Battle Dunkin’: Faux-Cronut vs. Glazed Edition

How does Dunkin's shiny new cronut imitation stack up to its classic glazed brethren? In a staffwide vote, one won in a landslide.

dunkin' donuts

Photo by Ruby Wallace-Ewing

Dunkin’ Donuts unveiled its “croissant donut” this week to mixed public reaction. Despite John Costello’s (Dunkin’s president of global marketing and innovation) claims to the contrary, the doughnut-croissant mashup is obviously a corporate knockoff of pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s “cronut”—a pop culture phenomenon that eclipsed the ramen burger and helped Ansel nab a James Beard award—and, ergo, doomed to the mockery it has since suffered at the hands of the media and the foodie sect.

This morning, a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts “croissant donuts” were dropped off at the Boston magazine office. After passing them around the office and taking a few exploratory bites, I asked: “Are these any different than a regular Dunkin’ glazed doughnut?” Nobody had a good answer.

Since it’s Election Day, we decided to put it to a vote. I went to Dunkin’s Massachusetts Ave./Columbus location and purchased a half-dozen regular glazed doughnuts and set up an informal taste test among the magazine staff. On one plate were chopped up chunks of glazed, on the other, bite-sized morsels of Dunkin’s newest confection. Would anybody be able to tell the difference? Did they taste different at all?

To my surprise, yes, there was indeed a consensus.

Overwhelmingly, the glazed doughnut was described as “dense,” “overly sweet,” and “dry.” One anonymous voter made the comment:

It tastes like glazed church wafers.

Another said:

Were these fried in the leftover oil from a Chinese food restaurant?

Comparatively, the new croissant donut was lighter and fluffier, and was easily singled out as Dunkin’s new product. Out of 17 staff members, only one person preferred the regular ole’ glazed doughnut.  But the remarks weren’t entirely positive. Most commented on its “waxy” aftertaste and several people thought it more resembled Dunkin’s French cruller, than a flaky, chewy croissant.

So, with a wide margin of victory, the croissant donut wins the fried-ring election. But how would the victor fair against stiffer competition, say Ansel’s aforementioned cronut, a Kane’s Old Fashion, or one of Union Square Donuts’ gourmet vanilla bean doughnuts? Probably not well. Like most two-party contests, there’s a winner. Just not a very palatable one.