One of the current buzzy items in the food world are cronuts. It’s a cross between a donut and a croissant and was first introduced by Ansel Bakery in New York City, where they are in extremely high demand. You can read more about the craze here.
I’ve been hoping a bakery closer to San Diego might start selling them, but the other day I realized that until that happens, I could attempt to make my own. I wasn’t the only one with this great idea. Fellow San Diego blogger Mary was experimenting with them last week too!
I researched as much as I could on the cronut. It’s made of croissant dough and deep fried like a donut. Pastry cream is inserted into the middle of the croissant layers and then it is topped off with sugar and glaze.
I’ve actually never attempted to make my own croissants before so I decided to use some frozen ones to make the recipe testing faster. The only premade frozen croissants I know of are the ones at Trader Joe. I chose to experiment with both their mini ones and the chocolate ones. You do need to defrost and proof the dough for about 9 hours, so remember to set it up the night before.
I originally thought that the chocolate ones would save me the trouble of inserting cream later. But then I realize that the chocolate was hard to keep within the donut ring and if left to fry, it would just end up burning the chocolate. So I decided to remove the chocolate bars in the croissants, which are pretty easy to remove once the croissants are finished proofing.
Even thought my initial thoughts about the chocolate didn’t work out, buying the chocolate croissants was not a waste. The chocolate croissants are much bigger, so the donuts I cut out of them were actually better. With the mini croissants, they barely fit into the donut cutter, so they ended up being uneven and thinner.
One mistake I made was using my donut pastry cutter instead of using a cup and something small to cut a hole in the middle. The donut cutter flattened the pastry dough and it never quite rose back up. I should have used a glass to cut the ring which wouldn’t have squished down the dough and then used a cookie cutter for the middle hole. As a result, my cronuts weren’t nearly as tall as the cronuts from Ansel Bakery.
These were still pretty tasty, but I imagine the ones at Ansel Bakery are a million times better. They probably have a great croissant recipe as the base. These basically taste like flaky croissants that are deep fried instead of baked. They are crunchy and flaky and sweet from the glaze. I dipped them in chocolate glaze. I decided to forgo the pastry cream because my cronuts were so short.
I’m still hoping other bakeries start offering some cronuts, but until then, you can try experimenting in your own home.
1 box of frozen Trader Joe mini croissants or 2 boxes chocolate croissants
oil for frying
Chocolate ganache glaze:
4 oz chopped chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1. The night before, proof and defrost croissants according to box instructions.
2. On the day of making, cut croissant dough with glass or pastry ring the size of a donut. If using chocolate croissants, remove the chocolate bar inside before cutting. You can wrap the scraps of the dough onto the chocolate and bake them as mini croissants later. The chocolate croissants have a bigger rectangle area, making it easier to cut even cronuts.
3. Heat oil to medium high in pot being used for frying. Make sure you have at least one inch of oil.
4. Once oil is ready, gently place 1-2 cronuts into oil. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove from oil and set in plate to cool. Repeat with remaining cronuts.
5. After finished frying, heat heavy whipping cream until almost boiling. Place chopped chocolate into a bowl. Pour heated cream over chocolate and immediately begin stirring until smooth ganache forms. Dip cronuts tops into glaze and set aside to let glaze set. Best eaten immediately.