SoHo Good

The Breakfast Club mimics a Manhattan sensation with its croissant/doughnut hybrid, and demand is outpacing supply
Photographs by Cybelle Codish

Ryan Redmond, a West Bloomfield carpenter, admits he has a “terrible sweet tooth.” And when he tried the new croissant/doughnut hybrid at the Breakfast Club, it was a revelation for him. “They’re absolutely amazing,” he says. “I’ve never had anything like them.”

After eating the first one, he wanted another. But no. He had gotten the last of that day’s supply of the precious clouds of dough, pastry cream, and frosting.

Breakfast Club proprietor Penny White explains why: The layered pastries take three days to make and require complicated techniques and expensive ingredients such as Madagascar vanilla beans and grape seed oil, and are made only in a limited quantity at the Breakfast Club locations in Madison Heights and Commerce Township.

“Cronuts” are the creation of New York baker Dominique Ansel, who came up with the recipe and started selling them last year at his bakery in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. He does not reveal the secret recipe and has even gone so far as to copyright the cronut name.

So technically, the Breakfast Club cannot call their confections cronuts without getting into trouble with chef Ansel. “So let’s just make it cronut-a,” says White, who, after trying to recreate the, er, cronuta herself — “I got the taste but it didn’t look right” — enlisted the help of certified master pastry chef Joe Decker of Schoolcraft College from whom she had taken a pastry class.

Decker, one of only 12 master pastry chefs in the United States, was able to come up with the painstaking process that starts with making the laminated dough (alternating layers of dough and butter) and then letting it ferment overnight, then freezing and rolling it three times before proofing, baking, filling, and frosting on the third day. He taught White and the Madison Heights chef William Caryle how to make them, and they in turn taught the Commerce Township chef Armando Sanchez.

The delicately layered creations have a shelf life of just eight hours, and are available starting at 9 a.m. at $3.95 each. The Madison Heights and Commerce Township locations each have two dozen each day. The flavor changes monthly, and it’s strawberry rhubarb in April.

White says she was looking for something unique for her restaurants, after tiring of years of making cinnamon buns. And judging from the reaction of her sweets-loving customers, she made a brilliant choice.

Breakfast Club, 1713 Haggerty Rd. north of 15 Mile Rd., Commerce Township, 248-926-0690, and 30600 John Rd., Madison Heights, 248-307-9090. Open daily from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. (2:30 p.m. in Commerce Township)