The roughly 6-inch stack of layered dough is fried, rolled in rose-flavored sugar and then filled with light Tahitian vanilla cream. A thin glaze of rose-flavored icing is spread over the top with a crystallized rose petal added as a finishing touch.
Soon after this buttery, crusty pastry debuted in May, the imitations followed in the form of Fauxnuts, Crodos and Doissants. Like black-market goods, Cronuts even have been spotted on Craigslist. Because only a limited number of Cronuts are made each day, the early birds - and the scalpers - get the treat.
At $5, they aren't cheap. And they get pricier: It was reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that scalpers have sold them to customers who never reached the counter for up to $40.
Johann Willar, a member of the Baker's Guild of America and executive baker at The Broadmoor, learned of the phenomena through other guild members online. So he began working on his own formula.
"I decided not to put pastry cream in my doughnut," he said. "I didn't want to do exactly the same thing." He also didn't mimic the flavor. Instead of Ansel's rose-flavor theme, Willar opted for raspberry and cinnamon. It took about four tries before he settled on the recipe for what he named The Broadmoor Donut. He started with his traditional croissant recipe. But when he fried it, he discovered there was too much butter.
"The butter leaked out during frying," he said, so he reduced the amount by 75 percent. He also switched up the oil he was using to grapeseed oil because of its higher smoke point.
It takes three days to make a batch of the doughnuts. The croissant dough takes two days of layering - or, in baking terminology, laminating - dough to develop flavor. Lamination is alternating layers of dough and butter when making pastry. The dough is wrapped around butter (so that the butter is enclosed and cannot slip out). The "package" is rolled out, folded over to double the number of layers, and then the process is repeated. Each time the dough is folded, it is called a "turn." The more turns of laminated dough, the more flaky the finished pastry. Between each turn, the dough is returned to the refrigerator. On the second day, Willar layers a dozen or so thin sheets of the laminated dough and cuts doughnuts with a doughnut cutter.
"The doughnut is about 2 inches tall when it is cut," he said. "They are allowed to proof until they puff up to about 3-4 inches tall. When they are fried, they will increase in height to about 6 inches."
To keep the dozen or so layers of dough from floating apart during frying, Willar uses a long wooden dowel stick through the doughnut hole. Just after frying, the doughnuts are rolled in sugar to coat the outside as well as inside the doughnut hole. He uses cinnamon sugar for his cinnamon-flavor doughnut and tops it with powdered sugar. The raspberry flavor is rolled in vanilla bean sugar and glazed with raspberry frosting.
Because both have a short shelf life, "they should be eaten within six hours," he said. And the bakery regularly only produces 24 each day. A dozen are sold at Espresso coffee shop in the main hotel building and the other half can be found at Julie's in the west building. The cost is $5.
Willar said they have been selling out each day, with customers also placing orders.
"We've increased the number we make daily," he said. "But because they are so labor-intensive to make, we keep the number for the coffee shop and Julie's at 24 and make more to fill special orders."
Lemon and Vanilla Fauxnuts
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. water
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. bread flour
2 tsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
10 tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1/3 c. granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 c. powdered sugar
Pastry cream filling:
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/4 c. half-and-half
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
To make the croissant dough: Combine milk and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, instant yeast, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the chilled butter until it is in bits no smaller than the size of a pea. This is the important stage. You are not making a bread or a pastry so don't overwork the mixture; you need to see individual pieces of butter.
Add the liquid ingredients and gently fold into the dry ingredients, trying to moisten everything without making the butter any smaller. Once the ingredients are roughly combined, turn the mixture out onto a work surface and lightly knead together to form a ball of dough. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a well-floured work surface. Roll out the dough into a roughly 8-by-16-inch rectangle. (It will look quite shaggy.) Fold in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off excess flour. This is the first turn. Give the dough a quarter-turn and repeat the rolling and folding process 2 more times, giving the dough a total of 3 turns. (It will get increasingly smoother.) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To make the lemon sugar: In a small bowl, rub the 1/3 cup granulated sugar and lemon zest together for a few minutes with your fingers. Set aside.
To make the glaze: Stir in lemon juice, a teaspoon at a time, to the powdered sugar to make a thin glaze.
To make the pastry cream: In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, flour and granulated sugar (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon).
In a medium saucepan, bring half-and-half just to a boil over medium heat. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the half-and-half over the egg mixture, then pour this back into the saucepan and cook until thickened, continuing to whisk. Whisk in the vanilla. Pour the thickened custard into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
To make the pastries: Place the chilled dough on a floured surface and roll to about 1/3 inch thick - much thicker than if making a croissant. Using your doughnut cutter as a guide, the rectangle should enable you to cut 2 columns of 5 doughnuts. (If you don't have a doughnut cutter, use a cookie-cutter, then cut the "hole" with a frosting tip). Cut additional doughnut holes from the scraps. Place the doughnuts on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and allow to rest until they puff a bit, about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, pour enough canola or vegetable oil into a thick-bottomed saucepan to make it two-thirds full. Heat over medium heat to 340 degrees.
Begin frying the doughnuts two or three at a time, a couple of minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove with a metal slotted spoon to a wire rack placed on a baking sheet. Gently roll in the lemon sugar, then set aside to cool completely. Continue until all doughnuts are fried and sugared.
Place the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a bismarck tip (long and needle-like). Press the tip into each quarter of the pastries and pipe in a small amount of the custard until it backs up in the hole. (You will be doing 4 squirts of pastry cream in each doughnut.) Just before serving, drizzle with lemon glaze. If desired, garnish with fresh lemon zest.
Want to take a shot at making your own version of the croissant-like doughnut? Following is a recipe from the Minneapolis Star Tribune that was adapted from Edd Kimber, a London baker who blogs at theboywhobakes.co.uk.