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The Cronut, which transformed NYC food culture, is five years old this week

Written by
Alyson Penn

Do you remember when you first heard about the Cronut? Were you sitting in the office reading an article about it? Did you see it on Facebook? Or were you like me, and your mom was in town and she told you about this new dessert she saw on the Today Show and asked you to pick some up before dinner (before they laughed you out of the store)? We all have our Cronut war stories, memories and meet-cutes for the hybrid that made New Yorkers temporarily turn into sugar-addled junkies doing anything to get our next fix.

Well now, the donut-croissant hybrid is turning five and, honey, she doesn't look a day over six months. To celebrate, Dominique Ansel Bakery will be randomly giving out complimentary Cronut holes this Saturday, May 12. The bite-sized treats will be stuffed with the debut flavors from their shops around the world: Rose Vanilla (NYC), Hokkaido Milk Honey Ganache & Yuzu Curd (Tokyo), Salted Butterscotch Cocoa Nib (London), White Peach Amaretto Jam & Muscovado Ganache (L.A.). You can also buy a five-piece Cronut hole box with this month's flavor, Strawberry Fior di Latte.

But let's back track. New York first met the Rose Vanilla Cronut on May 10, 2013. Chef Dominique Ansel made some sort of kitchen magic when he fried laminated dough in grapeseed oil, rolled it in sugar, filled it with cream and topped it with a sweet glaze. He initially put in on the menu as a temporary offering for Mother's Day (he only made 30 to 40 on that first day), but word spread, and by the third day, more than 150 people were lined around the block to get a taste of the newfangled dessert. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Of course, this isn't the first NYC dessert craze (thanks, Carrie Bradshaw), but the sharp rise of food porn social media paired with the Cronut's legitimate quality only helped to proliferate its meteoric popularity. It arrived right when Instagram was booming and smartphone cameras were rapidly improving. If it wasn't for the Cronut, who knows if the city would have ever been introduced to the Insta-thirsty Black Tap milkshakes, rainbow bagels or cookie dough cones, which are questionable in quality but nonetheless draw huge crowds.

The Cronut might not be the biggest thing to ever hit New York City, but we can't think of a more impressive five-year-old. 

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