Homemade Croissant-Doughnuts, Truffles and More DIY Treats
We know there's no substitute for the real thing—but these DIY versions come really, really close (and you can eat them in your pajamas).
They're the croissant-doughnut hybrid that has New Yorkers lining up for hours
, even in a snowstorm, and copycat versions are popping up all over (even Gayle's a fan
). And while this take on the famed Cronut® from Lush to Blush
blogger Megan Elliott may not be an exact replica of the real thing—which consists of a croissant-like dough fried, rolled in sugar, filled with cream and topped with glaze—it's a lot easier to come by (as in, you can get everything you need at the supermarket without having to endure a three-hour wait). The secret ingredient is frozen puff-pastry dough. You brush each layer with an egg wash, and then cut the dough into doughnut-shaped pieces, bake and then deep fry them; and, just before gobbling them up, coat each one with the sugar glaze and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Get the recipe: DIY Croissant-Doughnut
A tray of exquisite-looking truffles is something to behold: The small, rich chocolate treats are more special than regular candies, since they're textured on the outside but gooey on the inside. Yet, creating them from scratch is simpler than you'd think, says Christina Rakitze, director of pastry operations at the New York sweet shop and bistro Sugar and Plumm
. To embrace your inner Willy Wonka, all you need is a box of brownie mix, a jar of Nutella and a bottle of corn syrup. The fun is in the toppings—you can roll the truffles in crushed cereal, toasted nuts, sprinkles, coconut or anything else you can think of.
Get the recipe: Brownie Truffles
We have yet to meet anyone who hasn't been seduced by the garlic breadsticks at Italian restaurants, and it turns out making your own is even better, since you can customize the shape and flavor. Take frozen pretzels (SuperPretzel
is the classic) and spritz them with garlic-infused olive oil using a spray bottle. Before baking, sprinkle with flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or Casina Rossa Truffle & Salt
—the latter of which, Oprah says, "adds an aromatic note of luxury to everything." Once they're out of the oven, you can (optionally) sprinkle them with grated Parmesan cheese, finely chopped fresh herbs (basil and parsley are good) and cut them into 2-inch sticks (leave the twists in tact as their own bite-size treats).
Photo: Matt Wittmeyer Photography
We've spotted shortcakes drizzled with the Italian liqueur on restaurant menus and seen recipes for versions that include homemade biscuits, but Heather "Cupcakes" Saffer, author of The Dollop Book of Frosting
and winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars
, puts a semihomemade spin on the dessert that we haven't seen before. She does make her own strawberry frosting (it's hard to beat the sweet-tart flavor of fresh berries), but relies on a roll of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits for the dessert's base. They're just as absorbent as ones made from scratch, so they beautifully soak up the zingy limoncello.
Get the recipe: Strawberry-Frosted Limoncello "Shortcakes"
It's not that making these sweets-on-sticks is difficult—but it can be a little time-consuming (bake the cake, crumble the cake, mix the cake with frosting, form it into balls, are you still with us?). This no-brainer recipe from blogger Angie Dudley, aka Bakerella
, uses store-bought doughnut holes, which you dip in melted candy coating, chocolate chips or white chocolate chips. Leave them at that, or decorate with espresso beans, crushed pretzels or any of these other brilliant toppings
Get the recipe: Doughnut-Hole Cake Pops
Next: What to eat at 1 a.m. (and not feel bad about at 8 a.m.)