My First Impostor Cronut

Photo by Semi Sweet Bakery - Regular CrullantCronuts have invaded America, dare I say, the world.

Correction, Cronuts TM have invaded New York, birthplace of the pastry trademarked by chef, Dominique Ansel.

All others are impostors capitalizing on the craze (see global map). The un-trademarked names may vary, but they’re all trying to create something akin to Ansel’s popular croissant-donut hybrid.

Ansel’s croissant dough is fried, rolled in sugar, filled with cream, and topped with a glaze. Each CronutTM sells for $5 pre-tax and patrons are limited to two each.

In Southern California, it’s becoming nearly impossible to keep up with new “Cronut” bakers. It seems another surfaces every week. However, I always knew I wanted my first impostor to be the Crullant at Semi Sweet Bakery in Downtown Los Angeles.

On June 29, Semi Sweet Bakery began selling their croissant-donut hybrid on weekends only. Pastry chef, Sharlena Fong bakes her Crullant instead of frying. For their debut, they only offered it glazed with no filling. Customers were limited to two and the price was $3.95 each.

It was hit, selling out as quickly as a half hour after opening in its initial weeks.

I do not live close to Downtown Los Angeles. Moreover, I am not an early morning person. Thus, I planned a sneak attack for my recon. I swooped in while LA residents were away for Labor Day weekend.

I arrived at Semi Sweet Bakery around 10am on Saturday. I did not see their Crullant behind the display case, so I was worried at first. I replayed the conversation I had on the phone with an associate the day before. He advised their inventory should be okay until 11am.

I asked for their Crullant. Turns out they kept them hidden in the back. Whew.

Photo by Semi Sweet Bakery - Crème CrullantTo my surprise, I was told they just added crème filled to their menu and I was asked my preference. Of course I had to try one of each. The crème filled sold for a little more, $4.25.

I had waited two months for my first “Cronut”; so waiting until I was home to savor the experience was a minimal delay.

I started with the Regular Crullant, not knowing really what to expect…

It was flaky and buttery. The sweetness of the glaze was light. It was definitely more croissant than donut, just a touch more crispy.

I enjoyed it, but thought it needed something else to enhance its flavor. I give the Regular Crullant a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Without an intermission, I dove into the Crème Crullant.

OMG, this was a life changing experience!

The vanilla bean crème in the middle was heavenly. It was just the complement the regular one was missing. Combined with the burnt sugar glaze on top, this Crullant was perfection.

I uttered a different exclamation of rapture with every bite.

For this, I’d set my alarm clock and arise at dawn. I give the Crème Crullant 4.5 out of 5 stars.

My friends, this is just the beginning of my “Cronut” quests. As a foodie, I cannot ignore this craze, nor do I want to. It is simply too scrumptious. I will never abandon cupcakes or other frosted treats. I have merely made more room in my stomach.

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