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Monday, July 01, 2013

Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC, New York

cronut at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york

The cronut. It's taken New Yorkers by storm and swept across the world via a tornado of inspired bakers. In Sydney, Adriano Zumbo is selling the zonut. In Melbourne it's the doissant by MoVida. And who created all this fuss? It's the brain child of Dominique Ansel, a French baker who worked as an Executive Pastry Chef for Daniel Boulud for six years. Although we were in New York earlier this month, I hadn't expected to find myself queuing for a pastry, but hey... what better thing did we have to do at 6.50am on a Wednesday morning?

6.50am? Oh. Gawd. I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. Food might be one the few things to get me out of bed early, but waking up at 5.30am sounded like the worst idea in the world when that alarm went off in the darkness.

cronut queue at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Queuing for cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery 

By the time we'd stumbled the 2km walk to Dominique Ansel Bakery it was 6.50am. There was already a sea of people in line, including several groups who'd come prepared with mats and card games to pass the two hour wait. We were 54th in the queue.

people queueing for cronuts at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
The first people in the queue arrived before 5.45am

The streets are dead at 7am in New York. Noone should be on the streets at this hour, let alone standing in line for something. The occasional passerby would stop at the sight of the queue, pause in confusion, and then ask "Is this for that cronut thing?". We'd nod sheepishly as they laughed, and shift our weight onto the other foot.

I asked those at the front of the queue what time they'd arrived that morning. One person said that yesterday she'd arrived at 6.15am and was seventh in line. Today she'd turned up at 5.45am and was second. "You're queuing up two days in a row?" I'd asked incredulously. "Well I'm being paid to be here, so it's not too bad," she'd replied.

cronut queue around the corner at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
The 130-strong queue around the corner at 7.50am

And that's the thing. Ever since Dominique Ansel launched the cronut at his Soho bakery on May 10, 2013, demand has been huge. The cronut-making process takes up to three days, limiting supply to 200-250 cronuts per day. Initially customers were allowed to purchase six each. In early June this was reduced to three and by mid-June the quota was cut to two.

For those that don't have time to queue, a blackmarket has emerged, with cronuts scalped either on the street or online. Some entrepreneurs even promise home delivery for $100. Each.

By 7.50am, the queue has snaked around the corner and numbers 130 hopefuls.

dominique ansel greets cronut queuers at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Dominique Ansel opens the door for the first round of customers

At 8am on the dot, Dominique Ansel himself opens the door and greets the first group of customers. About two dozen people make it inside before the door is closed and everyone else shuffles up a little closer.

packing cronuts into carry boxes at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Dominique Ansel packing cronuts into gold carry boxes 

After ninety minutes of waiting, we finally make it inside and join the second queue snaking down the corridor. There's no doubt there's a buzz in the air as we ogle the pastries in the display and marvel at the cronuts behind the counter.

lemon maple cronuts at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york

Cronuts! Precious cronuts!

queueing inside the bakery at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Queuing stage two inside the bakery

This isn't just a cronut factory. The bakery is piled high with items, and a team of pastry chefs are still working the ovens as cashiers attend to customers.

pastry chef piping madeleines at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Pastry chef piping madeleines

nutella milk brioche bread at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Nutella milk brioche bread US$3.50

canneles at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york

dka dominique's kouign amman at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Dominique's Kouign Amman, said to have been the seed of his cronut inspiration US$5.25

lemon maple cronut at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Dominique Ansel's cronut US$5

Each month Ansel features a different flavour cronut - for the month of June it's lemon maple. In May it was rose vanilla. In July it will be blackberry.

