Like the original cronut, we based our recipe on croissant dough, which consists of layers of alternating dough and butter. This creates the flaky, airy texture of a croissant — or cronut — in this case.
For the soft butter, wrap it in plastic wrap and gently soften it by warming it with your fingers. When added to the dough, it helps with the elasticity and texture.
The most important thing to remember is to not overmix the dough. Just mix until the dry ingredients and wet ingredients are combined. This will prevent gluten development and make the dough easier to work with when rolling out. The dough doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth. Every time you touch the dough, you are working it. So make every moment count and work quickly to gather the dough into a ball and chill.
We let our dough rest in a greased bowl, covered with a damp cloth, and in a warm spot for about 45 minutes until it had risen to about double in size. While the dough is rising, roll out the butter between two pieces of parchment paper. We found that it’s much easier to work with room temperature butter.
Now the fun part begins — and get out your tape measure! To get those flaky layers of dough, we had to incorporate a lot of butter. Wrap the butter up with the dough like a little present.
Make sure to seal the edges so that the butter doesn’t escape from the sides of the dough.
To lock in the butter, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. The dough should be longer than it is wide. Fold the right side toward the middle and then the left side over on top of the right side, like you are folding a letter. This creates the dough layers. Repeat this process two more times and remember to chill thoroughly in between. Roll the dough out again, making sure that your corners are squared off, and cut dough into thirds. We chose to stack these pieces of dough to give the cronut height and lots of flaky and buttery layers. Roll the dough out one last time. Make it large enough to cut out one dozen cronuts.
Use two different-sized ring molds to make a donut shape out of the dough. We tried frying the cronut holes, but unfortunately they fell apart instantly once they hit the oil. Cut out all of the cronut shapes. If the dough is getting too sticky, put it back in the refrigerator and chill for a few minutes.
At this point, the dough needs to proof. Place on a parchment lined baking dish, cover in plastic, and let rise in a warm spot. You’ll know when the dough has proofed long enough when you press it gently with your finger and it doesn’t spring back immediately.
Like the original cronut, we fried ours in grapeseed oil at 350 degrees to get a golden brown outside and the inside perfectly cooked through. Don’t crowd the fryer and leave enough room so that each cronut can be flipped over.
After a little bit of work with the dough, the end result is worth it. Golden brown with lots of buttery layers of soft dough.
We don’t just stop there, though. To finish the cronut exactly like Ansel does, we rolled ours in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. This is best done when the cronuts are still warm, but the excess oil has been absorbed with a paper towel.
And just like Ansel does as well, we filled ours with a vanilla cream. Inject the cream into the cronut in a few different spots to ensure that the cream is dispersed throughout.
He also glazes it, so we did, too.
What could be better than taking your first satisfying bite of a homemade cronut? Like the original cronut, our version had buttery layers of dough filled with vanilla cream and glazed. Skipping the hectic bakery lines and enjoying a cronut at home is a sweet way to start the day.