What’s the big deal about Cronuts?
To be honest, I don’t know.
Who knows when or if the Cronut-craze will officially reach Austin, but for all the publicity that the New York City bakery Dominique Ansel Bakery has received since it launched the trademarked croissant-doughnut hybrid in May, it can’t be long.
Customers are now lining up Franklin Barbecue-style to have the chance to buy the $5 treat, and the bakery owner has had to crack down on scalpers who are buying Cronuts and selling them for as much as $50 and $60 dollars each.
I try to avoid these kinds of food trends, those that are relevant only because they are suddenly popular, which only increases their popularity.
I’m sure the SoHo specialty is divine, but I’m not one to wait in line for more than an hour for any food, no matter how viral. The good news is that knock-off recipes (and even bakeries selling knock-offs) are spreading like wildfire, and in yesterday’s food section, we ran this recipe from the culinary team at the Hallmark Channel’s show “Home & Family,” which airs at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. (Russ Parsons at the L.A. Times had a good laugh making fun of this recipe, which I can’t help but interpret as a thinly veiled laugh at people who use refrigerated crescent roll dough.)
The key to making a Cronut-like treat — as opposed to simply covering a croissant in a doughnut glaze, which I’ve seen at least one person in Austin calling a cronut — is using a laminated pastry dough, which has lots of layers of dough and butter, which you then cut and fry like a doughnut.
True croissant and puff pastry doughs have dozens if not hundreds of layers, but store-bought crescent roll dough will work if you roll the dough on top of itself several times. It won’t taste exactly like Dominique Ansel’s, but it could be a fun project for a lazy Sunday, if you can ignore what the store-bought dough-haters have to say about it.
One tube of any refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 stick melted butter
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Cinnamon sugar (1 cup sugar mixed with 1 Tbsp. cinnamon) or powdered sugar, for coating
Unwrap the dough and separate it into four square sections, fixing the perforations with fingers.
Brush three sections with melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Stack the dough squares with plain square on top.
Roll it out then brush with melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mix on top. Fold the dough over and roll it out again.
Cut circles with a biscuit cutter. Let the dough circles sit for 20 minutes.
Par-bake the dough circles at 400 degrees for five minutes, until Cronuts puff up. Set them aside to cool.
To fry: Heat the vegetable oil to medium heat. Fry the Cronuts for 60 to 90 seconds, until golden brown. Place them on a paper towel to drain. While warm, roll Cronuts in cinnamon sugar mix or powdered sugar. If desired, pipe in whipped cream.
— Recipe by “Home & Family” chef Hayley Christopher