We ferry our precious cargo to the sunny courtyard out the back.

layers inside the cronut at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Layers insider the cronut

Okay so I'll admit I didn't have high expectations for this dessert. A donut croissant? Really? But the cronut isn't just a hunk of deep-fried laminated croissant dough. Biting into it, in fact, doesn't feel like you're eating a deep-fried pastry at all. It's light and airy, with a buttery crust that is deliciously caramelised at the edges. The layers are a sight to behold, distinctly separate and wildly alluring. The maple cream in the middle isn't necessary but the lemon glaze on top adds a tangy sweetness. The only resemblance to a donut is its shape, and the trail of sugar that lingers on your lips.

It's refined and elegant, and I finish it with ease. I don't know that I'd be able to eat a second one, nor would I queue 90 minutes for another, but there's some satisfaction in getting to the root of the craze, and tasting first-hand what has inspired an international juggernaut.

perfect little egg sandwich at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Perfect Little Egg Sandwich $5

Suze picks up a Perfect Little Egg Sandwich too, another Ansel specialty that seems to be the second most popular item ordered. It's a square of steamed omelette seasoned with herbs and gruyere cheese, although we find it a little under-seasoned in its miniature brioche bun.

cronut and cannele de bourdeaux at dominique ansel bakery nyc new york
Lemon maple cronut US$5
and cannelé de Bourdeaux US$3

And I pick up a cannele for later. It's perfectly crusty on the outside, with an eggy middle.

Since we visited in mid-June, the cronut obsession has only deepened, with news that queueing at 7am will now only give you a 40% chance of scoring a cronut.

So that, my friends, is the original cronut and the first of my USA posts. Let me know what you're keen to read about next! I have 2,000 photos to choose from! Seriously.

dominique ansel bakery nyc new york

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Dominique Ansel Bakery on Urbanspoon

Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring Street, New York, New York, USA
Tel: +1 (212) 219 2773

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 8am-7pm
Sunday 9am-7pm

>> Read the next USA 2013 post: Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery, Beverly Hills, LA

Related Grab Your Fork posts: 

USA 2013
Austin - BBQ tour - Franklin, Ruby's, Green Mesquite, Salt Lick & La Barbecue
Austin - Gourdough's bacon donut, Hoover's, Whole Foods and Biscuits + Groovy
Chicago - Deep pan pizza, Al's #1 Italian beef & Cheesecake Factory
Kansas City - BBQ: Gates, Oklahoma Joes & Arthur Bryant's

LA - Animal Restaurant
LA - Boiling Crab
LA - Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery
LA - Donut tour of LA's best: Randy's Donuts, Bob's Doughnuts & The Donut Man
LA - In-N-Out, Roscoe's Fried Chicken & Waffles, Kogi food truck & Pink's Hot Dogs
LA - Mexican: Loteria Grill, Tamales Liliana's & El Flamin Taco
New Orleans - Willy Mae's fried chicken, Felix's Oyster Bar & beignet

NYC - Cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery
NYC - Doughnut Plant, Carlo's Bakery, Baohaus, Lobster Joint & Clinton St Bakery
NYC - Jewish food tour: Katz's Deli, Russ & Daughters, knish and bagels
NYC - Momofuku Noodle Bar fried chicken, Ssam Bar & Milk Bar
NYC - Motorino brussels sprout pizza, Best Pizza and Big Gay Ice Cream
NYC - Shake Shack, Tom Colicchio's Craftbar and Union Square Greenmarket
38 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/01/2013 12:08:00 am


  • At 7/01/2013 12:38 am, Anonymous Holiday Baker Man said…

    Everything looks great... nevermind the cronut!

  • At 7/01/2013 4:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Joey, use your head. We may be nuts but it's not because of the fact that <100 out of a borough of 2-3 million are lining up for a pastry. I don't especially care for this bakery in general. It's just OK. I'm certainly not lining up for a Cronut and I've never even met someone that knows of anyone that has.

  • At 7/01/2013 6:59 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    Planning a NYC trip soon and this is on list! Would love to try the orignal for myself lol New Awlins for the next post pls!

  • At 7/01/2013 7:21 am, Anonymous jess @ fushmush said…

    lost for words...

