Hybrid pastries

The Caramelized Malt and Milk Chocolate Cronut is the featured Cronut flavor for January at Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City.

Hybrids are the “in” thing nowadays. There are hybrid cars, hybrid breeds of dogs, and now hybrid pastries. A hybrid pastry combines one type of pastry or baked item with another. One of the most talked about hybrid pastries in 2013 was the Cronut. Now, the trend is migrating into new territory. Starbucks reportedly introduced a muffin-donut hybrid called the “duffin” in the United Kingdom in October.

Dominique Ansel of Dominique Ansel Bakery in Manhattan, NY, introduced the Cronut in May of 2013. Soon after, Cronut fans spanned the world from Berlin to Singapore, making it the most virally talked about dessert item of 2013. Time magazine named the Cronut one of the 25 best innovations of 2013. Ansel trademarked the Cronut name, causing somewhat of a stir with other bakers, especially in social media circles.

Ansel went to Facebook to defend the decision to trademark the Cronut "as a protective measure,” adding that he “never claimed he invented all fried-laminated dough recipes nor stated he was the first to ever fry laminated dough."

What followed from other bakeries across the country was a laundry list of pastry-mashup names like Kreegals, Cruise-nuts and Krönums. Rossmoor Pastries in Southern California now sells the Croi-do donut/croissant pastry for $1.50 apiece.

Donut Bar, which opened in downtown San Diego in 2013, makes its own variation called the CroBar. Donut Bar sells hundreds of CroBars (which they make with croissant dough, filled with Bavarian Cream and dusted with Saigon cinnamon) a day every Friday and Saturday, for $4 apiece. 

“We decided to bring a gourmet donut shop to downtown San Diego,” says Santiago Campa, co-owner and chef who founded the retail shop with Wendy Bartels. “When we wrote that first $3 price for a donut on our menu board, we were a little worried. But we’ve shown that people will pay a premium for donuts.”

Torrance Bakery’s Kirk Rossberg said they were selling as many as 800 croissant-donuts a day at the height of the buzz, and still sell about 150 a day, as of this year. “That was a nice run,” says the owner of Torrance Bakery in Torrance, CA. “People don’t want to miss out on the trends when they happen. We keep adding new stuff. That’s really important. But sometimes we need to clean out our closet, too. If you add something new, you need to try to delete something that isn’t selling.”