Clippings by Trent Campbell: Doughnut apocolypse strikes NYC

Leave it to the Big Apple. Only in New York City could there be a black market for doughnuts. Well, that’s not completely accurate. The black market is actually for cronuts. In case you haven’t heard, a cronut is a cross between a doughnut and a croissant, and it is the hottest thing going right now in a city overflowing with hot things. New Yorkers, it seems, have gone nuts for cronuts.
The cronut is the creation of baker Dominique Ansel, and the devilish delight first appeared at his eponymous bakery on Spring Street in May. From what I can gather, customer zero took one bite and was instantly elevated to another plane of human existence. He or she was overcome with a sweet pastry fever that spread like a zombie plague across the city. New Yorkers got a look in their eyes that said, “Me want cronut!” And they started lining up on Spring Street for their own nibble of the nectar.
And by lining up, I mean lining up. Mr. Ansel only makes 300 cronuts a day and there are more than a million and a half people living in Manhattan, so if you want one you have to get there early. Really early. Right now the wait time is about three hours. That’s right, three hours. For a pastry. Think you would wait that long? No? Did I mention each cronut is cream filled?
Now before you start muttering about big city folk and their nutty behavior, remember that not all New Yorkers are willing to stand in a three-hour line for a $5 cronut. Of course not. The more reasonable New Yorkers, those that would never think of waiting so long, just pay $45 for a cronut on the black market. That’s right, $45. But no waiting!
The black market has sprung up thanks to the hottest new job in the city: cronut scalper. Scalpers get in line early with their untraceable cell phones and little black books, collect their cronuts and then scamper across the city delivering their bounty to the rabidly hungry elite. I saw one of these scalpers myself when my wife and I went to the Dominique Ansel Bakery a couple of weeks ago. No, we did not wait in line for a cronut. We’re not crazy. But we did walk by 15 minutes before the bakery started selling cronuts for the day and saw the line stretching down the block and around the corner.
After grabbing breakfast a few blocks away we returned a little more than an hour later and some people were still waiting in line. It didn’t look like they were going to get any cronuts. One guy, who I pegged as a scalper, had stepped away from the line. He was leaning against a light pole, talking nervously into his phone, no doubt delivering bad news to his clients in need of a fix. As we got closer a young man walked out of the bakery with the little designer gold box that holds two cronuts. The box opens like a flower and when he peeled it to reveal its inner beauty I think I heard a choir sing. A woman standing near the door must have heard it too because she ran over and asked if she could have her picture taken with him and his cronuts. I wish I had thought of that.
If you weren’t buying cronuts you could bypass the line and enter the bakery. I had my eye on the bakery’s previous bestseller, the item that put Ansel on the map, the Kouign Amann (pronounced koo-ween ah-mahn). It’s kind of like a sticky bun without the sticky, which it doesn’t need because the insides are so decadently rich and tender and satisfying. I ate mine too quickly. If the cronut is better than the Kouign Amann it just might be worth the wait.
I’ve decided that Ansel must have made a deal with the devil. How else to explain both the deliciousness and the madness that Ansel has spawned. I am contemplating a trip down to the crossroads myself. Maybe the devil has one more recipe he is willing to share. What if I combined everyone’s favorite Vermont frozen treat with a doughnut? What do you think of the doughmee? No, I have it, the fronut! Better get in line now.

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