  • At 7/01/2013 7:42 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    Sounds so ridiclous, but hey, if it made the belly happy then thats all that matters! At least its ticked off the to eat list. I wonder if that gives you any drive to try MoVida's doissant or zumbo's cronut?

  • At 7/01/2013 8:26 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    imagine if it had bacon...

  • At 7/01/2013 9:33 am, Anonymous thesuzchef said…

    I absolutely hate queues, so I live vicariously through people like yourself! It makes for the NYC experience, and a great post so we can all experience it just like we were there ourselves!

    Your trip looked epic and I can't wait to read all about it in future posts!

  • At 7/01/2013 9:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Those lining up at the crack of dawn for a portmanteau pastry are certainly keen .... and good luck to those who are willing to pay a hundred bucks on the black market for one. Yikes.

  • At 7/01/2013 9:52 am, Blogger Felicia @ Next Stop: Food said…

    2000 photos!! goodness me! the thought!
    Woah, perhaps this would be a good idea as a first stop when we are still on Sydney time!? HAHAHA saves the horror of "waking up early" hahahaa!!
    I'm so excited to read more on your USA food posts, doesn't matter what comes next - just keep them rolling! ^^

    - Cassie

  • At 7/01/2013 10:30 am, Blogger Jarhead said…

    Thanks for tracking down the source of the cronut craze! I certainly wouldn't mind queuing up for ages if one of those cronuts was at the end. Been loving the posts and instagram photos from the US Trip, Keep em coming!

  • At 7/01/2013 10:40 am, Blogger hannah.rowley said…

    This looks amazing. Planning a trip to the US including NY for July next year and this bakery has to go on the list.
    Please do more posts on America! Including hopefully New Orleans and San Francisco.

  • At 7/01/2013 11:59 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    ive been following your eating adventures on instagram and theyve made me so hungry! i cant wait to read about your next post!

  • At 7/01/2013 12:37 pm, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    So wonderful.. Had the zunut and thought it was oily, so I'm really fascinated to find that this wasn't oily at all. Can't wait to hear more about your gastronomical adventures

  • At 7/01/2013 12:39 pm, Anonymous Lex said…

    Love the depth and research in your posts you're right you'll have posts for at least the rest of the year at this rate! haha

  • At 7/01/2013 12:41 pm, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    I enjoy food a lot but queuing for that long is definitely not my thing. I look forward to all your posts from the US :)

  • At 7/01/2013 1:35 pm, Anonymous Brian said…

    Someone needs to come up with a social psych theory correlating the 'duration of waiting for hyped food' and 'likelihood of masticatory satisfaction'.

    P.s. Any David Chang content will be lovingly drooled over.

    P.p.s. Heard you on 2SER this morning - great chat! Maybe also post some type of USA fried chicken animated GIF.

  • At 7/01/2013 2:19 pm, Anonymous Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    I seriously cannot fathom lining up that early in the morning for that long for something as insignificant as a pastry. To meet my favourite rock band, yes. But a cronut? I don't even queue for restaurants anymore. Then again, in your case, if you were on holiday and chances are you aren't going to be back in NYC any time soon, then maybe. But to be honest, I'm a little more interested in that nutella milk bread :)

    I wanna read all your usa posts soooo maybe go in chronological order? :P

  • At 7/01/2013 2:48 pm, Anonymous Eha said…

    Stupid waste of the minutes of one's life! Noting the average age of those in the Q: hope something called maturity will overcome soon :) ! BUT, interesting to read and to know; so keep'em comin'!!!

  • At 7/01/2013 6:15 pm, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    Straight from the horse's mouth! Definitely not something I would queue up for (I have zero patience), but I can appreciate why some people would.

