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Cronut (knock-offs) have arrived in Honolulu


The POG and green tea Butternuts at Regal Bakery

Cronuts (half croissant, half doughnut) have spread, like fast zombies, from the Mainland to Hawaii. They were invented (and trademarked) by James Beard-nominated pastry chef Dominique Ansel in New York City. Ansel’s involvement is enough to make me curious about even the most ridiculously named pastries. On a recent trip to his bakery (just a week before the Cronut was released), I ate and loved everything: made-to-order madeleines; kouign amann; grapefruit, honey and lavender tart; grape and Sauternes tart.

Regal Bakery just released its version of the trendy treat last Friday, giving it the questionable name of “Butternut” (to make matters worse, judging from the capitalization in its signage, I think the bakery wants you to call it “buttnut” for short). From appearances alone, you can tell Regal Bakery’s doesn’t show the mastery of the original, which features accordion-like layers (I have yet to see a Hawaii baker nail all-butter laminated doughs—i.e. croissant and puff pastry). A crisp, flaky exterior shows promise, but the dough itself has practically no flavor. The fillings—bavarian cream, green tea and POG—help, but their goopiness overwhelms any promise of delicateness.

I’ll probably stick to Regal Bakery’s cake doughnuts. A decision that brings the added benefit of never having to request a “buttnut” again.

Cronuts currently available only at the Regal Bakery downtown location, 100 N. Beretania St., Suite 105, 540-1000

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