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Crazy for Cronuts 

The East Coast obsession over croissant-donuts has finally arrived in the Inland Northwest

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You won’t have to camp out overnight or wait in line for hours and hours to get a “cronut” in Spokane.

But at the trending croissant-donut hybrid’s place of origin, New York’s Dominique Ansel Bakery, people will do just that and more to get their hands on one of the flaky, sweet delicacies, which are sold in limited quantities (two per customer per day, as outlined along with other rules on the bakery’s website) and sell out daily within hours of opening.

Several local restaurants and bakeries have begun offering their own version of the pastry combination, and they’re much easier to come by here.

While Ansel has trademarked the name and product idea since introducing the cronut back in May, that’s not keeping bakeries here or across the world from capitalizing on the viral trend by coming up with their own version of the cronut. Most imitators are careful, due to Ansel’s lawsuit threat, to call their creations something else: a doissant, or just simply a croissant-donut.

In the most basic sense, the cronut is a donut made from the same — or a slightly tweaked recipe — of the buttery, layered dough used to make croissants. Instead of being rolled into a crescent moon shape and baked, the dough is shaped into a circle with a hole cut out of the middle, then dropped into a deep-fat fryer, donut-style. The end result is generally less dense than the average donut, and depending on where it’s from, ranges between chewy, crispy and flaky.

Leading the charge on the local cronut scene is Madeleine’s Cafe & Patisserie, the French-inspired downtown Spokane bakery and restaurant. Madeleine’s debuted its croissant-donuts a few months ago, and co-owner Megan VanStone says offering the trendy pastry made sense because the bakery already makes croissants on a daily basis and has a fryer.

Madeleine’s offers its version of the cronut ($3.50) daily, topped with a rotating flavor of glaze — from caramel and chocolate ganache with rainbow sprinkles to maple and lemon — and has sold out of them every day since their debut, usually before lunchtime, VanStone says. Because of their popularity, the bakery accepts special preorders of its croissant-donuts.

Curious eaters also can indulge in cronut bliss at Downriver Grill, which offers its version of the pastry as a breakfast entrée ($9) on its recently introduced weekend breakfast menu, available on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-2 pm. Downriver’s croissant-donuts come in a plate of four topped with either a maple or espresso cream glaze. “We use lots of butter and go all-out,” says co-owner Juli Norris. “They’re definitely not low-cal.”

After capturing the curiosity of Spokanites earlier this summer with its unusual branding, the north Spokane zombie-themed shop Dawn of the Donut debuted its newly developed croissant-donut last Friday. Its bakers made 40 of the specialty pastries that first day and sold out in just a few hours. In a creative attempt to stand out from other cronut imitators and stick with its living-dead theme, Dawn of the Donut manager Jayy De Boer says the shop’s version of the hybrid pastry is called the “RIP,” which stands for “rip it apart.”

While Dawn of the Donut is still fairly new to the local food scene — it opened in late July — people curious to try their first cronut flocked there last week after seeing a brief announcement on its Facebook page a few days prior, De Boer says.

Dawn of the Donut’s RIP ($1) was offered on its first day with a basic sugar glaze, but De Boer says there are plans to offer cream-filled RIP pastries and some with less traditional glazes and fillings, like apricot and raspberry.

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