  • At 7/01/2013 7:11 pm, Blogger Jacq said…

    What a crazy queue! The flaky layers do look pretty amazing though... but not sure I would wake up before the sun rises for it lol

  • At 7/01/2013 7:47 pm, Anonymous Max said…

    Need you to hustle on those 2000 pics please as we're going (for the first time) in Sept and will need some inspiration :)

  • At 7/02/2013 4:35 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I finally found the two types of new peanut butter pop tarts here in Utah. That's almost as classy as the cronut, right? Right.

  • At 7/02/2013 9:21 am, Blogger Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said…

    Ah! I have been waiting for this post ever since I saw it on Instagram. I would definitely line up for this if I were in NYC - just the once. You just have to!

  • At 7/02/2013 12:29 pm, Anonymous Christine @ Cooking Crusade said…

    ERHMEGHERD You guys tried the cronut. That is beyond awesome. Loving your serious dedication!! I wonder how it compares to the Zonut?.. The original sounds sooo good. Lemon maple, yes please! I can't believe you can only buy two haha.

  • At 7/02/2013 12:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've heard new yorks donuts are amazing but yet haven't had the chance to sample them. When im there I'll defiantly look at visiting this place when I visit.

  • At 7/02/2013 5:22 pm, Anonymous Eva@thehungryplum said…

    I'd love to see some posts on fast-food hotspots ('Man Vs Food'-esque)!

  • At 7/02/2013 7:29 pm, Anonymous chookpea said…

    Loved your first NY post! I miss it so much. Seeing your photos brings back happy memories.

    Did you try any new food trucks? Would love to see those. I'm guessing you paid Shake Shack a visit?

    Looking forward to seeing your other posts. More posts too please, the weekly Monday updates aren't enough Helen! ;)

  • At 7/02/2013 7:34 pm, Anonymous Lori said…

    I loved reading your cronuts post, thanks for enduring 90 minutes to report on this latest craze. I've been curious about it. The people in NY are amazing. Look forward to reading your other US posts!

  • At 7/03/2013 7:29 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    That many people that early? I would've thought that it's a One Direction queue. But thank you for doing it so that I can live vicariously through you. =)

  • At 7/03/2013 10:17 am, Blogger Mel said…

    After trying a Zonut recently I don't think I'd get up early OR line up to try the real deal. Imagine getting to the front of the queue and they'd JUST sold out!

  • At 7/03/2013 2:33 pm, Blogger Robyn said…

    Daaamn girl, you cronuted! Good job. :) Yeah, it's crazy and not worth waiting that long for, but doing it once in your life won't kill ya. Dominique's pastries are among the best in the city!

  • At 7/03/2013 2:40 pm, Anonymous Amanda@ChewTown said…

    My goodness! I applaud you for your early-morning, line-waiting patience. I had no idea the lines were so long for them. I recently tried a knock off cronut from a local Sydney food market that definitely was NOT light and wonderful. Methinks it would be hard to emulate the NY version.

  • At 7/04/2013 2:47 am, Blogger Amandine said…

    Waouh... It does look good! But is it worth all the fuss then?
    As for the rest of your US adventures, I'd love to see some tasty burgers ^^

  • At 7/07/2013 2:55 am, Anonymous Judith @ Mostly About Chocolate Blog said…

    THANK YOU for FINALLY educating me as to what the holy heck a "cronut" was. I thought it was some sort of nut... no seriously, I did. This is just brilliant! Love the story, love the blog, love the experience!

    Thank you for finally explaining this croissant doughnut thing :-)

  • At 7/07/2013 4:59 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    dang girl! they look so nasty but oh so delicious at the same time. hopefully by the time i visit the us, this whole cronut thing may have slowly died down which means less queues.. fingers crossed!!

  • At 7/14/2013 12:00 am, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    They look good, sound nice, but wow, that is just crazy town!

  • At 7/17/2013 10:45 pm, Anonymous matt @ planm said…

    the line up and anticipation seems like half the fun! cept for the 530am wakeup

  • At 7/20/2013 9:49 pm, Blogger Cindy said…

    I experienced the same long queues as you did! I found it fun. But I preferred the DKA.


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