, filled with a cream, and then, as with a lot of donuts, drizzled with glaze.
And although these are the general steps of creating a Cronut, the true magic behind its creation cannot be exactly duplicated (nor are we sure it should be). Many have tried, and will continue to try, but to get your hands on the one true Cronut, you have to visit the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York, and Chef Dominique Ansel, who created the Cronut.
Cronut Creator: Chef Dominique Ansel
Chef Dominique Ansel is the creator of the Cronut. Before he rose to Cronut fame, he was the Executive Pastry Chef at Daniel, a 3-star Michelin Rated, James Beard award winning (2010) restaurant in New York. More recently, he himself was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef at his own bakery, the Dominique Ansel Bakery located at 189 Spring St.
It took him over 10 different recipes and two months to create the Cronut, and it's "not to be mistaken as simply croissant dough that has been fried".
Cronut Wait, Lines, & Limits
The Dominique Ansel Bakery opens at 8am Monday through Saturday, and 9am on Sundays. With only about 200 - 250 Cronuts being made daily (at the moment), people usually start lining up 2 hours before the store opens and are limited to 2 Cronuts per person... which used to be 3 Cronuts per person, and before that 6 Cronuts per person... not a good trend for those Cronut lovers.
Every month there is only one flavor of Cronut available from the Dominique Ansel Bakery. In May it was Rose Vanilla. June had Lemon Maple. And now, in July, they are offering the Blackberry Cronut. We're hoping for chocolate bacon in August, so here's to hoping.
Update on 7/11/2013: The Dominique Ansel Bakery is crowdsourcing their flavor for August between two choices: coconut or passion fruit. Read more below in our Cronut Crowdsourcing update.
Cronut Retail Cost
A Cronut sells for $5.00 (before tax) at the Dominique Ansel Bakery. But that's retail, it costs a bit more on the Cronut black market...
Cronut Black Market
Yes, you heard us right. That's not a typo. There is a Cronut black market. Cronuts are being sold for anywhere between $20 - $50 and up in this secondary market where people wait in line, only to hawk their Cronut wares for 4x-10x of what they paid for it. Everything from paid line-waiters to people selling their Cronut gold (it's not really made out of gold) on CraigsList. There's even a website
that promises "white glove premium Cronut delivery service" that starts at $100 for one Cronut.
But there has also been a little bit of a Cronut crackdown that's happening. Repeat visitors are being recognized by Dominique Ansel and Cronut snitches are telling the Bakery which groups of people are planning on adding their Cronut acquisitions to the Cronut black market. "No Cronut For You!!!" is what we hope someone says in these situations. Fingers crossed that people don't start shivving each other for some Cronut glory.
Craze might be an understatement. With lines starting hours before the bakery opens, an active Cronut black market with paid waiters and CraigsList sellers, websites dedicated to the delivery of Cronuts at 20 times the retail price, people crying (and abusing
) employees at Dominique Ansel's bakery, and Cronut fan clubs
sprouting up across the web, the question is when will Cronut supply meet the demand. We're not sure.
Cronut, Often Imitated, Never Duplicated
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Well, maybe not to Dominique Ansel.
"Crognets", "Doissants", "Cro-Nots", "Dough'Ssants," and the list goes on of people trying to imitate the Cronut. Dominique Ansel has a trademark on Cronut, hence all the "clever" alternative names for the croissant/donut hybrid. With two more trademarks (and counting) being filed for variations including "Cronut Holes", as well as others, these are potential targets for litigation from Dominique Ansel and their "confusing" use of his trademarked term, Cronut.
The Eater.com has its own list of some shameless Cronut copying
And we're sure you can find your own Cronut-similar creation in your local city, but we're not sure they can compare to the original that you'll find on Spring Street in NYC.
In Chicago, where Sweet Society is located, we have Chicago Pastry in Bloomington, IL, West Town Bakery & Diner, Glazed and Infused, and Gur Sweets Bakery all providing their own variations.
Where To Get Your Hands On A Cronut
There are a few ways you can get your hands on a genuine Cronut.
Here are the ways that the Dominique Ansel Bakery recommends you get your Cronut:
1) Wait in line starting at around 6am
on a weekday in the line that forms outside of Dominique Ansel Bakery located at 189 Spring Street in NYC. They say that if you arrive prior to 7:15am you should be able to get your hands on the two Cronut limit.
2) Get on the pre-order list
. Every Monday at 11am (Eastern) you can call the Dominique Ansel Bakery at (212) 219-2773 to get on the Cronut pre-order list. With a limit of 6 Cronuts, and a 2-week wait, you may be able to get your hands on some Cronuts with a little patience. Mentioned as a last option only because getting through on the phone is probably a nightmare and the list fills up very quickly.
3) Place an order for 50 or more Cronuts
. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org
. to place an order for 50 or more Cronuts which will guarantee you'll get your hands on some Cronuts. But, with a minimum of one month advance ordering, and the fact that August is already all booked up, you'll be ordering for September. Just make sure you set your alarm for midnight on August 1st since that's when those orders will start being accepted - and it's first come first serve (via their inbox).
Now here are the ways to get your hands on a Cronut that is not sanctioned by the officials at Dominique Ansel Bakery (Chef Dominique Ansel, please don't hold this against us) :)
1) Hire someone on CraigsList
to wait in line for you. There are people willing to wait in line for you for a steep markup.
2) Buy a Cronut off of someone
who already just purchased theirs. Instead of hiring someone for a task, you're just buying the Cronut with the (similarly) steep markup. Whether it's CraigsList or someone right outside of the bakery, if you have the $$$ someone is willing to part with their Cronut.
3) Use a Cronut service
, like CroissantDoughnut.com
to satisfy your Cronut cravings. You'll be paying a ridiculous mark-up, but you might find some comfort in dealing with an "established" business instead of an individual. What are we talking about?!? It's the Cronut Wild West out there, so basically you're dealing with individuals whether they own a website or not.
As with anything that is creating such a buzz, that only a few can get their hands on, and the cost of which is multiplying 4x-20x, there will inevitably be a backlash and a list of Cronut haters. So tread lightly young grasshoppers with who you share your Cronut knowledge with, whether you paid $50 for a bite, or simply that you got to try a taste of the Cronut from the Dominique Ansel Bakery
Cronut Crowdsourcing (Updated 7/11/2013)
It seems that as is with American Idol for singers, America's Got Talent for, um, talented people, and The Voice for, well, singers, YOU get to choose the next flavor for Dominique Ansel Bakery's next Cronut flavor for August. Although we were interested in some sort of chocolate bacon flavor (along with some others it seems), you can place your vote between coconut and passion fruit on the Dominique Ansel Bakery's Facebook Page
How To Make A Cronut (Updated 8/11/2013)
The guys over at Googly Gooeys
created a fun infographic on how to make a Cronut after watching Chef Marc Chalopin of the Enderun Colleges share his own Cronut recipe. This is (obviously) not the official Cronut recipe as the true Cronut recipe is probably a very well guarded secret by Dominique Ansel and his bakery, but we presume it's pretty similar.
They won't make you younger. They don't turn your tears to gold. They combine the best parts of the croissant and the donut, and we can't wait to get our hands on one the next time we're in NYC. Don't worry Dominique Ansel, we'll be waiting patiently in line ;)
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