Earlier this summer an acquaintance of mine asked, "Can I go one day without hearing the word cronut?" The croissant-doughnut hybrid created by Dominique Ansel has become so popular that its name has become common parlance. There's no denying that we're obsessed with this croissant and doughnut love child.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the latest in dessert mash-ups—a Crookie ($2.75). What is a crookie? It's a croissant stuffed with Oreo cookies from my local Toronto bakery Clafouti. Hoda and Kathy-Lee ate them on the Today show. Perez Hilton wrote about them. You may have seen them on Good Morning America or read about them in Time. It's not often that a Toronto treat gets this kind of buzz. Personally, I'm not sure whether to cringe or rejoice. If there is such thing as hubris against pastry gods, one has to wonder if perhaps we've gone too far.
The Crookie was invented when local publication The Grid challenged five pastry chefs to come up with their own hybrid desserts. Clafouti owner Olivier Jansen-Reynaud mashed together his well-loved croissants with Double-Stuff Oreos. The Crookies went on sale in late June and have been gaining in popularity ever since. The internet would lead you to believe that it's just as crazy as at Dominique Ansel Bakery. The Crookies do occasionally sell-out, but it's nowhere near the level of madness on Spring St. One my last trip to Clafouti there were just two people ahead of me in line and there was no limit on the number of Crookies I could purchase. No one was scalping anything and there were no fist fights breaking out—just a regular day on Queen West.
The Crookie itself is a plump rectangular pastry with croissant dough folded around broken Oreos into a package garnished with a half Oreo. The croissant is buttery and flaky, though it is not crispy enough to shatter. It is jam-packed with Oreos and every bite has layers of chocolate cookie and icing filling. The texture of the Oreos is slightly softer than usual, somewhat like fried Oreos. The Crookie tastes like Oreos, just with the added bonus of buttery croissant decadence. In short, it's like eating an Oreo sandwich.
So is the Crookie an innovation or monstrosity? The calorie-laden snack is surprisingly tasty. Jansen-Reynaud has clearly taken the time to make sure that his insane idea actually looks and tastes good. The croissant-to-Oreo ratio is pleasant. The level of sweetness is not cloying. The textures are enjoyable. While not for everyday, it's indulgent and playful. Still, I'm not sure the Crookie is an improvement on either the croissant or the Oreo. While there is something interesting in the spectacle of classic French pastry blended with classic junk food, mixing them together does not equal more than the sum of the parts. The Crookie is dangerously close to crimes against the pastry arts, but as long as it tastes decent, I'll let them off with a warning.
Clafouti Patisserie & Café
915 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 1G5 (map)