On May 10, 2013, chef Dominique Ansel introduced the Cronut™ to the world and trademarked the name shortly thereafter. Almost immediately, people went crazy for this half-croissant, half-doughnut hybrid, with some folks getting in line in front of his eponymous SoHo bakery as early as 4 a.m. If you don’t feel like getting up before dawn, check out the restaurants below. While they don’t make Cronuts, what they do make is sure to satisfy just the same. By Jessica Allen.
More: NYC’s 7 Best Doughnuts
Le Petit Bakery in Fort Greene makes a square pastry called a “squat” that has drawn comparisons to the Cronut. (The name comes from the exercises you have to do to burn off the calories, the owner told a reporter recently.) Squats combine the flaky interior of a croissant with the fried, crunchy exterior of a doughnut, with fillings and toppings like bacon, maple syrup, coconut, chocolate, vanilla, and sprinkles.
If imitation truly is the highest form of flattery, then Ansel should feel very, very flattered by the “French donut” on offer at Mille-feuille, in the West Village. After the pastry chef/co-owner stuffs the various creams that are used in the bakery’s eclairs into croissant dough, he fries the whole shebang. The result is chewy, deep fried goodness. Current flavors include vanilla bean, raspberry, and chocolate.
Dessert Club ChikaLicious in the East Village serves up a delicious “Dough’ssant” in such flavors as Meyer lemon and raspberry, with vanilla cream filling (pictured). Not content with simply blending croissants and doughnuts and coining portmanteaus, the pastry wizards here dreamed up the Yummm! Bun, which marries a croissant to a cinnamon bun, keeping the cream cheese glaze that cements all the layers together. A great idea, and a very fun name.
The bakers (and marketers) at Gregory’s Coffee went for simplicity and straightforwardness. The various locations of this upscale coffee shop sell a “croissant doughnut.” These babies aren’t always available, but when they are, they’re not-too-sweet, awfully filling, and totally satiating, just like the original. Complete your order with a latte, with a design or character etched in foam. Go there often enough, and you can become a “Gregular.”
The City Bakery has a baked good sure to please anyone searching for a creative croissant, savory snack, or breakfast pick-me up: the pretzel croissant. Whole wheat croissant dough is studded with sea salt, then twisted into shape, dipped into a lye solution, and dusted with sesame seeds. It flakes like a croissant, crunches like a pretzel. The bakery’s outpost in Osaka, Japan, has experienced lines of Cronut-like proportions since opening in April 2013.
If it’s a two-for-one taste you’re looking for, look no further than a “brookster” from Baked, where everything is made fresh daily. This little bakery in Red Hook starts by shaping a moist, dark brownie base into a shell. On top is poured chocolate chunk cookie batter. Everything gets baked, and what comes out is basically a brownie-cookie tart. Eat it with a fork, eat it with your hands, call it the most holy of trinities.