In case you’ve been living under a rock with a library of Dr. Atkins diet books, you’re well aware of the cronut craze sweeping the country. Not only have bakeries and restaurants been replicating New York City’s croissant-doughnut hybrid, but they’ve begun veering off in adjacent directions, coming up with all new hybrid pastries. Chicago is home to a few special creations of its own, from “Danuts” and “doughscuits” to doughnut French toast and doughnut milkshakes.
One of the closest variations of the cronut in Chicago is the Danut at Lizzie’s Bake Shoppe. It’s a Danish-doughnut hybrid, with all the flaky, buttery components of a croissant provided by those of the Danish. As a former culinary instructor, namesake proprietor Lizzie Isaacs always taught her students that every culture has a doughnut, and you can technically fry any dough and make it a doughnut. Nowadays at her bake shop, Isaacs experiments with frying different doughs, and what makes Danishes so befitting is how the dough is laden with chunks of cold butter, which melt after frying and enrich the insides. Danuts come with various glazes and sprinkles.
Two of the most popular doughy delicacies at Endgrain converge into one beautiful amalgam: the doughscuit. It’s part doughnut and part biscuit, made by altering the biscuit recipe a tad to make them chewier and less dense when fried. Doughscuits can hold up to a lot more manipulation than standard doughnuts, as each one is glazed, sliced laterally, and filled with custardy crème fraîche. There’s also a German chocolate cake-inspired variation, in case the former isn’t rich enough.
Doughnuts take center plate at Public House in the form of doughnut French toast. It’s two of the sweetest breakfast carbs in one convenient, finger-licking package. Housemade brioche is cut into doughnut-shaped rounds, shellacked in cardamom flour, and fried. They’re tossed in cinnamon-sugar and finished with vanilla-bourbon glaze and peach jam.
If you’re looking to drink your doughnuts, head to Rockit Burger Bar for the closest thing you’ll get to a deep-fried milkshake. Available Saturdays and Sundays at brunch, the doughnut milkshake features pureed doughnuts, cream, vanilla bean, and two lemon-glazed doughnut holes as garnish. Guests can also jazz up their shakes with shots of Three Olives Triple Espresso.
Lizzie’s Bake Shoppe
2136 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago
1851 W. Addison Street, Chicago
400 N. State Street, Chicago
Rockit Burger Bar
3700 N. Clark Street, Chicago
Matt Kirouac has been writing about food for publications in Chicago and around the country for several years now.
Follow Matt Kirouac on Twitter: @Mattsland