Confession: Jack in the Box Croissant Donuts are embarrassingly good
I was skeptical about Jack in the Box's new Croissant Donut, having eschewed most fast food for some years now. How could a burger joint churn out a pastry anywhere near edible?
There was no way they'd be able to capture the flaky texture of a croissant or the pleasing dunkability of a doughnut, especially when their focus is serving various processed meat products. Surely any pastry they served would be dripping with fryer grease and taste lightly of ground chuck. Or so I thought...
Along with a trusted friend, who has tried several other iterations of the Croissant Donut, I went to Jack in the Box and ordered, keeping my head low lest any of my local foodie friends should spot me from the street.
The Croissant Donuts are technically a breakfast item but are served all day. When we got the bag, it was piping hot and, to be honest, smelled great. That was the first surprise. Cinnamon, sugar and a pleasant greasy odor wafted from the bag. We quickly drove home so we could give them a try.
The Croissant Donuts were obviously puffed and flaky when we took them from the bag, which I thought was a good sign. They also lacked uniformity, making them feel a lot less like a fast-food item and more like something from a real bakery. We each grabbed one and took a bite. I was afraid to say anything at first, and waited to hear what my friend thought.
"Umm... These are really good!" Relief washed over me, and I agreed enthusiastically.
The doughnuts were surprisingly flaky and had a pleasant chewiness that reminded me of a real croissant. The outside was a little crispy from a trip in the fryer, and the cinnamon-sugar dusting was just enough to help cut through the not-overwhelming greasiness. There was a hint of artificial butter flavor, but they used a light touch there, which I think is a good thing. And the grease itself had a very neutral flavor — I had been dreading the possibility of rancid chicken nugget undertones.
You get three Croissant Donuts per order, for just under $2. My friend said they're better than the much pricier version at Whole Foods, and if you split the bag with a couple of friends, it will set you back only 136 calories.
My recommendation? If you're already a pastry or doughnut lover or are just curious about the Croissant Donut concept in general, then give them a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.