Trendy Food Tuesday: Cracking the Cronut Code

Homemade Cronuts with Lemon Vanilla and Chocolate Ganache Glazes

First off, apologies for my sparse and inconsistent posting as of late. You see, in two days, I will be “taking my talents,” as the kids say, from Austin, Texas to New York City where I’ll be starting culinary school at ICE.

I know! Big move. Exciting times. Of course, this means trading in my parents’ large, fully-equipped-with-every-appliance-imaginable kitchen for a tiny city dwelling with a mini fridge and one small section of counter space.

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While that aspect gives me the slightest hint of anxiety, it is far outweighed by the excitement I feel about pursuing my dreams in the most stimulating city in the country, as well as greatly increasing my chances of casually running into famous people. (Last time I was there I saw Katie Holmes at Eataly; we made eye contact and I gave her a half smile and then she turned away but I don’t hold it against her because it was  immediately post-divorce and I know she was going through a rough time but really I was just letting her know she has my support.)

So stay tuned to see how creative I can get with my recipes with limited tools, time, and space. Also, to see if my life turns out to be exactly like an episode of Girls.

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Oh wait! It kind of already is.

Speaking of New York, anyway, I’m sure you’ve all heard of the latest food craze to sweep Gotham- the Cronut. It was first introduced a few months ago by Dominique Ansel, and everyone is like freaking crackheads (cronut-jobs?) about them now. It’s a croissant/donut hybrid, meaning basically it’s croissant dough that’s fried into the shape of a donut. Which is, indeed, awesome.

Food crazes like this are always intriguing to me, though they are never really something I want to invest myself in. Sure, the Cronut sounds delicious, but really is anything delicious enough to get in line at 5 AM and wait for six hours? At the risk of sounding cliché…

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I compare it to Franklin BBQ here in Austin- what started as a food trailer turned into a tiny permanent establishment, word continued to spread about their delicious brisket, Bourdain went there, and now you have to get in line before 8 AM every day to even have a prayer to eat by noon. That’s not really my thing. I get real hangry, real fast.

So I’m not even gonna give myself the benefit of the doubt and say that I will have the time or patience to get a cronut when I get to NYC. I decided to take my final opportunity to utilize the glory of a fully-equipped, spacious kitchen and make my own damn cronuts. After all, it’s just fried croissant dough- can’t be that hard.

Well, it turns out the croissant dough part is actually pretty hard. No, not hard, labor intensive. The first few recipes I encountered read like the instruction manual for an IKEA bed. Once again, I have no patience. Then I stumbled onto a glorious recipe on a glorious blog, Top with Cinnamon. It’s a step-by-step recipe with gifs! Holy shit! Why didn’t I think of that?

Brilliant, and it really guided me seamlessly through the process. I won’t even try to do a better job of instructing than she does, so I invite you to make the croissant dough from her blog and then defer back to me on the frying, filling, and glazing part. You have to set aside a couple days for these, but trust me they are worth it. I can’t speak to whether they they are as good as Ansel’s, let’s just say they’re up there.

I used a marshmallow cream filling with chocolate and lemon glaze, but you can really go crazy and try out different flavors.

Here’s the process:

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(Yes, that is a rectangle of butter.)

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After you have done 4 “turns” of the dough, it will look like this:

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Thin layers of butter and dough. That’s how you know you’ve done it right. Let it sit overnight, then roll out each piece of dough and cut ‘em into donuts.

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Fry ‘em up

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Fill ‘em…

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And glaze ‘em…

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The rumors are true. These are fucking amazing. Oh, and I saved some dough for actual croissants, and they were heavenly.

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Cronuts with Lemon Vanilla and Chocolate Ganache Glazes

Makes: 8 cronuts

Ingredients:

1 recipe croissant dough from Top with Cinnamon (if you must make them in a pinch, you can use Pillsbury crescent rolls)

1 quart vegetable oil (or any other neutrally-flavored oil)

2 cups granulated sugar

3 tbsp cinnamon

Marshmallow cream filling, recipe follows (optional)

Lemon vanilla glaze, recipe follows

Chocolate ganache glaze, recipe follows

Marshmallow Cream Filling

1 cup marshmallow cream

1 tbsp milk

Combine in a bowl and stir until smooth.

Lemon Vanilla Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

3/4 cup chocolate chips

2 tbsp heavy cream or milk

3 tbsp powdered sugar

Combine chocolate and cream in a bowl and heat in the microwave for 40 seconds, remove and stir until chocolate is melted. Add in powdered sugar and stir until combined.

Directions:

Follow the croissant dough recipe until step 12, when you cut the dough into quarters and allow it to rise in the fridge overnight. The next day, roll each quarter into 8″ by 4″ rectangles. Use a 4″ diameter donut or cookie cutter to cut two rounds from each slab of dough.

Heat a pot of oil to 375 degrees and mix sugar and cinnamon in a large dish. Fry the cronuts in the oil for about 30 seconds on each side, until golden brown. Toss directly from the oil into cinnamon-sugar mixture and coat evenly.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a metal tip, inject the marshmallow cream from the top into 4 different places. Spoon the glaze of your choice over the top. Eat IMMEDIATELY!