Pumpkin Spice Caramel Cronut

It wasn’t so long ago when cupcakes ruled the world, closely followed by macarons, cake pops and anything (literally) made from bacon. Food fads are so much fun to watch but I think I’ve just found my favorite…the cronut! If you’ve been living in one of those huts in Bora Bora – you know the kind that sits high up on sticks in the ocean – then you might have missed the cronut hoopla. So here goes.Pumpkin caramel CronutThe cronut, a hybrid of a croissant and a donut, was invented by Dominique Ansel, a French baker and pastry chef, just this year. Dominique owns his own bakery in New York and wakes up each morning to his version of every business person’s dream – a line of customers stretching around the block, all wanting to trade cash for his cronuts. The cronut craze is indeed crazy, so crazy that he limits people to only two per purchase. You can buy six if you order them two weeks in advance. (Check out this really cool timeline of his week by Huffington Post.) 

When I visited Hawaii earlier in the year, I made a point of visiting Leonard’s Bakery. Some say Leonard’s Portugese malasadas donuts are the best in the world and I had to stand in line for 30 minutes to try them,  Ansel’s customers are waiting in line for 3 or more hours!Pumpkin caramel hybrid donutWhat would you do for one of these yeasty nuggets? Well, you could make them at home like I did. Ever since I saw these flaky, puffy, gold-medal worthy examples of home made cronuts from Salt and Smoke, I knew I had to try them. The dough is the texture of croissant dough, packed with butter and folded over and over again to produce those flaky layers. If you’ve ever made croissants, you know how much labor goes into this. But it’s like a science experiment – if it goes right, then it’s soooo worth it. Of course, if it goes belly-up like mine did the first time, then it’s a kitchen full of flying flour and cuss words. I would have loved to achieved the layers from the Salt and Smoke offering, but I know why that didn’t happen and I’ll adjust for it the next time I make these. Umm, yeah I’ll be making them again because it was like stuffing a raised donut into my mouth while also relishing crispy layers of butter and pumpkin spice sugar. And as if that wasn’t enough sweet goodness, I dipped them all in caramel sauce. Let’s not forget the middle of the cronut. Those little puffy balls rolled in the sugar were more addicting than I imagine crack to be.

Pumpkin hybrid donut with caramel spice topping


Caramel spiced cronut's



Pumpkin Spice Caramel Cronut
Serves: 12
  • For the dough:
  • ¾ cups milk, warmed
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Canola oil for frying
  • For the caramel sauce:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • 3 tsp butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • For the sugar:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  1. Warm the milk and add the yeast to it. Gently whisk and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl combine the eggs, sugar, spice and vanilla extract. Add the milk mixture and mix well.
  3. Add 1 cup of the flour into the wet ingredients and mix. Gradually add the other 2¼ cups of flour and mix into a ball.
  4. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Beat the butter until smooth and add the remaining ¼ cup of flour to it, whisking until smooth.
  6. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a rectangle shape about 12 x 18.
  7. Spread the softened butter all over the dough and then fold the dough into thirds. It will be folding a book.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and place back in the fridge for 45 minutes.
  9. Bring the dough back out and roll it into another rectangle shape folding again into a three fold pattern. Cover and place back in the fridge.
  10. Do this another two times making a total of four folds to the dough. Place back in the fridge for an hour or leave to rest overnight.
  11. Once it's ready roll it out one more time but making sure to roll it to about 1¼ inches. This is important as it's help give some lift to the layers when placed into the hot oil.
  12. Using a donut cutter, cut out the circles and place them on a floured baking tray along with the donut holes.
  13. Place the baking tray back into the fridge, always keeping it cold.
  14. Heat the oil to about 350 degrees F. Once the oil is hot enough place a few cronuts into it. Keep the rest of the cronuts in the fridge at this time.
  15. The cronuts will only take a few minutes to cook on each side. Scoop them out and transfer to a paper towel to dry.
  16. Continue until all of the circles have been cooked.
  17. Roll the cronuts in the sugar and top with the caramel sauce.
  18. For the sauce:
  19. Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a pan. Cook over a medium heat until it starts to turn a deep amber.
  20. Whisk in the butter until melted. Add the heavy cream and stir until sooth and shiny. Let cool before topping the cronuts.
  21. Mix the sugar and spices together and dust each cronut until covered.
Fill the pan with about 2 inches worth of canola oil and use a thermometer to maintain steady temperatures.

