How To: Copycat Cronuts (Yeah, Cronuts!)

For those of you who do not know what a cronut is, it is a hybrid of a croissant and a donut. Rather than frying the ordinary batter to make a donut, croissant pastry dough is fried instead. This creates thin, crispy and butter layers instead of a fluffy donut. To make things even better, the cronut has a light vanilla cream filling.

Chef Dominique Ansel is the mastermind behind this culinary creation and has made everyone go crazy for his tedious-to-make, but delicious breakfast treat.

These hybrid pastries are only found in New York City; in fact, Ansel only makes 200-250 of them each day. But, because the world is literally going crazy over these things, a multitude of cronut copycats, like the doissant, have emerged.

Hopefully this pastry will make its way down to Houston, but until then, here is a recipe using Pillsbury crescent dinner rolls.

While this recipe doesn't come anywhere close to the tedious and time-consuming skills it takes to make the cronut, it is pretty tasty.

First, unroll the crescent dinner rolls from the package and create four rectangles. You will basically seal two triangles together and press the inside edges together so it is a cohesive rectangle. Next, stack one rectangle on top of the other so you have two stacks. Fold the rectangles in half to create a square. Now you have "layers" like a croissant.

Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut circles out of the squares, then cut out a 1-inch circle out of each donut. I used a melon baller and scooped out the hole in each donut. Roll the leftover dough together and make a third donut.

Once you have your donuts ready to go, heat two cups of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a deep pot or deep-fryer. As soon as the oil is hot enough, place the donuts into the oil and fry until golden. The recipe calls for frying each side for a minute and a half, however, at 350 degrees, the donuts will turn very brown very fast, so I recommend frying at a slightly lower temperature to ensure the donuts are cooked through completely and a not too brown.

Place each donut onto a paper towel to drain the oil and cool for five minutes. While the donuts cool, scoop a cup of prepared vanilla pudding into a plastic bag or piping bag, and prepare the powdered sugar-milk glaze to go on top of each donut. Once the donuts have cooled, slice them in half, pipe a good amount of pudding onto one side, then seal the donut shut. Drizzle caramel syrup on the top of each donut, sprinkle with Kosher salt and finish with the glaze. These cronut copycats are truly delicious and don't take that much effort. You will definitely love the crunchiness of the donut -- in fact, it tastes like it has layers like a croissant would -- and the sweet-salty combination of caramel, sea salt and vanilla pudding.

This is a great base recipe to create other flavors of copycat cronuts. Fill each donut with chocolate pudding, banana pudding or lemon pudding, and top with coconut, miniature chocolate chips, or cover completely with a sugar glaze. If these taste great, I can't even imagine how wonderful a real cronut tastes.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Molly Dunn
Contact: Molly Dunn