POPSUGAR Food

The Cronut Turns 1! A Look Back at the Amazing Glazed Goodness

May 9 2014 - 5:26pm

On May 10, Dominique Ansel's beloved Cronut [1], the doughnut-croissant hybrid, turns one. We've covered the craze since the Cronut's first month of existence [2], and a year later, it's showing no signs of slowing down. Let's revisit the man, the headlines, every flavor thus far, and the full-fledged craze that has resulted from this humble, sugar-coated confection.

Source: Instagram user Dominique Ansel [3]

February 2013-April 2013

An early sketch of the Cronut [4], drawn sometime between Valentine's Day and Mother's Day [5], doesn't look far off from the finished product. Whether it's the months of demanding, exhausting work or the sheer lack of memory, Dominique claims "he can't remember the exact time he dreamt up this idea — there was no Eureka! moment." He did, however, Instagram a picture of test flavors [6] (but without captioning any details) back in late April.

Source: Dominique Ansel Bakery [7]

May 2013

On May 10, the mayhem began: Dominique Ansel, famed New York City pastry chef, introduced the Cronut [8] to the world. The Cronut is made with a croissant-like layered dough [9], punched out into a doughnut shape, deep-fried by hand in a large saucepan, rolled in granulated sugar, injected with cream [10] so each flaky layer is filled, iced, and finally topped with a decorative sprinkle. The first iteration of the $5 fried croissant-doughnut hybrid was filled with Tahitian vanilla cream and topped with rose glaze and candied rose petals.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [11]

May 2013

Grub Street tasted the first bite of the Cronut [12] the day before it was released to the public and wrote about it, instigating full-fledged food mania. New Yorkers flocked to the scene to try the flaky Cronut themselves, only to be told that the last Cronut had been sold and to try again tomorrow (or try one of the other tasty offerings).

Thus the 5 a.m. line began, as anxious sugar fiends hoped to score a Cronut or 12, which led to the two Cronuts per person policy. Those who weren't morning people (many!) started paying scalpers an upwards of several hundred dollars to stand in line for them. Dominique was forced to hire a security guard to keep a close eye on the line and bounce any suspicious scalpers or line cutters.

Source: Instagram user melissa_hom [13]

May 2013

Only a week after the Cronut was released to the wild public, Dominique announced he had trademarked the pastry [14] so no bakeries can rip off the idea and call it their own (that hasn't stopped the doughssants and cronots from remaining in existence). The trademark became official [15] in January 2014.

June 2013

After a crazy month of success, Dominique released the second Cronut flavor: lemon maple. But he was quick to tell the press [16], "This will never be a cronut shop!" to dispel any rumors that the bakery would become a one-pastry shop.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [17]

July 2013

The third Cronut in existence was pretty in pink and seasonal: blackberry.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [18]

July 2013

Dominique Ansel became known as the "Willy Wonka of NYC" by the New York Post, but the chef took it in stride when the magazine asked him to dress up as the Roald Dahl character and jokingly called it the "most embarrassing photo shoot ever." The published photos [19] are not to be missed.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [20]

July 2013

Anthony Bourdain [21] tried and approved of the Cronut [22], which is essentially a food king giving the green light to millions more fans.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [23]

July 2013

Dominique Ansel compressed the three-day process it takes to make a Cronut into a one-minute segment on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon [24].

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [25]

August 2013

On Aug. 20, Chef Ansel landed a cookbook deal [26], but the cover and book website [27] weren't released until April 2014. The Secret Recipes [28] ($19, originally $35), out Oct. 28. promises a home-friendly recipe of the Cronut [29] between the pages.

August 2013

Even celebrities love the Cronut. Dominique joked, "Heidi Klum [30] modeling Cronut."

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [31]

September 2013

While some people may just cash in on something so viral, Dominique Ansel used Cronuts for a cause [32]. He partnered with Shake Shack [33] to create a limited edition Cronut Hole Concrete, raising $5,000 [34] for widows of New York Police Department officers and their children.

