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
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
Cronut imposter: The Cronuttery
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.