Croffle Craze: The Croissant-waffle Hybrid That’s Taking Over Hong Kong’s Cafés
The Korean street snack hybrid that might be even better than the cronut. You’ll see. Introducing: Croffle.
Whether you’re aware or not, this is a city that loves a new foodie fad, especially when it comes to pastry hybrids with catchy portmanteau names. And especially when it looks photogenic enough to warrant a single post on carefully curated Instagram grids. There was the cronut (croissant-doughnut) and newly released croissant-toast — both wonderful crispy, buttery goodness courtesy of Dominique Ansel, then the brookie, which frankly didn’t get as much air-time as it probably deserved but you can still find the brownie-cookie creation at Richard Ekkebus’ Freshly Baked 2.0 pop-up in Landmark Mandarin Oriental. And now, the croffle — the wonderful meeting of croissant dough and searing hot waffle iron. The familiar flaky pastry finding popularity as a delicious anytime-of-the-day summer snack.
Now, with any modicum of naivety, the croffle, upon first notice, would come off as a one-time, ingenious creation by an inspired cafétier in search of inventive alternatives for an old waffle maker; but in fact, the original croffle was ideated by Louise Lennox, a discreet pastry chef based in Ireland, circa 2017. But that was just the average butter croissant pressed down on the steaming metal plate, garnished maybe with sliced avocados or strawberries as a renewed breakfast serve. In this evolved edition we’re speaking of, the one that has enrapture all our attention, is of the hyped Korean street snack variety. It’s interesting. Exciting. Some would even say a considerable abstract masterpiece. Dipped in melted chocolate. Encrusted in sprinkles. Glazed with a sugary, crystalline coat. Piped with perfectly neat cream swirls.
And a great thing about the croffle is, apart from being essentially a crispier, flakier, crunchier version of a croissant — which, what’s not to love? — is its simple, easy-to-make construction that can be emulated right at home. Even in a groggy Monday morning state. All you need: croissant dough (the pre-rolled, frozen-aisle ones work perfectly, too), a waffle maker and a condiment cart with all your select breakfast spreads — a tub of nutella of course, or, in my opinion an all-time winner, the crunchy Lotus biscoff, and you’re on top of this next great craze. A five minutes squish on the machine, and done. A weekend luxury made even better for weekday mornings. We’d presume that the satisfaction in whipping up a breakfast serve as indulgent as a croffle will be the kind of motivation that gets you going for the day, if not as far as into the office to brag about your newest kitchen trick. It’ll be an impressive one.
To inspire your croffle discovery, below is a straightforward schedule curated for a day of dedicated devouring the versatile pastry. But should you prefer something less orderly and more I’ll-see-how-I-feel whim, head to a nearby café, they’re likely to have a version of their own.
Rise by Classified
9am brekkie: A fruity croffle
If early mornings routines consist of a healthy side of a fruity something, don’t let the croffle’s arrival dissuade practiced habits. Go for a fruit-topped choice, namely Rise by Classified’s version that come either with sugar-dusted strawberries, of if it’s proving to be a particularly difficult AM, chocolate drizzled bananas that will be a much-welcomed remedy.
Rise by Classified, Shop 05, G/F, H Zentre, 15 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon; +852 2631 3454
11am brunch: A ‘PB & Pretzel’ croffle
The wonderful thing about brunch is that it’s basically a second breakfast. Balance the previous sweet with a savoury and go for Croffle Chronicles’s PB & Pretzel take. It’s an apropos palm-sized snack that you’ll happily gobble up and still have room for lunch. Golden toasted and beautifully glazed with a judicious coat of peanut butter, a salted, wire-thin make of the brittle knotted biscuit adorns the surface. Orders must be placed one day in advance.
12pm lunch: An avo-and-tomato croffle
With a reputation as quite possibly the quintessential form of a traditional French croissant in the city, it’s no breaking news that Gontran Cherrier would put its own spin on the croffle. Naturally, the pastry at this artisan boulangerie goes beyond surface-level excess with well-thought-out serves that’ll make for a satisfying lunch. Spy the latest corn cheese variations that also come in versions with smoked salmon and bacon.
Gontran Cherrier, Shop B207, B2/F, K11 Musea, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, East Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon; +852 3468 2430
4pm afternoon tea: An earl grey waffle
If you’re partial to a mind-awakening cuppa when the post-lunch slump sneaks in, make the temporary (likely to turn permanent) switch to a tea-infused croffle instead, courtesy of Slowmoffle. This afternoon’s motivation: an artisanal blend of earl grey-infused croissant dough smeared with earl grey jam embedded with figs for a satisfying chew and a glistening coat of chocolate to finish. Recharged; reenergised.
Slowmoffle is currently still in its soft-opening phrase. Check back for updates.
9pm post-dinner dessert: A tiramisu croffle
For the final grace note on this croffle-ised day; indulge in a variation on an after-dinner classic: Tiramisu. am.pm’s edition plops a generous dollop of the tasty mascarpone cheese, cream and espresso trio atop a perfectly toasted croffle served on a stick. Easy, breezy, delicious and, thankfully, mess-free! You can muster up the appetite for this, surely.
am.pm, Shop B, G/F, Grand Place, 560 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon; +852 2725 4318
(Hero image courtesy of Rise by Classified/Instagram)