xoFOOD: DIY Imposter Cronuts Because Who Has The Time to Get A Real One?

I was initially all, “Ugh, just leave the donut alone guys,” because you can’t improve what is already perfect. But then I became intrigued.

Aug 15, 2013 at 10:30am | Leave a comment

I’m not super into super-hyped things. However immature it may be, I have a knee jerk negative reaction to the wildly popular. Things like "Avatar" and coconut oil.
 
Things like the cronut.
 
I’m assuming you have all heard of the newest “it pastry,” but maybe you haven't because you were a cloistered nun until a few days ago, so I’ll bring you up to speed.
 
A cronut is a croissant-donut hybrid monster pastry and you can only get a “real” one at the Dominique Ansel bakery because he invented them and he’s not sharing his recipe. AND even if you are in New York, you have to get to the bakery at the crack of dawn because these chunks of fried dough are POP-U-LAR.
 
Even Emma Roberts has to wait in a line with the Great Unwashed to get one (though I guess that’s not true because Jimmy Fallon gave her one).
 
So of course I was initially all, “Ugh, just leave the donut alone guys,” because you can’t improve what is already perfect.  But then I became intrigued. And then I felt challenged. And then I became hostile and started to angrily fry a bunch of croissant dough in the quest for an easy DIY cronut recipe.
 
This is the story of that quest.
 
At first I was going to make my own pastry dough. It’s not difficult, but it is tedious in the way that risotto is tedious and I've already made risotto once this year so we’re going with store-bought on this one. 
 
If you want to be better than me and make your own pastry dough, god speed, but I had to work a lot of overtime and I just didn't feel like it.
 
ANYWAY.
 
Three different attempts were made. Two were pretty successful; one was a triumph of the human spirit.
 
Cronut Attempt One: Trashy Pillsbury Edition
 
Ingredients:
 
  • One tube of Pillsbury (I used the Grands! Buttery Crescents)
  • Melted butter
  • Roughly 4 cups of vegetable oil
  • Cinnamon sugar (1 cup sugar + 1 T cinnamon)
Directions:
 
1. Unroll your dough. Pinch the perforations to make the 6 triangles into 3 rectangles.
 
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You will still see some seams.

 
2. Brush melted butter on two layers, sprinkle cinnamon sugar on those and stack all three on top of each other, leaving the top one un-brushed and un-sugared. Using a wine bottle (or a rolling pin if you are rich) roll your stacked dough out until it’s about 0.25 inches thick.
 
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Pile it high on the platter.

 
3. Butter and sugar that noise, fold it in half and roll it out once more.
 
4. Cut into donut shapes. You guys know what a donut looks like. I also made some stars.
 
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Pulling shapes!

 
5. Then, I tried two different cooking methods: straight up frying and parbaking (partially baking) and frying.
 
A) Straight up frying: Heat oil over medium high heat (throw a tiny piece of dough in and when it sizzles and floats up you’re good). Fry cronut for about 45-60 seconds on each side (or until it is golden brown on each side).  Let drain on paper towels and coat in cinnamon sugar.
 
Note: This worked OK, except that the cronut just split in half! So it was quite skinny! Nobody wants that (except my mouth).
 
B) Parbake and fry: Bake cronuts on ungreased cookie sheet at 400 F for five minutes, then do what I said to do in 5A.
 
Result:
 
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These were very tasty. They reminded me of churros more than croissants or donuts, but churros are delicious, so good job everyone. But these didn’t have the impressive height of the cronut. I WANT THEM TO LOOK LIKE THE PICTURE ON THE WEBSITE.
 
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I need more height.

 
So we carry on.
 
Cronut Attempt Two: In Which We Almost Get There
Ingredients:
 
  • The same as above, but replace the crescent rolls with pastry dough.
1. Unfold your pastry dough (I used Pepperidge Farms)
 
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2. Butter and sugar-coat the middle third.
 
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3. Fold one third over the middle, butter and sugar-coat that. Fold the last third over the second third. It looks like a pastry envelope!
 
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Then wrap your envelope in saran wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
 
Once it is chilled, (while keeping it in the saran wrap) lightly roll it with a wine bottle a couple times to press the layers together.
 
4. Make your donut shapes. I crimped the edges this time, to try and keep everyone together.
 
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Crimping!

 
5. Once again, I tried two different cooking methods.
 
A) Straight up frying (as described above):  Did not go so well. Everything got crispy on the outside while remaining a sloppy mess on the inside, like someone’s “fun aunt” sun bathing.
 
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Gross.

 
 
B) Parbake and fry (AS DESCRIBED PREVIOUSLY): Now we are getting somewhere. These were still a little gooey on the inside, but LOOK AT THAT HEIGHT. We are so close to perfection kittens, so close.
 
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Now with more hearts!

 
6. Fill with a delicious Nutella whipped cream. WHAT? YES. I am a golden god. You just whip some cream and fold in two large spoonfuls of Nutella. Then inject that into your cronut.
 
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Sexy.

 
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She is beautiful.

 
Except wait for it to cool fully, otherwise this happens. 
 
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The melted part will happen, you probably won't turn into a monster like I did.

 
 
Cronut Attempt Three: In Which I Am Awesome:
 
The only difference here is that I baked them for 13 minutes before frying. That, and I waited for them to cool before adding the magical Nutella cream.
 
This was the glorious result.
 
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We did it, guys.

 
Check out those flaky layers.
 
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Somewhat deflated from sawing in half, but you get the idea.

 
So there's your DIY knock off cronut. I don't know how it compares to the real deal because I haven't had the real deal. It was certainly delicious. More delicious than Krispy Kreme? No. But there are few things in this world my mouth enjoys more than a plain, glazed Krispy Kreme.
 
These are pretty close though.
 
Have any of you had a real cronut? Does it live up to the hype? Are you Emma Roberts?