It took me several attempts (see The Cronut Chronicles Part 1 and Part 2) to get a cronut recipe that I liked. I have not had a real Dominique Ansel cronut, so I cannot claim these to be perfect reproductions of his, but they are my reproductions of what I imagine his to be. Maybe the next time I’m in NY the cronut craze will have died down enough for me to snag one and know for sure!
I don’t like to make too many cronuts at a time. This recipe will give you 4 to 8 cronuts and holes, depending on how big or small you cut them, plus scraps. Since there are only two in my household, and cronuts don’t last very long, I like to make the dough, do the folds, then freeze half. I certainly don’t need more than one or two cronuts at a time, especially when they are piped with pastry cream and covered in my favorite cherry/brandy glaze.
For the dough
1 tsp yeast
3/4 cups milk (whole or 2% recommended)
2 tblsp dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
Extra all-purpose flour for rolling/folding
For the butter block
2 oz (half a stick) unsalted butter
2 oz (half a stick) I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (or margarine)
2 tblsp AP flour
For Deep Frying
I tried peanut oil too, I liked the grapeseed better, it seemed lighter and cleaner.
Frosting/glazes of your choice
Sugar, for rolling
First, I like to make the butter block. Take your butter, margarine and flour and mix in a small bowl until they are thoroughly combined. Place it into the center of a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a rectangle, and place in the fridge to chill until it is solid.
Once your butter block is cold, make the yeast dough. You can use the stand mixer, but the dough is pretty soft so this can be done easily with a bowl and a wooden spoon. Either way, mix the milk, sugar and yeast together. Once the yeast has dissolved, add the flours and the salt and mix until just combined. It will be a very soft dough, but you will be adding more flour as you fold/laminate.
Generously flour your work surface and place your soft dough on top. Flour the top and gently roll the dough into a rectangle. Using a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour, then place the now solid butter block on top and fold over the edges to encapsulate the butter.
|Butter centered on dough|
|Edges folded in to encapsulate the butter.|
Here is where you want to work quickly. Grab your rolling pin and roll your butter envelope out so you can do your first fold. You want to tri-fold your dough like a letter. Place the now folded dough in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes. You will want to do the same roll out and tri-fold 3 more times to fully laminate the dough, always leaving at least 30 minutes of rest between each fold. You want to keep the dough cold, you don’t want the butter oozing or melting. After your 4 tri-folds, you want to do a double fold. Again, you roll out the dough and fold over the two edges to meet in the center, then folding the whole package up like a book. This technique is similar to what I do for croissants, so if you are confused, check out that post here. I do more folds for cronut dough than croissant, but that post includes additional detail.
|First half of the double fold, bringing the edges to the center.|
|End of the double fold, folding the two sides together.|
Once you’ve completed all folds, you are done for the night. You can either leave it to rest in the fridge overnight or freeze whatever portion you don’t want to cut/fry the next day.
The next day, when you are ready, pull out your donut cutters, roll out your dough, and cut your donuts, brushing off any excess flour. Let these sit at room temp for one last rise (about 30 minutes) while you heat up your oil to 350 F.
|I cut these smaller than usual, got 4 cronuts out of half the dough.|
Gently place your cronuts in the hot oil and fry until they are golden brown and delicious. They will puff more in the oil, be gentle and make sure you turn them for even browning. When they are done, place on a paper-towel lined plate and get out your toppings/fillings.
|Frying in grapeseed oil, 2 at a time.|
|Out of the fryer.|
Place your pastry cream in a piping bag with a long thin tip. Once the cronuts are cool enough to handle, grab your piping bag, poke the tip through the top of the cronut and pipe in the pastry cream. Next, you can roll in sugar (I often don’t, but cinnamon sugar is nice) and frost/glaze the top and enjoy!
|Waiting for the glaze.|
|Cronuts waiting to be eaten.|