How do you know when a fad is over? Cronut imitators now available at the supermarket
Ah, the Cronut, the doughnut/croissant hybrid that gave the national food press something to obsess over this summer when it wasn't beating Paula Deen's transgressions into the ground. New Yorkers spent hours in line at Dominique Ansel's bakery to try one, and a host of imitators sprung up around the country.
Locally, Pena's Donut Heaven in Pearland produced its own version called the dosant that Houstonians enjoyed, but, like all summer flings, our collective ardor for the Cronut and imitators has cooled.
There are even days when Ansel's bakery doesn't sell out of the pastry first thing in the morning. Clearly, the fad has faded, but here's the final nail in the Cronut coffin.
Sorry, cronuts, it was fun, but we're just not that into you anymore.
For the past couple weeks, local grocery store chain Randalls has started selling its own version of the Cronut called the "dou'ssant," according to a CultureMap reader. They're available in both regular glazed and cinnamon sugar varieties at a cost of $5.99 for four, as opposed to $3 each at Pena's.
As with most grocery store pastries, it approximates the original in roughly the same way that a regular grocery store croissant or doughnut would. Just as no right thinking person would ever intentionally prefer a Randalls' doughnut to, say, Shipley's, so too does the dou'ssant fall far short of the original's appearance or the Pearland version's taste.
At an informal tasting panel, one tester took a bite and exclaimed "they're fucking awful," while another took one bite, spit it out and speculated that the oil had been previously used to fry chicken. For the record, that's probably not true.
As with any food item, reasonable people can disagree. Another CultureMap staffer tried them and proclaimed, "I can get behind that. The cinnamon one is great." He even went back for seconds. They're also selling out, as I discovered when I attempted to purchase them after 9 a.m. Wednesday morning at the Midtown location.
Still, even if the Randalls dou'ssants are popular, that doesn't make them good. It just feels like it's time to say, "Sorry, Cronuts, it was fun, but we're just not that into you anymore."
Editor's Note: The owners of Dominque Ansel Bakery wrote to CultureMap to point out that it has trademarked the Cronut name. "It is not a generic term used to describe all 'croissant-doughnut' hybrids as it has special links directly with our bakery and chef, and is a brand we protect. The way the article is written wrongfully suggests to readers that we have licensed our trademark to supermarkets, which is not true," wrote Amy Ma. "I'm hoping you could go back and include the changes so that your article no longer suggests that our trademarked item is available at Pena's Donut Heaven in Pearland."
We believe our readers do not think that the products sold in Houston come from the New York bakery; however, we have edited the headline and story to make it clearer that there is no connection between the two. And when we're in New York, we promise to drop by the bakery to sample a real Cronut.