The Verdict on Cronuts: A Dominique Ansel Bakery Review

Cronuts are kind of a big deal. When they first came out, I remember reading about how people were standing in line for 3 hours to get them. When I was in New york last year, I went on the Dominique Ansel Bakery website and saw that it was possible to pre-order them…6 weeks in advance! I was in New York a couple of weeks ago and decided to see what all the hype was about. Luckily, there was no 3-hour wait. Not only were maybe five other people in line ahead of us, but there were plenty of cronuts for sale. So what’s the verdict? Are cronuts pieces of heaven shaped like donuts? Are they a ridiculous marketing ploy to get otherwise sane individuals to throw their dignity out the window in order to try a new pastry hybrid? Cronuts are pretty much what I expected…

Dominique Ansel Bakery Desserts
Dominique Ansel Bakery Desserts

Let me preface this by saying cronuts weren’t even on my initial to-eat list. We had spent the day eating our way through Greenwich Village. We wanted something sweet and a quick Yelp search pointed us to the Dominique Ansel Bakery around the corner. “Do you guys want to go to that place that sells cronuts?” Needless to say, the answer was, “Yeah, but I’m not standing in a 3-hour line.” We got in and discovered the line was relatively short. We also managed to find a table and had no trouble placing our orders fairly quickly.

Cronut Flavor of the Month

Here’s the thing about the Dominique Ansel Bakery: They only have one “cronut flavor of the month”. Don’t like the pear chamomile cronut being served in January? Come back in February when they’re serving…TBA. Yeah, they don’t announce the Flavor of the Month until like two weeks before the start of the month! Truth be told, I wasn’t crazy about the pear chamomile cronut, so we created our own little dessert buffet consisting of a few different options. We got one cronut to start, nutella milk bread, some random cake and the blooming hot chocolate.

Blooming Hot Chocolate at Dominique Ansel Bakery

Let me warn you about the blooming hot chocolate: It is HOT! Like, scalding hot. I had it sitting there for a good 20 minutes and it still burned my esophagus. Maybe ask for an ice cube or something – don’t worry, it won’t dilute the drink. You can take the term “hot chocolate” very literally in this case – it’s thick melted chocolate with what I assume is heavy whipping cream. In other words, it’s delicious! The staff will give you a chance to pull your camera out to record the “blooming” part:

Pear Chamomile Cronut

The cronut was ready in about 15 minutes – not that they were making them fresh. I have a feeling they draw out the wait to increase demand. I cut into it, took a bite, and it was…fine. The pear chamomile flavor was actually very subtle – there was barely any  pear jam in there, which I preferred anyway. The cronut was just average – a little stale, even. I was pretty puzzled over all the type. But then again, I find Americans have the worst taste in sweets (no offense guys).

I remember the first time I visited the U.S., my cousin was raving about Now & Laters. She talked about it so much, it turned into a song. So we trekked up to 711, I tried one and nearly broke my tooth. The same goes with pretty much every single popular dessert people seem to love stateside. Everything is usually loaded up with sugar and little else. And while I understand Dominique Ansel is a French pastry chef, he was clearly catering to an American audience with the cronut. 😉

Pear and Chamomile Cronut and Milk Bread from Dominique Ansel Bakery
Dominique Ansel Bakery: Pear and chamomile cronut and milk bread

The cronut would probably have tasted slightly better if it had been warmed up. It sort of had the same consistency as the kouign amann from Philz’s coffee – there was nothing very “croissant-like” about it. That being said, cronuts really don’t hold a candle to Philz chocolate kouign amann. Those, I would gladly stand in a 3-hour line for.

Nutella Milk Bread at Dominique Ansel Bakery

Of all the treats I had at the Dominique Ansel Bakery, the Nutella Milk Bread stood out as the best. It wasn’t too sweet or dry (I’m looking at you, cronuts) and it contained Nutella – enough said. I opted out of the cookie shot, which is probably the second most popular item there. It didn’t look that appealing and let’s face it – the front-runner didn’t exactly live up to the hype. How do you think a cookie, shaped like a milk-filled shot glass would compare?

Cronuts: Final Verdict

Overall, I think cronuts are extremely overhyped. I can sort of understand why people made a big deal out of them when they first came out. But I think the excitement was largely the doing of a well-oiled public relations machine. Perhaps that’s why, five years after cronuts were first introduced, the line to buy them has shrunk to a more reasonable size.

Have you tried cronuts from the Dominique Ansel Bakery? Did you think they’re worth the hype?

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