You may have heard of a little something called the Cronut. It's the croissant-doughnut lovechild that has prompted sugar-fueled insanity across the nation. Three months after it launched at Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City, people are still waiting in two-hour lines in hope of getting a taste of the flaky, buttery, cream-injected treat (only 200 are made each day). The craze has sparked recipe hacks, celebrity ridiculousness (Heidi Klum saved a seat on her private jet for a box of the things) and an underground market--on Craigslist, one man even offered to exchange the cult pastries for sexual favors. Ewwwwwww.
The wonder dessert has also spawned countless knockoffs, aka faux-nuts. I found three local bakeries that offer a version of the Cronut, and took on the very arduous task of sampling each one. I know, I know--tough job but somebody's gotta do it. I present to you my taste test.
Fusion Tea Bar
Cronut imposter: The Doughssant Price: $4.50 Verdict: Light and flaky with a cream filling that's subtly sweet. While perfectly crispy on the outside with a snowtop of sugar, it's a tad too buttery on the inside. The first couple bites were heavenly--after that, I started to feel my arteries quiver. Try to get it while it's fresh. When I went, they had a few batches sitting out. 13771 Newport Ave., Suite 12, Tustin, (714) 838-8887; www.fusionteabar.com
Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Cafe
Cronut imposter: The Dornut Price: $3.95, four varieties available: custard, cinnamon sugar, chocolate and, on occasion, strawberry jam. Verdict: Obscenely good. I tried the custard and cinnamon sugar. Each layer is soft, dense and chewy, like a beignet done right. The guy at the counter told me that while Cronuts are more expensive than a typical doughnut, we'd be amazed by how much dough goes into each one. The custard was rich; the cinnamon sugar tasted like a churro. I'm in love. Go early as they only make a dozen or a dozen-and-a-half per day, and usually sell out by 9:30 a.m. 1126 Irvine Ave, Newport Beach, (949) 209-5099; www.pandorbakery.com The Donuttery
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Cronut imposter: The Cronuttery Price: $5 Verdict: It's more like a strawberry tart--strawberries and cream sandwiched between two glazed, Cronut-esque doughnuts. The sugary glaze and other add-ons overpower the layers of dough, which is what the Cronut should be all about. 17420 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 847-7000
It's official. The best Cronuts in OC are served at Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Cafe. Now excuse me while I slip into my stretchy pants and detox from my sugar coma.