Have you had the pleasure of meeting the "cronut?" It's the pasty hybrid of your culinary dreams - a decadent cross between a croissant and a donut. The result is delicious - and it can be found right here in Chicago. But, be prepared. The illusive "cronut" goes by many clever, different "aliases," is only made by certain local bakeries and set times, and is in high demand. But, that's not going to stop you from getting your hands on one, right?
A New York Creation Available in the Windy City
The original "cronut" was created in New York City by French pastry chef Dominique Ansel. The baker started offering it at his self-titled bakery this past spring. Since the day the first batch came out of the oven, people have queued up to given them a try. And, other bakers across the country - and in Chicago - have hurried to get in on the action.
But, thanks to Mr. Ansel's effort to trademark the popular pastry's name, you can only get the official "cronut" at his Big Apple Bakery. But, while the name may differ at other bakeries, the ingenious merger of the croissant and the doughnut can still be enjoyed in the Windy City.
Where to Find the "Cronut" - By Other Names - in Chicago
The list of Chicago bakeries offering "cronuts" by other names continues to grow on a regular basis. For the most part, you can plan to shell out about $3 - $5 for one. Here are a few of your best bakery bets to seek out and sample the now famous pastry.
Alliance Bakery, 1736 W. Division St.
On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, you can find "kronuts" at the Alliance Bakery in Wicker Park. Current flavors include vanilla pastry cream-filled rose glaze, blueberry-filled lemon glaze, and chocolate-filled ganache glazed. While you're there, be sure to check out their amazing, whimsical cakes - and grab a macaron or two, too.
Glazed & Infused, 813 W. Fulton Market
When I first "met" Glazed & Infused, I was amazed by their innovative doughnut creations - including a long john with a full strip of bacon across its maple-frosted top. They've continued to push the culinary envelope with their own take on the "cronut" dubbed "Scott's Hott's." Recent flavors included cinnamon sugar, chocolate glazed, and black and white. For now, you can only purchase them on Saturdays from their Fulton Market location.
Gur Sweets Bakery, 162 N. York St., Elmhurst
"Cronuts" are cropping up outside of the Chicago city limits too. In west suburban Elmhurst, you can find them at Gur Sweets Bakery. The European-influenced bakery offers "gurnuts" in such flavors as triple chocolate, strawberry mango and rose vanilla. You can find them there Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They'll even deliver them to you in the city (dozen minimum) - perfect for whenever that "cronut" (or "gurnut") craving hits!
La Boulangerie, 915 W. Belmont Ave.
La Boulangerie in Lakeview offers the "crognet" - a crossant-beignet. Recent flavors included powered sugar, caramel glazed, bacon vanilla glazed, classic vanilla glazed, chocolate with vanilla cream filled, and fruit jam filled. These days you can only find them on the weekends, part of the bakery's efforts to meet high demand. But, in a post it shared via Facebook on July 29, you can place an order to pick up five or more "crognets" any time or any day. You just need to give the bakery 24 hours advance notice. Now that's as close as you can get to immediate gratification - at least when it comes to "cronuts"!
West Town Bakery & Diner, 1916 W. Chicago Ave.
West Town Bakery & Diner puts a different shape on the traditional "cronut" with its "doughssant." The "doughssant" boldly combines the croissant with a filled long john doughnut. Recent flavors included blueberry lavender, chocolate, coffee cream cheese and raspberry.
As the popularity of the "cronut" continues to soar, I'm sure we'll see more versions - with different names - popping up in more Chicago bakeries. Check back here for the latest Chicago "cronut" updates.
Portions of this story originally appeared in the My French Life online magazine.
Have you tried a "cronut?" Where else have you spotted and sampled "cronuts" in Chicago? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.