I wish I could say that I have been in the know about Cronuts since their NYC debut in May 2013. The first time I heard about them – correction. The first time I read about them was peeking over my husband’s shoulder as he chatted with his sister on the flight from Phoenix to Newark. She asked us ever so nonchalantly if we were going to try to get a Cronut. Being the uncool older siblings we were, we had no idea what the heck a Cronut was. I was scared to even google it because I was afraid it had an urban dictionary meaning (if you know what I mean) and I didn’t want a dirty picture to pop up on the iPad with a stranger sitting next to me. (I have been said stranger sitting next to someone who frantically tried to close their browser window when a NSFW picture popped up! To say it was an awkward flight would be a gross understatement.) Imagine the joy I felt when I discovered Cronuts were pastries!
Here are some facts I learned about the famous Cronut:
- It derives its name from Croissants + Doughnuts (also known as Doughssants or Cronots by some knockoffs)
- Dominique Ansel took 2 months to create it. Each Cronut takes 3 days to make.
- There is only one flavor that you can get. May: Rose Vanilla; June: Lemon Maple; July: Blackberry
- Cronuts must be eaten soon after being purchased. They must not be refrigerated lest they become soggy and yucky.
- People wait in line for hours for this thing.
At first I was totally blasé about this Cronut. How good could it be? I couldn’t even imagine the love child of a croissant and donut. It seemed like upon frying, any hint of buttery croissantness would soon be gone. We started vetting our NY friends about waiting in line for the Cronut. As we chatted my interest started to grow. I found out about the black market for Cronuts, white glove delivery services and scalpers. My curiosity was piqued. I decided I had to experience this for myself. I’m doing it.
Tim and I decided that I would go alone because God knows Tim is NOT a morning person. On a prior trip that necessitated a 5 am airport arrival, I didn’t talk to Tim for hours on the plane because I interpreted his non-morningness as anger toward me. The whole flight I was convinced he was mad at me and giving me the silent treatment. Here I was racking my brain as to what thing I could’ve done that miffed my husband so badly when he was just grumpy from waking up before the sun rose. There was NO way Tim was getting up at the equivalent of 2:30am PST to wait in line.
I took the subway to SoHo and walked the 0.4 miles to Dominique Ansel when the line already around the corner. I got there just before 7am and the bakery opens at 9am. People brought beach chairs, blankets, monopoly deal and kindles ready to endure the infamous wait. When they first opened, Cronuts were $3.50 and you could buy six at a time! Now they are $5 a piece and you are only allowed two per person. Experts say that they make about 300 a day so you better hope that you are in the first 150 in line.
I saw an Asian family of four in front of me. Kids were visibly miserable on their iPhones poking the screen, probably crushing candy, parents were jabbing away about Cronut lore… I felt like I saw a glimpse of my future – Tim and I dragging our kids out of bed at the crack of dawn to get Cronuts just so we could use their bodies to procure more than our share.
The first hour I started Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and then suddenly around 8am, the guy behind me left! This was so shocking that the guy behind him and I put down our respective devices and hypothesized about what could have happened in his life that he would leave the line. As the hour passed we shared favorite haunts in the city and held each other’s spots in line so we could walk around… we even talked about doing a house swap because he’s always wanted to spend a week or two in California. Having a line buddy makes all the difference. They can help you get coffee, let you pee, stretch, walk and keep you company. I highly recommend getting one if you find yourself in line. Bonus points if you don’t know them that well that way you can spend time asking the fun get to know you questions that your spouse may or may not have the patience for.
Here are some pictures from my adventure (sorry for the redundancy if you followed my Cronut saga on fb on Sunday).
I went into the store around 9:30 am. At around 9:45, I handed the cashier my credit card and she gave me a box of two Cronuts and I had to try the DKA – Dominique Kouign Amann ($5.50) since this was their signature pastry before the Cronut.
Here was my first bite:
The Cronut I had tasted like a slightly stale Morning Bun. I am no pastry chef, but the dough reminded me of the layers inside a donut more than a croissant. There was very little air pockets. The part that I liked the most was the sugar it was rolled around in. The frosting was a little tart (I’m guessing that was supposed to be the blackberry part) but lacking flavor. My chemoreceptors in my tongue told me it was sour but other than that, if I were blind folded, I couldn’t tell you what flavor it was supposed to be. Tim said it best. This pastry from a deep identity crisis. Not unlike a teenager who doesn’t quite know who they are, the Cronut can be described as an unbuttery filled croissant, dense doughnut, stale morning bun or a sugared cream puff. Honestly I had planned on eating one by myself and maybe saving a bite for a friend I was going to meet up with for church (glutton confessions)… but Tim and I struggled to finish one. We kept each eating bite hoping maybe we missed something and that we’d discover something delightful. It never happened. I had no struggle giving away my 2nd Cronut. After that, all I could think about was Doughnut Plant Doughnuts (another post another day)!
Though the Cronut’s flavor was disappointing, I had so much fun. Some of my best memories of NY happened in that line. For example, when I was walking up the line counting people to see where I was in line people yelled POO! POO! POO! I was confused. Why were they calling me poo? Someone explained that I had almost stepped on DOG POO. Bless these strangers. These strangers also clapped, cheered and congratulated me as I walked past them with Cronuts.
Would I do it again? Possibly. Next time I would bring a beach chair and sunscreen and buy two Cronuts (so I can give it away to the person who was #151 in line) and four DKA’s (the real star of the morning).