Way back when I first was encouraged to take on cronuts in the test kitchen, my health-conscious, triathlete brother, wary of the Christmas battle of the bulge, lobbied for something a bit healthier.
“What about seeing what you can do with Quinoa?” he wrote in our family email chain.
The reaction was fierce, as it often is in our email chain. A chorus of boos rang out. I led the cheer. I use Quinoa on occasion. It’s basically a bland medium to cover with vegetables. The whole craze that made everyone try to make quinoa everything turned me off. I hate fad foods. I hate healthy fad foods most of all. As the emails flew and my brother took all sorts of heat, one of the in-laws came to his defense.
“How about Quinoa Cronuts!?” he emailed.
Now the wrath turned to him.
“That. Is. NOT. A THING!” the original Cronut lobbyist wrote back.
One of our kinder family members came to the rescue:
“Oohh the cronut sounds amazing but so does quinoa and since I gained 900lbs over the holidays maybe you should stuff the cronut with quinoa so I dont feel guilty for eating it. Now that is the originality worthy of an EFFin artist. Bravo.”
I decided to wade in like a surly judge meant to have the final word:
“Quinoa and a Cronut? Bravo??? Seriously?!?! For shame! It’s safe to say I know two people who WON’T be winning this week’s sweepstakes package. I mean, quinoa has all the artistry of a Beanie Baby. Just because people get all trendy with it doesn’t make it neato. It’s rice man. Really, that’s about it. Rice. Or Risotto for bad cooks. Sigh.. I can’t believe I’m explaining this. I must move on. It’s as arty as selfies when you get right down to it,” I wrote.
The Quinoa Cronut debate remains the longest thread of EffinArtist family emails to date.
So no wonder it surfaced. Many of us trekked south to celebrate an important milestone in my brother’s career. I offered to do the cooking. My daughter came up with the idea. She bought Quinoa flour for Cronuts.
“What the hell,” I said, having just returned from New York where I tasted the true trademarked master Cronut, much to my delight (see photo of Ansel Bakery creations above… they are stunning!).
We made two batches… the real thing and a Cronut variety. My daughter got into the act, adding a little cinnamon and spice to the batter to appeal to the nutty flavor. We even considered a Greek yogurt filling to make it as healthy as possible.
We plugged away. The flour was different so consistencies had to be carefully worked to get the right texture of dough. We snuck a taste of two. Each time, I had a simple clear thought: “This sucks.”
Soon I was trying to mask the Quinoa flour flavor rather than enhance it. Eventually we made both batches, giving both to my brother. He was thrilled. He tried them. His face scrunched.
“Yeah, that’s not good,” he said.
Here’s what I didn’t say: “I told you so.”
It was a good day.