The Guilty Pleasure: Croissant Donuts Where to Get It: Jack In The Box Price: $1.99 for 3 pieces What It Really Costs: The torture of going to a Jack In The Box drive-thru and screaming the words "one order of Croissant Donuts" at a speaker. Probably more than once.
Ah, you thought the Cronut craze was over didn't you? Well, you're wrong. It's just that it's taken quite some time for the trendiest pastry ever created to crawl down the food chain and land at the bottom on the bucket: Jack In The Box.
As of last week the California-based fast food chain is serving its own take on New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel's world famous Cronut -- though of course, Jack can't actually call it a Cronut because Ansel trademarked the name a while ago. And while Ansel's busy trying to continue dominating the baking world with absurd new creations like the Peanut Butter Pretzel Lobster Tail (psh, whatever), I'm busy pigging out on cheap Cronut rip offs.
Usually I only visit my good friend Jack in the Box after hanging out a little too long with my other dear friend, Jack Daniels. But I broke my only-after-3-a.m. rule to try out the new J-In-The-B breakfast offering. They're apparently available all the time -- as opposed to just in the morning -- since I took home a three-pack on the way home from work.
Unlike the original Cronut, Jack's version doesn't have any filling. It's just a flaky doughnut covered in cinnamon sugar. Quite a lot of cinnamon sugar, actually.
(There was so much left weighing down the little bag after I finished eating that I thought there might be another doughnut hiding inside. Sadly, there wasn't.)
In the interest of thorough reporting I cut into one of the three croissant donuts before trying a bite. The cross-section view revealed a surprisingly croissant-like texture, with layers of dough encased in a fried exterior. It was promising, so I dug in.
Having never traveled across the country to wait in a line for a real Cronut, I can't tell you how these compare to the real-deal. I can tell you that they quite exceeded my expectations. They're fluffy and maybe even buttery inside with a pleasantly crispy outer shell. The cinnamon sugar makes them sweet but doesn't leave a horrible sugary coating on the inside of your mouth.
They certainly weren't the best donuts I've ever had, but for less than $2 they're perfectly fine. And considering the real Cronut costs you $5 and is only available in New York, these will definitely do.
Be skeptical, by all means. I sure was. But I'd bet money you couldn't stop at just one.