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Cronuts are a hybrid pastry made of half croissant and half doughnut. Since being introduced by New York City chef Dominique Ansel in May 2013, the $5 pastries have caused a frenzy in New York City and elsewhere in the United States, even leading to a black market on Craigslist where they’re being sold for $30 – $80 dollars each.
On March 9th, 2013, Grub Street and flood blogger Kathy YL Chen announced the launch of chef Dominique Ansel’s Cronut, a pastry made of croissant dough, shaped and fried like a doughnut. After two months and 10 different recipes, Ansel had finally found a successful combination that was ready to debut on March 10th at his bakery in the South Village of New York City. On launch day, the bakery had sold out of their first batch of 50 cronuts within 20 minutes.
On March 10th, cronuts were featured on Thrillist, Eater, the Village Voice and Fox News. The same day, Ansel posted a cronut photo taken by Niko Triantafillou to his bakery’s Tumblr, where it gained nearly 600 notes and was featured on the Food curated tag. Also on the 10th, a different cronut photo was shared on the /r/Pics subreddit where it hit the front page with 3,071 upvotes, 1,788 points overall and 83 comments. Within a week, the bakery began making up to 200 cronuts per day as people began waiting on line for the pastry for hours prior to the shop’s opening each morning.
On March 15th, the single serving site Cronut.org was created, pulling images tagged #cronut from Instagram.Between their launch and June 13th, cronuts were mentioned on Twitter more than 16,000 times according to Topsy Analytics. The cronut tag on Tumblr also became a place for fans to share photos as well as for people to bemoan their inabilities to access the pastry.
By the end of March, food blog The Bad Deal reported that cronuts were being sold on Craigslist for a minimum of $20 each, depending where in New York they were delivered. The cronut “black market” was covered on a number of blogs and news sites that week including Fox News, Betabeat, Business Insider, Refinery29, Time Newsfeed and Freakonomics. On June 5th, the Huffington Post did a special report on the people who had been scalping the pastries. Two days later, a journalist from The New Yorker purchased four cronuts from Craigslist for $80.
Cronut sales began to take place outside of Craigslist, with sites like Premium Cronut Delivery charging $100 per cronut. By the end of June the Craigslist ads for cronuts began to escalate, with one person offering cronuts in exchange for oral sex. However, Ansel himself had become concerned with the amount of scalping taking place, causing him to personally remove people attempting to purchase the pastries for resale from the line. In early July, Fast Company compiled a number of photos shared on Twitter of the line for cronuts around the bakery, showing hundreds of people waiting for the pastries.
As cronuts gained traction in New York City, bakers from around North America attempted to recreate the recipe. As early as May 30th, Los Angeles Magazine reported that local pastry artists were attempting to recreate the recipe. Shops in Texas, Florida (shown below, left), Vancouver, Washington D.C. (shown below, right) and Pittsburgh have since begun to offer similar pastries. However, because Ansel has trademarked the term “cronut,” these other renditions have been referred to as “doissants” or “doughsants.”
Additionally, recipes for cronuts have been shared online as early as June 3rd, when winner of 2010’s The Great British Bakeoff Edd Kimber posted his recipe to his personal site. Throughout june, a number of “hacked” cronut recipes began to circulate online, using canned croissant and biscuit dough (shown below). On July 12th, chef Beth Hillson shared a gluten-free cronut recipe with the Gothamist.
Dominique Ansel Bakery – Chef Dominique Ansel Invents the CRONUT (croissant x doughnut hybrid)
Village Voice – New York’s Serious Case of Cronut Fever, and How to Cope
Business Insider – There’s A Growing Black Market For ‘Cronuts’ On Craigslist
The Daily Dot – Guy offers cronuts for sex as pastry madness escalates
Time Newsfeed – ‘Cronut’ Craze Creates Black Market for Tasty New Treat
Pegasus News – Cronut craze: 3 local shops where you can find them
The Atlantic Wire – D.C.‘s ’Doissant’ Has Killed This Cronut Thing Dead