Now that the Cronut craze is over a year old, I thought it was time to take stock of where things stand. The lines of New York’s fried-dough-obsessed outside Dominique Ansel Bakery are no shorter than they were when the newest must-have pastry was born in 2013. According to those far braver than me (and clearly with far more time on their hands), you have to get there by 5am, stand in line for well over an hour – only to discover that they sell out five minutes after opening. Really? Time Out Magazine credits Mr. Ansel for creating another iconic New York food invention that joins the ranks of such staples as Chicken ‘n Waffles, the Bloody Mary, Eggs Benedict and even the Hot Dog! But having finally sampled a Cronut for myself, I think it’s time for a big spoonful of reality to help the sugar go down.
The Cronut is an exotic, illegitimate son of a mixed pastry marriage – a French Croissant father and an American Donut mother. The dough is a mixture of layered pastry that has been baptized in boiling oil – giving it a Mediterranean tan, before being inoculated with rich custard crèmes or fruit preserves (depending on the day) and then dressed in a splattering of flavored sugar-frosting. The texture is an incongruous combination of crispy and soft, but the diabetes-inducing blast of sugar will postpone your dessert appetite until well into the summer.
So what was so terribly wrong with the Croissant that would send a shower of dark flakes onto your lap as you bit through the blistered crust and multiple golden layers seemingly held together by nothing but air and butter? Did we somehow guarantee its place on the breakfast menu by deep-frying it?
And given that the Cupcake has now been officially sidelined by the unstoppable resurgence of the Doughnut, was there something so boring about the consistency of the ring of fried dough that needed flaky layers to make it easier to handle?
Or is our real dilemma a question of not being able to decide between the two and therefore needing them both cloned together?
I think not!
It’s pretty simple: If you are looking for the city’s best Croissants, you’ll find them at Buvette, Maison Kayser or Maialino. And while Doughnut Plant has taken the world by sugar storm, Dough Doughnuts in the Flatiron district will make your (weekly) carb binge worth every crumb. Their scarlet colored Hibiscus Flower easily knocked out the Mocha-Almond Crunch – but let’s not split calories between friends.