Knockoff Cronuts

Cronut. Possibly the strangest name for a pastry I have ever heard. But Dominique Ansel is a genius for creating this wonderful thing.
A cronut is a donut made of flaky croissant dough. The dough is layered over and over to create the buttery flakes, and then it is cut to shape and fried until crispy. The process is not easy, but it is so worth it. Ansel says that a batch of cronuts takes three days to make in his bakery, and they sell out almost immediately every morning.

As soon as I heard about the cronut, I knew I had to attempt it. And let me tell you, eating a cronut hot off of the fryer is a wonderful feeling. Yes, these are knockoff cronuts. The only real cronut is found in New York at Ansel’s bakery. But if you’re feeling brave, give it a try. I promise it is worth it.

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I made these cronuts with a laminated danish dough that was already folded and ready to go in the bakery. We make danishes and croissants on a very, very large scale. So I want to share another way to go about this process. Jessica from How Sweet Eats provides a very basic approach for home bakers. Her croissant tutorial can be found here, but I will type out the directions in this post as well.

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Makes about 15.

  • 1½ cups warm whole milk (about 105℉)
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. plus ½ tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3¾-4½ cups AP flour
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1½ cups cold butter

“To make dough, combine milk, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer attached with a dough hook, and let sit until foamy – about 5-10 minutes. If it doesn’t foam, start over. Once foamy, add 3¾ cups flour and the salt, and mix on low speed until dough comes together and is soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer dough to your workspace and knead by hand for a minute or 2, using more flour to make it silky and not sticky. Form dough into a 1½ inch thick rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
Once dough has chilled, set butter sticks next to each other with their sides touching. Pound it down with a rolling pin to soften it a bit, then set it between two towels or two sheets of plastic wrap. I found this to be the most challenging part. Using the rolling pin, continue to press down on it with the rolling pin and roll. I also used my hands to press it down and form it into 8 x 5 inch rectangle. Once done, wrap in plastic wrap and chill while rolling dough.
Remove dough from plastic wrap and sit on a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, stretch the dough (especially the corners) into the 16 x 10 inch rectangle. I was wary of this but it actually works pretty easily – just be sure to measure! Place dough with a short end near you. Set butter slab in the middle of the dough, then fold the ends up like a letter: top half down and bottom half up. Turn dough again so the short side is facing you, and use the rolling pin to press down equally on the dough to help flatten it. Roll dough into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle, rolling out to the ends but not actually over the ends. Again, fold the dough like a letter: top have down and bottom half up, and stretch so the corners are square. This should form a 10 x 5 inch rectangle (roughly). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
Repeat step 3 THREE more times, for a total of four folds, chilling the dough for one hour after each fold. After the fourth and final fold, wrap dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 8-12 hours, no longer.”

Now for the donut part of the cronut. Roll your dough to about two or three inches thick. You want it to be pretty thick! Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out donuts from dough. Use a smaller round biscuit cutter to cut out the donut hole in the middle of each cronut. Place cronuts onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a towel, and set in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours.
Once the cronuts are slightly bigger and puffy, fill a large saucepot  or dutch oven with plenty of vegetable oil. Heat the oil over medium heat until the oil reaches 375℉. Carefully drop the cronuts into the oil and let fry until deep golden brown. Mine took only a few minutes, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove cronuts from oil and set on paper towel to drain excess oil. Cronuts can be decorated however you want! I rolled mine in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with a simple glaze, but the possibilities are endless.

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I’m so sorry for the long directions. But it is seriously worth it.

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