The Croookie delights Paris – The New York Times

All it took for the biscuit to take shape was a baker looking for a diversion, his tried-and-true croissant recipe and a few biscuits for inspiration. It took TikTok to make it viral.

Stéphane Louvard created the cookie almost a year and a half ago when he came up with the idea of ​​putting cookie dough into a croissant and then baking it again. But demand for his cookies has exploded in recent months after TikTok videos showcased his creations. On one day in February, Mr. Louvard sold 2,300 pastries at his bakery in a bustling Paris neighborhood.

“The whole planet is talking about us. Someone told me he even came from Madrid just to get a cookie — it's crazy,” Mr. Louvard said as he prepared a pan of croissants, ready to be cut in half and filled with chocolate chip cookie dough.

The scammer – Mr Louvard's son Nicolas, a business school student, came up with the name – has not only taken social media by storm. It has also spread to other bakeries throughout France and the world.

The croissant has long been a favorite in the French capital: legend has it that Marie Antoinette first brought it from Austria in the late 18th century. But fusion baking has become more common in Paris and across France in recent years, with bakers embracing one trend after another, such as the brookie (fusing a brownie and a biscuit), the cronut and the cruffin (which they marry croissants with donuts and muffins). .

Mr. Louvard, 51, who has been making his croissants from scratch for decades, got the inspiration for the dessert one morning in October 2022, when he was making croissants and saw his team preparing the biscuits next to him and decided to mix them together. He continued to create cookies mostly for fun during his long shifts, which start at 4 a.m. every day.

He managed to sell a dozen or two a day, only to abandon them last summer as temperatures rose and sales of the heavy pastries fell. The following fall he began making cookies again at the request of regular customers, but sales never exceeded 30 units a day.

“This is literally food porn,” Papz said in his video, brandishing the dessert at the camera. As he bites into it, an expression of pleasure spreads across his face.

New customers flocked to Maison Louvard, Mr. Louvard's bakery in central Paris. “We started to double the quantities, we reached 600, 700 pieces a day, but it was never enough,” he recalls.

At the height of the criminal frenzy, Maison Louvard had to rearrange its entire production to satisfy the crowds. Louvard said demand dropped slightly during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and as the weather warmed. But the bakery still sells about 1,000 a day, and tourists and locals continue to flock to try them.

This week, the five-star George V hotel in Paris called the bakery for a special delivery. “A guest wanted the original in his room at 1 a.m.,” Mr. Louvard said.

Jessie Leworthy, who was visiting Paris from Devon, England, with a friend, recently took a selfie of her first bite of croscuit at the bakery's entrance. “We didn't know how these two different textures would come together, but it's delicious,” she said.

However, the scammer has his detractors.

“I'm choking right now, I wish I had a bottle of water,” said David Iemolo, a tourist from Philadelphia, who said he heard about the pastry mash-up from social media. “Both individually are fantastic; put them together and you're probably overdoing it for me.

Comments abound on social media describing scammers as too oily, too heavy, or too “American.” There is also the price, 5.90 euros (about 6.30 dollars) – about three times that of a typical croissant – for take-away food, and 7.10 euros for eating on the premises.

“It's the price of a croissant added to the price of a biscuit,” Louvard said in his defense, citing the high quality of the butter, flour and chocolate he uses and the long hours his staff works.

It takes Mr. Louvard and his team 36 hours to create the perfect “viennoiserie” – a pastry that is soft and airy on the inside and crunchy and buttery on the outside – for his croissants. The dough must rest at a certain temperature for hours before being filled with a large lump of butter, folded, pressed, folded again – a dozen times – to obtain the desired sheet of pasta.

This is why many French bakers have given up on making croissants themselves, preferring to buy them frozen.

“We don't make our croissants in France anymore,” said chef and author Jean-Marie Lanio, who regularly travels across Asia to teach people how to make the staple of French cuisine.

According to the French bakery federation, industrial companies account for more than 70% of the country's total pastry production and supply bakeries, supermarkets and bars.

Some bakers now hope that social media trends, like the one driving demand for cookies, could encourage more people to bake more products themselves.

“It gives younger generations a renewed appetite for baking,” Lanio said.

Amaury Guichon, a pastry chef, created his own cookie on TikTok last month; the video has been viewed nine million times. That was in stark contrast to the number of likes Mr. Louvard's son received when he first posted a photo of a pastry on the bakery's Instagram in 2022: just over a hundred, he estimated of him.

The crookies appeared on the shelves of the city's bakeries and are now also advertised by France's leading frozen food manufacturer and sold by a large chain of industrial bakeries, where they have been rebranded as “crookiz”.

Croookie mania has also spread across the world. “My followers message me about scammers in Sydney, Dubai, Singapore or New York,” said Mr Papz, the influencer. “It's everywhere.”

Mr Lanio himself first met the scammer during a visit to Bali two weeks ago.

Didier Chaput, who teaches at the Ferrandi cooking school, said he was happy that the scammers had put the freshly baked desserts in the spotlight.

She encourages fusion cuisine in the classroom so her students can find their own styles and tastes. But in the end, she said, “although scammers can be fun, the ultimate question is always where to find the best croissant in Paris.”

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