My initial recons took me to the Los Angeles area, twice. Last month, I stayed within the Inland Empire. On this trip, I drove to neighboring Orange County.
Rather than scour a cronut map, I turned to a “Best Of” list. I referenced an Orange County source, OC Weekly’s winner for Best Cronut 2013.
The award went to Cafe 109, a coffee shop in Fullerton, California. They debuted their croissant-donut hybrid in August, calling it a doissant.
The pastry is available daily, but I chose a Saturday around 11am. They had just prepared a fresh batch of doissants. The associates walked me through the six flavors.
It was the Caramel Doissant that earned Cafe 109 their Best in OC title. The pool of caramel in the pastry’s hole was tempting. However, the allure of two other flavors was stronger.
Fresh doissants were $4.50 each. Considering their size, this seemed reasonable. Day-old doissants were discounted by $2 each, a sweet deal if you’re watching your budget.
As usual, I waited until I was home to savor the experience. I started with their Banana Nutella Doissant. Their pastry is filled with fresh bananas blanketed with Nutella. It’s then drizzled with more Nutella on top.
This selection was a no-brainer. As soon as the Cafe 109 associate said Nutella, I was sold.
Like cupcakes, each faux cronut has its signature and from the first bite, I knew this one was different from others I’ve tasted.
The dough was subtly chewy on the outside, then tender within. There was no crunch, unless you count the granulated-sugar coating on the dough.
The filling was glorious. The bananas were chopped into small pieces and the Nutella spread was prevalent. Combined with the dough, it was cronut nirvana.
I moved on to their Lemon Vanilla Doissant. Their pastry is filled with lemon vanilla custard. The sugary dough is then topped with icing.
At Cafe 109, I was intrigued by the lemon flavor. However, the associate advised the vanilla essence was stronger.
This flavor wasn’t as mind-blowing as the Nutella. Then again, that’s a hard act to follow.
Nonetheless, I did enjoy every crumb. The dough was the same, exquisite. Try as I might, I didn’t detect any lemon in the filling. Still, I was pleased with its vanilla flavor.
Overall, I found the Lemon Vanilla to be a less-sweet alternative to the rich Banana Nutella.
I give Cafe 109 4.5 out of 5 stars for their doissants – the highest rating I’ve given any bakery since beginning my quest. That makes it the Best Faux Cronuts I’ve had all year!
Cronuts are sure to make some “Most Memorable” 2013 foodie lists. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the hybrid pastry trend in the coming year.
I confess the cronut was my favorite new addiction of 2013 and I’m not ready to say goodbye… If you continue to show an interest, I’m more than happy to continue this delicious mission.
UPDATE: This business has closed since this article was posted.