For the big cities, cronuts have already came, gone, and are inspiring nostalgia for the days when you stood in line for hours to get one of these delicious croissant-doughnuts at some trendy New York bakery.
But as soon as the next trendy dessert is actually attainable for the average person, it is immediately not trendy anymore. That doesn't make it any less tasty.
Cronuts never hit the Mahoning Valley, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out on this dessert hybrid.
Honestly, I don't know why no one has ever thought of this before - frying a croissant up like a doughnut, and then drizzling it with sweet icing and other toppings. Croissants are OK as the usual brunch fare, but you can only top them with chicken salad so many times.
As with most desserts that involve making dough from scratch, this seemed like it would be difficult. It really wasn't, as long as you have the patience to chill the dough. Apparently, that makes the difference when it comes to the flaky layers of the cronut.
Folding the dough was easy, but cutting it was a little tougher. I didn't have perfectly round cutters, so I used some holiday cookie cutters and a metal rod with a hole in the middle to add the doughnut hole.
What is a Cronut?
Chef Dominique Ansel of New York City created a doughnut-croissant pastry hybrid and trademarked the name "Cronut" in May 2013, though bakeries in different parts of the country, including Ohio, claim to have been making and selling doughnut-croissant creations since the 1990s. Ansel's Cronut is created using a proprietary recipe involving laminated dough.
During the height of the Cronut craze, black market pastries were selling for as much as $100 each. The original sold at Ansel's bakery for $5.
Similar pastries are sold around the country as "dosants" and "doughssants."
3/4 cup milk, warmed
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour (divided)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 -2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
Vegetable oil, for frying
In a large bowl, stir together milk and yeast, then sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add 1 cup flour and salt. Gradually add 2-1/4 cups more flour, stirring, then kneading, until dough is smooth. Transfer to a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Beat butter and 1/4 cup flour with a mixer until smooth. Place chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 1-4/-inch rectangle about 13x8 inches. Spread butter mixture evenly over dough. Fold dough in thirds, like a letter; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes more.
Remove dough, roll it into a rectangle again, then fold both edges to the middle. Refrigerate 30 minutes, then repeat folding and chilling sequence twice more, finally chilling the dough at least an hour.
In a heavy pot, heat 2 or 3 inches oil to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1- to 2-inch thickness and cut into rings. Cook cronuts in batches, flipping as needed, until golden. Transfer to a paper towel.
Whisk together powdered sugar, syrup, and whipping cream to make a glaze. Drizzle glaze over the cronuts while they're still warm. Top with nuts, sprinkles or other toppings.
I have a Fry Daddy, which is easier to use than heating the oil in a pot since it uses a basket to avoid the cronut sticking to the bottom of the pan. It also tells me the exact temperature so I don't burn the cronut or, on the flipside, not cook it enough, leaving it soggy. Pot or fry cooker, just be careful not to burn yourself. No dessert is worth a burn. Also, let them cool and the glaze harden a bit before trying.
My cronuts didn't have the visible flaky layers like the gourmet ones I saw online, but it didn't seem to take away from the taste. They still tasted good - crisp on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside. The sugar glaze in the recipe was a little runny for me, so I fortified it with some butterscotch drizzle. Maybe on the next batch I will get the cook time just right so to achieve the perfect presentation.
A batch of these at your next birthday or holiday party could start a new tradition. They can be customized with colored glaze for holidays, and topped with fruit or nuts or even chocolate. In the meantime, I'm still waiting for mini-pies to catch on, since I am terrible at making pie crust.