By Donna Furey, Special to the Independent
For the locals who are regulars at South Swell Donuts, a new treat sits in the glass case at the front of the store. If you want to be sure to get one, call ahead and the owner will reserve one for you.
A cross between a donut and a croissant, the cronut at South Swell is offered plain or with a choice of four toppings: vanilla, chocolate, maple or cinnamon sugar.
Cronut is the brand name of a croissant–doughnut pastry sold by the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City and conceived by chef Dominique Ansel. Although cronut is a registered trademark of Ansel’s bakery, there have been similar recipes circulating in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Australia, New Zealand and China since 2006 with names such as dosant or doughssants.
The cronut dough at South Swell comes from the shop’s croissant supplier, but shop owner Jackie Nam, who has more varieties coming soon, is tweaking it to perfection.
Last Saturday, 50 cronuts were in the fryer by 3 a.m. and by 9 a.m., only four of the $3 nuggets were left. On Sunday, 75 were ready by opening time at 6 a.m. and all but 10 were gone by 1 p.m.
Nam learned about the cronut craze hitting New York from a newspaper article brought to her by one of her regular customers and thought she should introduce them in Laguna since she is the only donut maker in town.
A flyer in the window alerts customers that cronuts are now available, but Nam’s son, Justin Taing, 17, who helps out on weekends, says that since his mom started offering them two weeks ago they haven’t had time to add them to the menu on the wall behind the counter.
South Swell Donuts has a full breakfast menu including bacon and eggs, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, muffins and lots of coffees. For lunch all the usual sandwiches are offered plus pho, a specialty of the house, but if you want a cronut…you know what to do!
South Swell at 31666 S. Coast Highway takes its name from waves brewed by tropical storms that light up the area’s south-facing beaches.