When asked what achievement he was most proud of, he didn't give an expected reply: "What I'm most proud of is to be able . . . to give back to others in need. It's great to participate and be a part of the food scene in New York and be able to reach out to other people and raise money for a good cause." The Cronut and Dominique have contributed thousands of dollars to countless charities.

Source: Instagram user thomasgarry [35]

October 2013

The October Cronut consisted of caramelized apple crème fraiche filling, rose sugar, cinnamon glaze, and a dried apple chip. After months of coverage, I finally made my way to the bakery to try and review the Cronut [36]. In short, this delicious creation is completely worth the hype.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

October 2013

While at New York City Wine and Food Festival, Dominique served the famous Cronut holes [37].

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

November 2014

DA Bakery visitors received a sweet-salty fix with November's dulce de leche and fleur de sel Cronut.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [38]

November 2014

Dominique Ansel's bakery celebrated its second anniversary on Nov. 9. The Cronut crowd even sang [39] "Happy Birthday" to Dominique.

November 2014

After months of tackling long lines and huge crowds, the bakery introduced an online preorder system [40], allowing people to pick up their Cronuts at a reasonable hour.

November 2014

In the wake of Time magazine's controversial The Gods of Food [41] article, Dominique Ansel took a moment to celebrate the women in the culinary world: "A special Mont Blanc Cronut for the James Beard Awards Women in Whites event to honor the amazing female chefs out there."

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [42]

December 2014

Dominique admitted that December's Valrhona chocolate Champagne Cronut with orange zest sugar was one of his favorites. Ah, what a lovely, glorified chocolate-glazed doughnut that was.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [43]

December 2014

Cronuts make their way onto Christmas cards by Cool Culinaria [44]. Sorry we're not sorry, Santa.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [45]

December 2014

So 99 percent of Americans can't get their grubby little hands on a Cronut, since the pastries are only sold in the New York bakery. But Dominique Ansel partnered with Goldbely [46] to freeze and ship Cronuts nationwide for one weekend only. It was a renowned success, but the flash sale has not become a regular occurrence, to everyone's greatest dismay.

January 2014

January's Cronut warmed up the shivering line with its lush layers of peanut butter rum caramel.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [47]

February 2014

Valentine's Day in February brought a bright pink rasperry lychee Cronut.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [48]

February 2014

Dominique couldn't resist snapping a pic of the legendary Ferran Adrià taking a bite of his first Cronut.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [49]

March 2014

The March flavor, milk and honey with lightly scented lavender sugar, celebrated Spring.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [50]

March 2014

The Cronut made its way outside of New York to Barneys in Los Angeles.

March 2014

And then the unthinkable! At SXSW in Austin, TX, Dominique Ansel served Cronuts alongside a soon-to-be food trend: the milk and cookie shot [51].

Source: Instagram user jeremyofnyc [52]

April 2014

For the April flavor, the bakery created a passion fruit caramelia dusted with cocoa nib sugar.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [53]

April 2014

The power of the Internet made itself known when a customer posted a video [54] of a mouse scurrying across the kitchen floor of the bakery. The Health Department swooped in and shut down the bakery for several days.

April 2014

However, Dominique responded swiftly; he recemented the basement of the bakery and reopened April 8 to a joyful crowd. The chef put things in perspective [55] to the press: "We're a one-shop bakery with 20 people on staff. And we have had to deal with scalpers, hire a bouncer, witness people picking through the trash for leftovers, and waiting for health inspection results with a camera crew right next to us. It has definitely been a trip! And we will only grow stronger from it."

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [56]

May 2014

The innovation and monthly flavors continue. This month it's blueberry lemon verbena with Greek yogurt ganache and lemon verbena sugar.

Source: Instagram user dominiqueansel [57]

May 2014

The whirlwind of a year ended with a win! Dominique Ansel accepted a James Beard Award for outstanding pastry chef [58]. Now let's see about getting this chef some much-deserved vacation time.

Source: Kent Miller [59]