A warm, buttery croissant + A steamy cup of rich chai = A Cronut Revolution!
Breakfast may never be the same.
Now for an announcement/confession: I have been experimenting with croissant recipes, trying to reverse engineer the Cronut.
I'm even vaguely entertaining the idea of putting together a Croissant-Donut Cookbook...what do you think? Nutty? Fantastic? (Critical opinions or ego-stroking encouragement will be graciously accepted in the comments below) :)
The thing I can't figure out is if anyone out there is wanting to make a Cronut (*knock-off) at home. The process is not exactly quick. Here's a video of Dominique Ansel, the Cro-father, describing the three day process of making Cronuts on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:
Three days. Yikes. It's the dough layering and rising that takes much of that time, so I experimented with cutting that time down. It seemed to work out okay for me to rise my dough for at least 2 hours instead of overnight.
Julia Child is probably rolling over in her grave right now. Sorry Julia.
Most of us just don't have that kind of time because of all of our other pursuits and responsibilities, but busy people deserve fantastic treats too! (Maybe even more so). And not only does the dough take time, but you have to prepare a filling and topping to assemble a Cronut. So I tried to simplify those too.
Let me know how it goes for you.
Plus, instead of making a typical donut icing from powdered sugar and water, I made a butter-based frosting. Needless to say...it was rich and delicious. Fit for a New York pastry shop, but made in my little home kitchen with a baby bouncer on the floor!
Makes one dozen
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
Canola oil (for frying)
3/4 cup cinnamon-sugar (for coating)
Vanilla Chai Cream Filling
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Chai Buttercream Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter (half a stick), softened
1 tsp light corn syrup
pinch of kosher salt
2-4 tbsp liquid chai tea latte concentrate (ie. Oregon Chai or Tazo Chai), boiling
- Combine the sugar and milk in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Heat until scalded (little bubbles form on the outer edges of the milk, but not a full boil). Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature until it has cooled to 105° F.
- Once the milk has cooled to around 105° F, add the yeast, stirring once to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
- Stir in the oil, salt and vanilla.
- Add 3 cups of the flour and combine with a large spoon until all of the flour is incorporated into a sticky dough. Then add the last 1 cup of flour and switch to your hands (or dough hook if using a mixer) to knead the rest of the flour into the dough. Knead for 5 minutes or until the dough no longer sticks to your hands but is still tacky.
- In a well-floured 13”x18” half sheet pan, roll out the dough rectangle directly in the pan to form a rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest and rise for 10 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, take the cold butter straight from the refrigerator and knead to work out all of the lumps until the butter is the same consistency as the dough but still cold.
- Sandwich the butter between two sheets of parchment paper and roll into a rectangle of uniform thickness, roughly the size of a standard sheet of paper. Refrigerate for 10 to 20 minutes if the butter becomes too soft.
- Peel the butter rectangle from the parchment and place on half of the rolled-out dough like a page in a book. Fold the other side of the dough over the butter and pinch the edges closed. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
- Remove the chilled dough package from refrigerator, and roll back out to a large rectangle. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter, turn it 90 degrees and roll it again to a large rectangle. Repeat 3-4 more times. The developing gluten will start to resist your rolling pin, but keep working it. If you get tired, cover the dough and let it relax in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes. After 4 total turns, wrap the dough in plastic and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, and up to 12 hours.
- After the dough has chilled for at least 2 hours, remove it from the refrigerator, roll to ½” thickness and cut 12 croughnuts with a 3” outer ring and a 1” inner ring. Place croughnuts on a well-floured sheet pan at least 2” apart and store in a cold, closed oven to rise until nearly doubled (about 20 minutes).
- While the croughnuts are rising, fill a large stockpot with canola oil, 2-3” deep. Place over medium heat and monitor the temperature with a thermometer until it reaches 375° F.
- As soon as the oil temperature reaches 375° F, use a flat spatula to carefully transfer the croughnuts into the oil. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side and let oil temperature return to 375° F between croughnuts. Remove from oil onto a wire rack, resting the croughnuts on their sides so excess oil can drip out instead of pooling in the bottom layer. Let cool completely.
- While the croughnuts are cooling, prepare the chai cream filling by combining cream, sugar, vanilla and spices. Whip until stiff peaks form, then spoon into a pastry bag fitted with an injection tip.
- Poke a hole through the top of each croughnut and push the tip down to the bottom, being careful not to pierce the bottom layer. Slowly pull the tip back up while firmly squeezing to dispense about 1 tsp of filling. Repeat for 4 opposing holes around each croughnut.
- Roll the outside of each filled croughnut in cinnamon-sugar and set aside while preparing the chai buttercream frosting.
- Cream butter, powdered sugar, corn syrup and salt. Add boiling chai tea latte concentrate, 1 tbsp at a time until the frosting comes together. Spoon or pipe on the top of each croughnut. Enjoy!