The croissant-doughnut hybrid symbolizes what can happen when a good idea rides the wave of a social media frenzy. It started as a meme, when Dominique Ansel created the cronut in New York City, drawing throngs to stand in line at his SoHo bakery. From there, it developed into a trend, relentlessly copied across the country.
Some say the pastry jumped the shark when a version became available at Dunkin’ Donuts. But, in truth, the croissant-doughnut mashup has become a bakery staple.
Now that the layered doughnut has been normalized, it’s fair to evaluate different iterations. The Dunkin’ Donuts version? Not amazing, though it’s sweet and fried, so it’s tough to be too critical. To see the pastry’s potential maximized, you’ll have to try the decadent 100-layer doughnut at Tennessee-based Five Daughters Bakery, which has two Atlanta locations.
The plain form of the 100-layer doughnut is the Purist, topped with a regular sugar glaze. It’s everything you want from a breakfast pastry — crisp on the outside, buttery and chewy on the inside. Like any well-executed croissant, it’s rich, yet surprisingly light. The Purist alone is good enough to validate the social media hubbub.
If you’re seeking the next level of layered doughnut bliss, it’s worth exploring the more adventurous versions on the Five Daughters menu. The King Kong is topped with salted caramel glaze and bacon, then piped with a not-too-sweet cream filling. It’s outrageous in the right way, with the salty-sweet topping somehow balanced by the thick, cool cream filling.
It’s unlikely that the cronut ever will achieve the iconic status of something like the hamburger, but, with creative purveyors like Five Daughters Bakery supporting it, the layered doughnut is now a part of the American dining landscape.
Five Daughters Bakery. 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-963-1922; 1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404-343-0326. fivedaughtersbakery.com.
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