First came the trademarked Cronut in New York, then two-hour lines for the croissant/doughnut hybrids, then imposter pastries nationwide, and finally the snippy comments from Cronut creator Dominique Ansel about other chefs’ lack of originality. As the silly drama unfolded in the media last year over the true provenance of the buttery, flaky takes on fried dough, eaters around the country weren’t about to complain when their local bakeries figured out the recipe.
As it turns out, the crime against creativity probably wasn’t as heinous as Ansel made bloggers believe. Cindy Hawkins of Circle City Sweets, for one, had already experimented with frying her croissant dough long before the Cronut Age dawned. Then, when she heard about the Cronut frenzy, she tried one more time. It didn’t work. “We had an epic fail,” she says. “We tried to fry a whole croissant.” When Cronuts became a buzzword, she hit the kitchen to tinker with the technique again. Putting sugar between layers of the dough and cutting them down helped, and eventually she hit upon a winning formula. Her “doissant” made its debut one year ago, a couple of weeks before National Donut Day (June 7, 2013). Sales were huge—more than any non-holiday since the bakery opened.
But scoring one of the novelties requires patience. Frying doughnuts takes up a big chunk of Hawkins’s 700-square-foot kitchen in City Market, and she can’t spare the room more than once a month. Fans stalk her Twitter and Facebook accounts waiting for the announcement of doissant day because the delicate, vanilla-glazed pastries disappear as quickly as they are cooked. But even at $2.50 for the palm-sized treats, the scarcity just makes them that much sweeter. City Market, 317-632-3644, circlecitysweets.com
This article appeared in the May 2014 issue.