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Found: Cronut-inspired sweets in KCK and Belton

Chef Dominique Ansel introduced Cronuts at his New York bakery in May 2013, and bakeries in London, Toronto, Seoul and elsewhere have copied it.

Chef Nick Estell tops his Croissant Donuts with ice cream and cinnamon anglaise.

The Banana Bread Martini at Final Cut Steakhouse inside the Hollywood Casino.

Croissant doughnuts ($8) at Final Cut Steakhouse inside Hollywood Casino, 777 Hollywood Casino Blvd. in Kansas City, Kan.

Ink

When summer ended, I pretty much abandoned my search for Cronuts in Kansas City.

The croissant-doughnut hybrids originated from Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. According to the bakery’s website, the pastries start with a laminated dough that fluffs into buttery layers when it’s fried in grapeseed oil. Cronuts are rolled in sugar, filled with cream and coated in glaze before they’re sold to people who come from all over the world to get a taste.

I wish I could tell you what it’s like to bite into a Cronut, but I can’t — Dominique Ansel Bakery has Cronuts trademarked, so you won’t find them in bakeries around here. But that’s not stopping a local restaurant and doughnut shop from selling decadent Cronut-inspired sweets.

Final Cut Steakhouse, a restaurant inside the Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kan., makes a jackpot of a dessert called Croissant Doughnuts ($8). To make it, chef Nick Estell mixes up croissant dough, rolls it into thin layers, then stacks them with butter in between.

Once all the layers are stacked, Estell slices the dough into rings and fries them until they’re golden brown and crispy around the edges. Two scoops of homemade butter pecan ice cream and a creamy, dreamy cinnamon anglaise sauce top off the still-steaming doughnuts.

“It tastes like heaven,” says server Dan Brent, who recommended the Croissant Doughnuts dessert to me. “Just thought you should know.”

Final Cut’s Croissant Doughnuts dessert was all about contrasts: The doughnuts were hot and crispy on the outside and buttery-soft on the inside. As the ice cream melted, it seeped into them and swirled with the cinnamon anglaise, forming a symphony of sweet fall flavors.

It’s no wonder Brent and other Final Cut servers crowd the kitchen when Estell fries up the leftover doughnut holes.

If you’re looking to go all in, pair the Croissant Doughnuts dessert with a Banana Bread Martini, $12, which sommelier Chris Harmon makes with Nocello walnut liqueur, Creme de Banana, vanilla vodka and Frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur.

The drink tasted like a warm slice of banana bread and gave me enough liquid courage to gamble for the first time in my life. I lost $2 in a slot machine and left the casino on a sugar high.

If you live on the Missouri side — or if you don’t do casinos — don’t worry. You can also get Cronut-inspired doughnuts at Big Daddy’s doughnuts, 17055 Bel Ray Blvd. in Belton.

Co-owner Sarah Boos tried making doughnuts with croissant dough, but they came out too rigid. So she uses layered doughnut dough to make her “Croi-daddys.”

The process is intensive — Boos says Croi-daddys take a full day to make — but the results are fluffy, moist and about the size of a croquet ball.

Since Big Daddy’s debuted its Croi-daddys a month ago, “it’s been going like gangbusters,” Boos says.

“We only make them Wednesday through Sunday because it’s really time-consuming,” she says, and they usually sell out by 10 a.m.

Original Croi-daddys cost $3. Boos says she also makes a “to die for” cream cheese-filled version — those cost $4 each.

That’s more expensive than an 89-cent glazed doughnut — but way less than a Cronut pilgrimage to New York City.

Enteprise reporter Sarah Gish writes about dining every first and third week of the month. Contact her by emailing sarah@inkkc.com or tweeting @sarah_gish.

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