It’s been over a year since my last post, I know. I was reminded today of my food blog, so I thought I would try to update a little more often. I’m sure many of my readers wondered what happened to me in the past year. Did I finally learn to cook and no longer have a need to try all the restaurants in Manhattan? Nope, I got lazy and post all my food discoveries and adventures on Instagram. Regardless, I’ll give my blog a whirl again.
I’m sure almost everyone has heard about the infamous Cronut. It’s a croissant and doughnut pastry. To be more specific, imagine a deep fried croissant with filling and frosting. The ever so creative pastry chef/baker Dominique Ansel came up with the first Cronut. I remember buying my first Cronut with almost no fanfare at his bakery. There was no line or Cronut limit per customer. I stopped by the bakery on the way to work since it was on the way. I actually was buying the Cronut for a friend who I would be seeing later that day. To be honest, I wasn’t very interested in the flavor as it was Rose Vanilla and didn’t even try it. Right after I bought this Cronut, there was a lot of press and social media buzzing about this great invention and before I knew it there was a line outside of Dominique Ansel Bakery every morning.
Since my office at the time was right around the corner from the bakery, my coworkers and I were very curious about the Cronut, but none of us wanted to wait on the ridiculous line. Then we found out that we would be able to “pre-order” Cronuts (maximum of 6) every Monday at 11am via phone. The phone line was so busy that my coworkers and I were unsuccessful our first few attempts. Then I remember very clearly that one of my coworkers was able to get through one Monday at around 12pm! Previously we had stopped around 11:30am assuming that all the Cronuts were sold out. After we discovered this very important detail, we were able to pre-order Cronuts on a pretty regular basis. The reason why I’m still on this Cronut train? Every month there is a different flavor! I have tried almost all the flavors (even Coconut) and they have all been pretty delicious. At the beginning of my Cronut journey, I would eat an entire Cronut when I did a pre-order. These days (more than a year later), I have at most half a Cronut just so I can get the taste.
Let me be clear that the Cronut is pretty delicious if you eat it within a couple hours of buying or picking up from the bakery. It is crispy with some kind of tasty rich filling inside and frosting outside. I found out that I prefer the fruit-flavored Cronuts (such as Passion fruit, Blackberry, Raspberry, Lemon, etc) because most of them had fruit jam filling instead of cream filling. I find having a cream filling and the frosting does make it a bit over-whelming for SOME people. Also per their FAQ, the Cronut has a very short shelf-life and should be eaten the same day. I did transport three Cronuts to Taiwan and after almost 24 hours from when I purchased them at the bakery, and when I landed in Taipei, they tasted very greasy and stale. However, I do know that Dominique is opening up a new location in Tokyo, so maybe now my friends in Taiwan can get a fresher taste.
So is the Cronut worth the wait? No, I wouldn’t wait more than 5 minutes in a line to purchase a maximum of two Cronuts. However, Dominique has now setup an ONLINE pre-order system, which of course gets over-loaded every Monday at 11am, but I have had even more success with acquiring Cronuts. My tips for the online pre-order:
- Since the online pre-order requires a Paypal account, make sure you are all signed up and KNOW your Paypal login credentials.
- Take a look at the Cronut 101 page to see the dates that will be available for pre-order. Usually you are ordering Cronuts at least two weeks in advance. For example, for this Monday (1/12/15), Dominique Ansel is taking orders for the week of January 26 – February 1. You should know in advance which day of the week you want and what time you want to pick it up. I believe they currently use 1 or 2 hour time slots for pick-up times.
- If you do not know what the flavor of the month is, refer to the Cronut 101 page again. They usually announce the next month’s flavor around the middle (16th-18th) of the current month. You can follow Dominique Ansel on Twitter to receive these very important announcements.
- Open the Cronut Pre-order website at least 5 minutes before 11:00am EST in multiple browsers (I personally use Chrome, Firefox and Safari).
- I start refreshing the website 1 or 2 minutes before 11:00am EST (similar to buying concert tickets on Ticketmaster.com).
- If you get to the PayPal payment page, then you have MOST likely succeeded in acquiring Cronuts. CONGRATULATIONS!
- I would recommend buying the maximum amount, which is 6. This is because I am pretty sure your friends want to try it! Why not spread the Cronut love?
I actually was the head of my previous company’s Cronut Club and even had special Cronut e-mail list to send to club members about very important Cronuts news. I accepted payment via cash, Venmo and Paypal and it was great! Also, Dominique Ansel did publish a cookbook that includes his at-home Cronut recipe and it takes THREE days to make and a lot of butter and kitchen equipment that my tiny NYC kitchen would not be able handle. I would rather spend $5 ($5.44 including tax) to try the Cronut flavor of the month. Also as a side note, I attempted to make Dominique Ansel’s “simple” Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cookies and those took two days and I ended up failing miserably. I’ll leave the French baking to the professionals!
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