Adapted from Salt and Smoke, http://saltandsmokefood.com/buttermilk-vanilla-glazed-croissant-donuts/





  1. says

    Holy {{insert cuss words}} here that looks great! I followed your comment from Salt & Smoke (subscriber) and I thought these were made w/ pumpkin (as I’m loving the return to Fall flavors!). It isn’t but the pumpkin spice is a nice addition!

    I will be trying this recipe as the last one I used (Food52) produced several layers that did not plump up when fried. Oh wells. Like you, hit or miss the first time.

  2. deelo says

    These are a labor of love…for my mouth!

    I made them today – actually, I played the rolling game last night & fried them up this morning. I was nervous because, well you know, so often these don’t come out right…BUT these totally happened on my FIRST TRY!

    I made one (minor) modification: I added real pumpkin! I subbed out 1/4c milk & added 1/4c pumpkin to the eggs & sugar…be sure to remove excess liquid from the pumpkin by using a cheesecloth.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, my donut habit will never be the same. ;)

  3. says

    This is definitely a labor of love and if it doesn’t go well, there would be screams of frustration. Great recipe and beautiful photo. Love the Cronut in fall flavors. I’ve yet to try them but now you’ve tempted me.

  4. Katerina says

    Hi Gerry, I tried your recipe last night and wanted to ask you if your cronuts rose and doubled in size when resting. I fried the first cronut about 1 hour after the cronuts rested and even though the puff pastry part of it came out great, the layers did not rise properly(it came out of the fryer almost accordion looking). I let it rest over nigh and it the morning I took it out of the fridge and I let it rest some more and then it was better but not perfect. I expected the cronuts to rise more to give the puff pastry layers the right doughy consistency. So my cronuts are denser than I think they should be. The pumpkin spice flavor in the dough is heaven. I just dipped the cronuts in vanilla icing and it was perfect.

    • foodnessgracious says

      Hi Katerina, the dough dosen’t actually get a chance to rise. After the final rolling out and cutting the circles it goes back in the fridge to stay cold. Do this as you fry 2-3 cronuts at a time. The secret is keeping the dough cold so the butter does not melt before frying. Hope this helps!


  1. […] 1. Pumpkin Caramel Spice Cronuts from Foodness Gracious. Don’t they look delicious? 2. Pumpkin Cake from Something Swanky. You basically just combine boxed cake mix with a can of pumpkin, bake, and then cover the entire thing with condensed milk and cool whip. Not the most sophisticated dessert, but definitely easy enough to do at home with your kids. 3. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies from I Heart Nap Time. Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? 4. Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes from Life Made Simple. Cheesecakes in general aren’t necessarily a favorite around here. Not that we don’t like them, just that if given the option we’ll usually gravitate towards something else. Most people LOVE cheesecake though, and these look delicious and adorable, too. Do you have any Fall baking favorites? We’d love to know! And don’t forget that we’re already taking orders for Thanksgiving dinner! Seriously, you could slave away in your kitchen for two straight days after countless trips to the grocery store, only to end up with a massive sink full of dishes.. OR you could have a beautiful multi-course dinner prepared by award-winning chefs delivered right to your door. Pretty easy decision, right? Email Cristina at our office for the menu options and more details: [email protected] Events Tags: catering, Chef Andrea, Chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo, Chef Frank Randazzo, Creative Tastes, Dessert, Fall, Family Recipe […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: