Finding Cruffins in San Francisco
Back in 2015, my parents took me on a trip for my 21st birthday. We spent a few days in Las Vegas and then travelled over to Northern California to visit San Francisco and Sequoia National Park. It was on this epic family trip that I first tasted a cruffin. And what is a cruffin, you may ask? Well, my friends, it is a dream come true. It’s the sublime combination of a croissant and a muffin – hence the name cruffin. These tasty morsels are comprised of flaky, buttery pastry layers just like croissants. But they are baked in muffin tins and can be filled with delicious cream or jam, similar to muffins. Fast forward seven years from that love-at-first-bite, and I’m still drooling over the memory of those cruffins. So I decided to make a recipe for easy homemade cruffins – now we can eat them anywhere, any time!
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse was where cruffins became all the craze here in the U.S. They would bake cruffins fresh each day, and the line outside their door was insane. We had to wake up at oh-dark-early and get in line an hour before the bakery opened. Everyone was allowed just one cruffin per person, and by the time we left the bakery that morning, they were already sold out. I’m telling you, they are insanely delicious. And Mr. Holmes created new weekly flavored fillings for their cruffins, igniting the craze to get your hands on these even further.
Less than a month before our visit to the famed bakehouse, they experience a grand theft. But the thief left the cash in the till. The iPads and computers remained untouched. The only stolen items were the prized recipes for cruffins and a few other pastries. I told you these cruffins are good! They were worth stealing over, apparently! Mr. Holmes Bakehouse bounced back after the theft and the news stories did nothing but crank up the public obsession over cruffins to a new height.
Unfortunately the bakehouse fell victim to the pandemic, filed bankruptcy, and permanently closed their doors in San Francisco. Which is all the more reason to learn how to make homemade cruffins.
How to Make Cruffins
As I was doing my research on how to make homemade cruffins, I came across a plethora of recipes and methods to recreate the buttery layers, sugary exterior and soft, airy interior. You could make croissant dough from scratch and bake them in muffin tins. This would be the most labor-intensive but possibly the most rewarding method. But if you can get your hands on store-bought puff pastry, you’ll be enjoying these cruffins days sooner!
To make these easy homemade cruffins, start by rolling out the puff pastry dough into two large rectangles. Spread a mixture of softened butter and cocoa powder onto each dough rectangle. Then cover liberally with cinnamon and sugar. Roll the puff pastry into tight logs, then slice into shorter logs. Slice each of these pieces in half vertically and roll them up so the layers of buttery cocoa powder and cinnamon sugar are on the outside. Bake in muffins tins, cover with more cinnamon sugar, then enjoy! These are best served warm, but they still taste delicious for a few days. And I love mine topped with plain Greek yogurt and jam!
Homemade Cruffin Flavor Possibilities
There are so many ways to add unique flavors to homemade cruffins. You could add any type of ground spices to the butter or sugar. I added cocoa powder to the butter that’s spread onto the puff pastry dough. But you could switch that out for ground cardamom, nutmeg and cloves, or ground ginger. Instead of cinnamon and sugar, you could do brown sugar and sesame seeds, or matcha powder for example.
And the flavor additions don’t end there! You could top your cruffin with anything from crushed nuts to bee pollen. Let your imagination run wild and explore filling your cruffins with jam, custard, peanut butter, caramel sauce or whipped cream. If you do plan on filling your cruffins, I suggest to bake them in a high-walled muffin tin to obtain the height required to hold the filling inside. Once your cruffins are baked and cooled, use a sharp knife to cut a hole in the top about two-thirds down into the cruffin. Then fill the hole with your desired filling and it’s ready to be devoured!
- 2 sheets (about 17 ounces) puff pastry, thawed to room temperature
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin tin.
- Use a rolling pin or a large bottle to roll out the puff pastry. Each sheet should be rolled out to about 11 inches by 15 inches.
- Combine the softened butter and cocoa powder in a bowl.Use a spatula or pallet knife to spread the cocoa butter mixture evenly on both sheets of puff pastry dough.
- Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.Sprinkle 1 to 1½ Tablespoons of the cinnamon and sugar onto each sheet of puff pastry dough to evenly coat them.
- Starting at a longer edge, roll the first puff pastry sheet into a tight log. Cut the log width-wise into four equal pieces. Repeat with the other sheet of dough so you have a total of eight pieces. Cut each of the eight pieces length-wise to get a total of 16 pieces. Roll each piece with the layers of cocoa butter and cinnamon sugar on the outside. (See photo in blog post for reference)
- Place the rolled-up cruffins into the muffin tin. Keep any cruffins that don't fit in the muffin tin in the fridge until you're ready to bake them. Bake at 30 – 35 minutes, until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
- While still hot from the oven, toss them in the remaining cinnamon sugar. Allow to cool for a few minutes then enjoy!