What happens when a croissant meets and falls in love with a muffin? They get baked in San Francisco by Mr. Holmes Bakehouse and have some absolute DELISH babies called cruffins. This is essentially a spinoff from the cronut that was all the craze last year (if you didn't already know: croissant x donut). I have still yet to try the original cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York (yet), but I'm very content with having cruffins within driving distance.
This, my friends, is the CRUFFIN. My first bite of this Cookies & Cream cruffin already had me head over heels. With every bite, I kept thinking and literally saying out loud, "THIS IS SO GOOD!"
Let's start with the pastry itself - soft, flaky, covered in sugar. They are baked perfectly and won't harden over time, as I've experienced with other cronuts. The part that makes it the BEST is the custard. My oh my, I can probably eat the custard all day long - creamy, not overly sweet, true to the flavors described.
The moment I realized how much I really love Mr. Holmes's custard (really, this is like a relationship!) is when I tried the caramel popcorn flavor. I know I'm in the minority here when I say this: I'm not a big fan of caramel (including salted caramel). I'm not completely against it where I avoid it at all costs, but I wouldn't want big glop of caramel on anything. With that said, I'll admit I was a tad worried when I saw this flavor. Plus, caramel popcorn as a custard? What?
Um, yeah. Mind. Blown. Again, "THIS IS SO GOOD!" There wasn't so much caramel flavor where non-caramel fans would hate it, and there wasn't too little caramel where fans would hate it (I'd assume!) - it was just a happy medium. As you bite into the custard, there's a good hint of popcorn taste, and of course, it is topped off with actual caramel popcorn. Yum!
The most recent flavor I tried was banana chocolate. I love all things banana, with the exception of artificial banana flavors. (You know those Bananarama candies? Who in the world taste tested them and thought, "Exactly how banana tastes like! Let's do it!")
My thoughts on Mr. Holmes' banana chocolate? "THIS IS SO..." ...Yeah, I'm sure you get the picture. I do have to say I was a little thrown off because the flavor update said it was going to be banana cream, which I would've LOVED to try, but banana chocolate did not disappoint!
I also want to share that Mr. Holmes puts in the just the right amount of custard in each cruffin. With a pastry this size (I can't wrap my whole hand around it), it would've been rather disappointing if was just a small squirt of this heavenly custard inside. On the other hand, it isn't too overloaded with custard. (Although, would that really be a bad thing...? Just saying.)
If you're in the Bay Area and are now convinced that you HAVE to try a cruffin from Mr. Holmes (because you totally should!), here my tips after three trips there:
- FLAVORS: Mr. Holmes posts flavor updates every Sunday on Instagram. There are different flavors daily Monday-Friday and the same flavor on Saturday and Sunday. They also list their rotating doughnut flavors, using the same custard recipe, but are different from current cruffin flavors.
- TIME: Cruffins are available to purchase at 9am, but you should arrive early because there is a limited amount and people stand in line for them. According to Yelp reviews, 8:30am seems like the latest time you should get there on weekends. I get there at approximately 8-8:15am because, personally, my thought process has been, if I'm already this committed to getting up early and driving there, I am NOT walking away empty-handed. You may not have to be there as early on the weekdays, but don't take my word for it!
- PARKING: Because it is early in the day, it usually isn't too hard to find street parking nearby. Be sure to pay the meters in advanced, as meters must be fed starting at 9am, which is when the cruffins start. Meter maids DO drive around, so don't risk getting a ticket!
- LINES: There are two lines. Facing the store, the line on the left is the cruffin line and the line on the right is regular bakery line. Go to the left. If you're going with a friend, one of you can hop out of the cruffin line to check out the bakery items.
- STICKERS: About 5-10 minutes prior to the cruffins being available, they start distributing Mr. Holmes stickers to each person in line. It is one sticker per person, so if someone from your party isn't in line during distribution, they're out of luck. However, they give a 5-minute warning before distribution begins so there aren't any surprises. Each sticker allows you to purchase up to TWO cruffins. And you get to keep the sticker.
- PRICE: Each cruffin is $4.50. By default, they will put it in a paper bag. In order to get a Mr. Holmes box, you either pay an extra $1.50 or have a total of six items. Unless you have a party of three and are putting them all in one box, that means you'd have to purchase regular bakery items. Their bakery items are just as good, so you might as well go for it!
- JUST EAT IT: Cruffins are best eaten the day of. You have to refrigerate it overnight because it is custard, which means you'd have to warm it up the next day, and it's just not as good.
BONUS TIP: For a very San Francisco visit, there's a Philz Coffee location within about half a mile. Sip on that mint mojito coffee while you eat that cruffin, and you'll be golden.
EXTRA BONUS TIP: LA - they're coming for you!