Cronut craze: Comparing the copycats one bite at a time

Our lineup of Cronuts and faux-nuts: The real Cronut is in the back right (with pink frosting). Credit: Andrea Park
Our lineup of Cronuts and faux-nuts: The real Cronut is in the back right (with pink frosting).
Credit: Andrea Park

Hardcore pastry devotees have been lining up outside Dominique Ansel Bakery (189 Spring St., 212- 219-2773) as early as 5 a.m. each day for a chance to taste the coveted (and now trademarked!) Cronut. For those of us who don’t want to stand in the sweltering heat for hours or pay $50 on Craigslist for one, there are several reputable shops selling decent faux-nuts.

The original

Ansel spent two months developing the perfect croissant-doughnut hybrid, and the finished product definitely rises above the rest. This month’s blackberry Cronut combines gilded layers of chewy croissant dough with tart blackberry jam, rich cream and blackberry glaze with a light sprinkling of lime zest to play up the subtleties in the other flavors.

The contenders

Mille-feuille Bakery Café in Greenwich Village (552 Laguardia Pl., 212-533-4698) comes closest to replicating Ansel’s masterpiece. Chef Olivier Dessyn says he decided to take a stab at the croissant-doughnut combo when his wife wanted to try the real thing. Mille-feuille’s “French doughnut” is smaller and sweeter than the Cronut, and doesn’t hold together as well, which makes it more difficult to cut. But it is a good fix for Cronut cravers, with tender, buttery croissant-like layers, a chewy exterior and fresh cream filling. The French doughnuts come in Chocolate, Apple Turnover, Vanilla Bean and Raspberry.

ChikaLicious (204 E. 10th St., 212-475-0929) has its own drool-inducing take on the croissant-doughnut, but it’s nothing like the Cronut. The Dough’Ssant is an ethereally light pastry that doesn’t have the yeasty density of a Cronut — it’s closer to a flaky cream puff.

Blossom Du Jour Bakery’s (259 W. 23rd St., 212-229-2595) vegan croissant-doughnut pastries are a surprise hit. These cinnamon-flavored sweets have no filling and consist of a super-dense, chewy dough. They don’t boast the same buttery delicacy characteristic of Cronuts, but it’s hard to believe these tasty monkey bread-like desserts are vegan.

Still need a Cronut?

Dominique Ansel Bakery offers pre-orders two weeks ahead for orders of six or fewer Cronuts, and one month ahead for orders of more than 50. You can also try your luck with the bakery’s weekly Cronut lottery on Fridays.

Beyond the Cronut

Dominique Ansel is always one step ahead of the fad, even when the fad is his own. New York’s newest hot — and cold — dessert is the Frozen S’more, and it’s only available at Dominique Ansel Bakery. Rich vanilla ice cream is rolled in crispy bits of chocolate wafer, then stuffed into a cold but pillowy “modified marshmallow” and torched. Like the Cronut, the Frozen S’more sells out before noon.


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