If you’re a baking blogger living in New York City reviewing local bakeries, there’s one trendy spot that would be completely unacceptable to leave off the list. – Dominique Ansel Bakery. Besides that, I also wanted to start changing my answer to the commonly-asked question: “Have you tried a cronut yet??” So one dreary Saturday morning in January, Ryan and I woke up at an ungodly weekend hour to make our way to SoHo and visit the famous spot. We joined the crowds (surprisingly still long even though it was cold and rainy, but maybe because it was a Saturday) and lined up before the 8AM opening. By the time we got down there I think we were in line by 7AM and waited behind a crowd of other sleepy-eyed, hungry, and crazy people just like us. During our wait we were served shots of hot chocolate and fresh Madelines, and before we knew it (and after making some serious headway on our Kindles), we were within arms reach of our much-anticipated cronuts.
The bakery itself is pretty small, but there’s a nice enclosed garden area in the back with tables to sit at while you enjoy your freshly baked treats. We cozied in with our cronuts and after sitting down I realized Dominique Ansel himself was in the background of my photos, interviewing a potential employee amongst the morning rush. The rule is 2 cronuts per customer, so Ryan and I got 4 (2 for us, 2 to share with lucky friends), and a DKA – another famed treat that is claimed to be the staff favorite. The flavor of the cronuts changes every month (there’s no such thing as a “plain” or original cronut), and January’s flavor was Peanut Butter Rum Caramel. Pretty lucky because Ryan and I are huge peanut butter fans, and this month’s flavor of Raspberry Lychee doesn’t excite me as much.
Okay, so the question you’ve all had on your mind – was it worth the hype and the early morning wait?? Hmmm, probably not. But that might not be a fair judgment seeing as I don’t really love any cream-filled pastries, and the caramel rum filling in this was quite abundant and sweet. I totally appreciated the intricacy of the pastry though – the texture was unlike anything I’ve had before and the flavors were really complex. Obviously my favorite part was the peanut butter frosting, but I was surprised that my favorite thing was the more plain DKA pastry (stands for Dominique’s Kouign Amann). It basically tasted like a super crusty croissant with a tad more sweetness – almost as if it’s caramelized. It was heavenly! And not overly sweet and creamy like the cronut. Mmmmm carbs!
The verdict: Although I felt mildly ridiculous standing in line so early for one pastry when there are hundreds of amazing bakeries within a 2-mile radius, I’m still really glad Ryan and I went. It was an adventure! And one that ended in yummy desserts and an item checked off our NYC bucket list. If you’re adventurous like us, go ahead and brave the crowd – bring some friends and play Heads Up or read like we did – but if not, just go later in the day and grab a few DKA pastries. They don’t run out of those like they do cronuts and I think they still portray the genius of Dominique Ansel very well!