I recently procured a new cookbook – Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes – and it brought back memories of me being in line for the Cronut. This is also why I am inspired to write this post.
I was on a Cronut mission. And since the Cronuts are produced in limited quantities daily, we were told to arrive by 8 a.m. in order to snag some. We had to work backwards – in order to reach the line by 8 a.m., we had to leave our place by latest 730 a.m., get up by 7 a.m., and sleep by 12 a.m. the night before. Planning is key. It takes us about 25 minutes to walk to Spring Street, where the bakery is located at. Maybe faster if we brisk-walked. Thankfully the weather was on our side. We practically went by foot everywhere in NYC — clocking some 20,000+ steps a day (of course we had to, we were having an average of 6 meals a day!)
So what exactly is a Cronut?
Take a guess. It’s actually pretty simple.
The equation is as follows: Croissant + Donut = Croissant Donut (or Cronut in short)
It is essentially a crossbreed of a croissant and donut, deep fried, and rolled in sugar, filled with cream and topped with glaze.
The Cronut is so popular that they even have a Cronut 101 featured on the official website. Damn, if only I had known about their online reservation system beforehand. That would have given me an extra hour of sleep.
There is only one flavour of the Cronut pastry per month. We had the Sweet Clementine Ricotta. It was good, but not particularly spectacular. I think I’d have preferred it to be more flaky and less dense. I’ll stick to having a donut or croissant on its own, instead of a hybrid. I do however love Cruffins (will save that for another post.)
Still, I’m glad to have struck this off my bucket list. There is some satisfaction derived from queueing (and bagging) these highly-coveted Cronuts just because I’m a tourist in NYC.
Other Cronut tips:
- Arrive by 730am on a week day and you stand a great chance. Weekends tend to be busier.
- They are officially opened at 9am so be prepared to queue in the cold or heat until then.
- There is a 2 Cronut pastry per person limit for in-store purchases.
- Try the online reservation system.
- Skip the Cronut and go for the DKA, cookie shot and the madeleines (made to order!)
While you’re at Dominique Ansel Bakery, try these…
DKA (otherwise known as Dominique’s Kouign Amann). It is a caramelized and round version of a croissant pastry and an interpretation of the French classic, the Kouign Amann, or “buttery cake” in Celtic. Crispy on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside – this pastry won over my tastebuds. I bought it as I was feeling peckish while still in the queue for the Cronuts and felt it’s a pity it doesn’t receive as much limelight as the Cronut.
Frozen S’mores. This a showstopper as the S’more is flambéed to order and in front of your eyes. It is playfully served on an apple wood smoked tree branch meant to resemble a marshmallow being grilled. A surprise center awaits you as you tear apart the marshmallow and bite into custard ice cream covered with crispy chocolate wafer chips, which provides a nice contrast. I would have preferred it if they used less meringue because the sweetness was rather overpowering. Loved the custard ice cream though. So it’s true that Chef Ansel is not only a Chef, but also a mad scientist.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shot. Another favourite of mine. The only kind of shot I’d willingly down over and over again. The interior of the “shot glass” is wrapped with chocolate so that it remains crisp. The milk acquires a depth from the 66% valrhona chocolate used to coat the shells. This is to be eaten on the spot. The clever dessert is also nostalgic as it combines two simple childhood favourites – cookies and milk. Genius! Also, do note shots go on sale from 3 p.m. daily (yes, I made a return trip within the same day.)
Mini madeleines. These are only made to order and so, so underrated. Fluffy, light and lemon-specked, you could pop 10 of these scalloped mini-cakes at one go. Packed in a little paper basket, I can imagine taking them away on walks back to my place, provided they’d make it past the end of the block.
Tip: eat it in its warm state to retain the best texture and flavour.
Dominique Ansel Bakery, New York City189 Spring St
New York, NY 10012
b/t Thompson St & Sullivan St
8am to 7pm (Monday to Saturday)
9am to 7pm (Sunday)
Might feature a list of my favourite NYC eats in another post — what do you guys think?