I blame motherhood for being REALLY late to the cronut game. In February, we were in Tahoe with friends and they talked about cronuts like they were sliced bread. When I asked for clarification, I was struck with a deep sense of FOMA that I had not yet tasted one. For those of you as non-food hip as me, a cronut is the baby of a croissant and donut. Sounds delicious, right?
Some history based on a very superficial google search: The cronut was created in NYC by Chef Dominique Ansel in May 2013 and has made it as far as downtown Oakland, but, as far as I can tell, not to Berkeley. It seems like the west coast cronuts are all made and distributed by Posh Bakery in Santa Clara. Ansel has also trademarked “cronut”, so on the west coast, people are sometimes calling them “cronots” or some other bastardized form of cronut.
Well, over a month later, I finally remembered to track down one of these cronuts, which was not that easy. I tried to find one in Berkeley, but it seem like only Paris Bakery had them and the reviews weren’t great (unexpectedly, it’s a South Korean chain – no Paris connection at all). The only places I found that sold cronuts in the east bay are in downtown Oakland and though that isn’t far from where I live/work, it’s too far to go during lunch and not that convenient to go on the weekend with kids. There are probably other places, but that was all I could find with information available online. So, I sent my very accommodating partner on a mission to Lee’s Deli in downtown San Francisco to secure a cronut to bring home. Admittedly, it would be not be super fresh, but at least it would be a same day cronut. To give him further props, he forgot them in his office and had to take a later bus because he went back to get them for me. What a nice guy 🙂
The verdict? Cronuts are overrated. My partner brought me a glazed cronut and a cinnamon sugar one. Weirdly, they were different textures from each other. The cinnamon sugar one was drier and more bready.
A few bites was more than enough. They were too dense, too sugary, and too greasy. I’m guessing there are better cronuts out there, but I’m not going to go out of my way to find them. On a happier note, there were donut muffins in my office today from Bette’s Diner and those were light, fluffy, and not greasy at all – delicious!
Update: I had another cronut that my friend got from a grocery delivery place (sorry, don’t know the name) and it was much better. It was still greasy, but not as dense as the ones from Lee’s Deli and the chocolate on top was dark, so its bitterness balanced the otherwise sweet treat. Not all cronuts are created equal, but I still like croissants and donuts better in their unmixed form, leading to my groundbreaking realization that frying things doesn’t always make them better!