Time Out tries: The viral crookie (croissant-cookie)

Proof of Shanghai’s pastry boom, a slew of bakeries in town have jumped on the 'crookie' bandwagon. We tried them all to find out which one's the best

Cover design by Sammi Sowerby
A trend that has sprung up from Paris to Timbuktu, the ‘crookie’ is, in case you couldn’t tell, a crossover between a croissant and a chocolate chip cookie (‘coosant’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it). Save for the cruffin (croissant + muffin), no other hybrid pastry has enjoyed this much limelight since Dominique Ansel’s cronut (croissant + doughnut) over a decade ago. As far as trends go, the hamster wheel seems almost relentless in its spinning, but we’ll always cut small businesses and creatives some slack — especially in the name of deliciousness!

Proof of Shanghai’s pastry boom, a slew of bakeries in town have jumped on the bandwagon, but not without bringing their own flourishes to the table. Whatever they’re calling it — crookie, chocolate chip croissant or ’Dankie’ — the following baked goods are unmistakable mimicries of Boulangerie Louvard’s Frankensteinian creation in Paris.

Our resident sweet-tooth met the makers of Shanghai’s crookies and conducted a geeky side-by-side taste test, sparing you the time, effort and calories of discovering the best. Someone had to do it.

1) Sloppy Gin
📍104, 425 Yanping Road, Jing’an
Daily, 9 AM - 7 PM

The first bakery in Shanghai to roll out the crookie (to our knowledge), Sloppy Gin introduced their version to an already-famous roster of pastries (crowds clamour for the cinnamon rolls and doughnuts) on March 18, 2024.

Sloppy Gin is named after its head honcho Gin Yuanjie, who meant it as a self-effacing joke: “It was just to lower customers’ expectations in a humorous way,” he confessed.

Sloppy Gin’s namesake founder, Gin Yuanjie

While some are frustratingly tight-lipped or secretive about their techniques and recipes, Gin invited Time Out into his kitchen with few questions asked. The only caveat? Waking up at the crack of dawn to meet the baker’s schedule. No biggie, as the kitchen’s delicious smells quickly wiped the bleary look off our faces.

’Dankies’ before and after facing the fiery inferno of the oven

Before you pop over to Sloppy Gin to scout out their pastry counter and complain to Time Out that there is no crookie, know that they’re calling theirs a ’Dankie’ (Danish + cookie) instead. “It’s pronounced like ’donkey.’ Sounds dumb, but dumb things are always funnier,“ shrugged Gin.

Shaped like a pillow (one that we’d like to bury our faces into) instead of a crescent, the Dankie’s appearance was also an executive decision; Gin simply didn’t like the look of the original, which reminded him of “pizza on the living room floor that you’ve accidentally stepped on after a drunken night.”

It takes a good laoban to admit when an invention isn’t entirely his, and Gin credits his colleague Zoey with creating the ’Dankie,’ which is just as well given his other pet peeve: “I hate cookie dough,” he growled. “It really stick to your hands.” Working with bread dough is definitely more his jam.

📍Fuxing Soho: 102, First Floor, Block B, Fuxing Soho, 277 Danshui Road, Huangpu
Daily, 9 AM - 9 PM
📍Yuyuan Lu: 769-3, Yuyuan Road, Changning
Mon - Fri, 8 AM - 9 PM; Sat + Sun, 9 AM - 9 PM

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Veronika and Valentina Chan, co-founders of SMAKA

Unmistakably related, Swedish sisters Veronika and Valentina Chan also gave Time Out a warm welcome at SMAKA in Fuxing Soho to talk about their ’chocolate chip croissant.’

It was almost a no-brainer for the team to introduce the trending treat, seeing as they already had the recipes for the separate pastries down pat — it was simply a matter of merging them.

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SMAKA’s classic croissant and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Images via Instagram (@smakacafe)

A home away from home for Swedes in Shanghai, SMAKA means ’to taste’ or ’to sample,’ and offers same-same-but-different baked foods that make for fun tongue-twisters; think kardemummabullar (cinnamon and cardamon buns), kladdkaka (chocolate cake), and hallongrottor (thumbprint cookies).

The division of labour between the sisters is clear-cut, with Veronika handling hot foods and product development, and Valentina overseeing organisation, photographs and marketing. There is also a third sister, Viktoria, who isn’t directly involved, but who applies her experience as a fashion designer towards SMAKA’s aesthetics.

3) The Sukhothai Shanghai
📍Beans & Grapes, 2nd floor, 380 Weihai Road, Jing’an
Daily, 11 AM - 7 PM

Lisa Qiu, head pastry chef at The Sukhothai Shanghai, in her element

Matronly and marked by a distinct sweetness and sincerity of character, Shanghainese pastry chef Lisa Qiu prides herself on keeping The Sukhothai Shanghai’s pastries à la mode.

The crookie’s sudden popularity was not lost on her, so she padded around her kitchen until she had come up with a version that she was happy with.

Image via Instagram (@thesukhothaishanghai)

“At first, I thought combining the lightly salted croissant and sweet chocolate chip cookie would be very strange,” she mused. “I hadn’t tried it anywhere else, but decided to do it myself — that first taste gave me a dopamine hit!”

Nevermind calories: replicate Lisa’s experience and feed your brain’s reward centre by getting your crookie from Beans & Grapes, the hotel’s grab-and-go eatery on the second floor.

Cross-sections of each crookie from (top to bottom) Sloppy Gin, SMAKA and The Sukhothai Shanghai

Now, we didn’t get all break out the scales and calipers or get all forensic the way food writer and researcher Saint Cavish did with KFC’s xiaolongbao (IYKYK), but we did have fun scoring the crookies in different areas and indulging our dream of being a judge on The Great British Bake Off.

See results below:

crookie chart

If you were hoping for a review with a bit of sass and slander, sorry to disappoint, but we’re taking the diplomatic route and saying that every crookie was surprising different in its own way.