Can't Get Your Hands on a Cronut? Make These Crazy Hybrid Desserts Instead

Cupcakes are old news. The newest sugary sensation to sweep our fair city is the Cronut -- the croissant-doughnut hybrid created by Dominque Ansel at his SoHo bakery last month. With production of the pastry limited to 300 a day, Cronut mania has created long lines and even given rise to a seedy underworld of Cronut scalping. As executive food director Lucinda Scala Quinn says, "It just shows, if you're clever you can cook up the next cupcake."

No time to wait in line? Try one of these other delectable dessert hybrids instead.

Potato Chip Cookies

Call it a chookie if you like; this crunchy, chewy, buttery, salty-sweet treat satisfies every last corner of your palate.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
4 cups coarsely crushed salted potato chips (from a 7-ounce bag), divided
1 cup pecans (3 3/4 ounces), toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat together butter and sugars with a mixer on high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat on medium speed until just combined.

2. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in 2 cups potato chips and the nuts.

3. Roll dough into balls using 1/4 c dough per ball, and then roll balls in remaining potato chips to coat. Place cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden, 18 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet.

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Cannoli Cones

When a fried cannoli shell just seems too formal (or sounds like too much work!), sugar cones fit the bill perfectly.

1 pound ricotta cheese
10 sugar cones
4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted
3 tablespoons finely chopped salted, roasted pistachios
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons Marsala wine
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied orange peel
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1. Place ricotta in a fine sieve set over a bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until drained, at least 2 hours or overnight.

2. Break off a portion of the top of each cone to create a 1 1/2-inch-deep arc on 1 side. Holding each cone at an angle, dip about 1/4 inch of rim into melted chocolate, and immediately sprinkle with pistachios, reserving some for garnish. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet, broken side up. Refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes.

3. Mix together ricotta, sugar, wine, and vanilla seeds. Mix in orange peel and chocolate chips.

4. Transfer ricotta filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip. Pipe filling into cones. Sprinkle with reserved pistachios. Serve immediately.

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Coconut-Key Lime Pie

What's your favorite kind of pie, coconut cream or Key lime? We couldn't decide either, so this pie rolls the flavors of both into every creamy, tangy bite.

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice
7 large egg yolks
1 Easy Press-In Pie Crust, made with graham crackers
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together condensed milk, coconut milk, lime juice, and egg yolks until smooth. Pour into crust and bake until set but still slightly wobbly in center, 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, then refrigerate 3 hours (or up to 1 day).

2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. To serve, top pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Related: 35 Beyond Delicious No-Bake Dessert Recipes

Chocolate-Caramel Doughnut Holes

If a Rolo aspired to be a breakfast food, these caramel-filled chocolate doughnut bites would be its dream come true.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup sugar, plus more for coating
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
28 to 30 store-bought soft caramel squares, unwrapped
5 to 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, butter, and eggs until thoroughly combined. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until a smooth dough forms.

2. On a lightly floured work surface, pat dough flat and lightly flour. Roll out dough to a 1/3-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter (to lift rounds from work surface, use a thin spatula). Reroll and cut scraps.

3. Place a caramel in the center of each round, pinch dough closed around it, and gently roll into a smooth ball.

4. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Fill a wide shallow bowl with 1 inch sugar. In a large heavy pot, heat 4 inches oil until it registers 350 degrees on a candy thermometer. In batches of 4, fry doughnuts 5 minutes, turning once with a slotted spoon and adjusting heat as needed. Transfer doughnuts to prepared sheet; let rest 4 minutes. Roll in sugar to coat. Serve immediately.

Chewy Caramel Popcorn and Pretzel Bars

These bars take their inspiration from both Cracker Jacks and Rice Krispies treats. Marshmallows add chew and caramel adds richness to the squarely delectable snacks.

Nonstick cooking spray
12 cups plain popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernels or 2 microwave packages)
4 cups coarsely chopped small salted pretzels (7.5 ounces)
2 cups sugar
Coarse salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups miniature marshmallows

1. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together popcorn and pretzels. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium-high. Boil, undisturbed, until mixture is amber in color, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and slowly pour in cream (mixture will sputter). Immediately add marshmallows; stir until melted.

2. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pretzels and quickly stir with a rubber spatula to coat. Transfer mixture to dish and use a piece of plastic wrap coated with cooking spray to press evenly into dish. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Let cool completely before cutting into 12 bars.

Croissant Pudding

Croissants aren't just posing as doughnuts these days, they're also standing in for ordinary bread in homey desserts like this one.

Butter, for baking dish
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound plain croissants (about 4), torn into large pieces
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly butter a small oval (or other shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart) baking dish; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, milk, and salt until combined. Add croissants; toss to coat. Let sit, turning occasionally, until they have absorbed some of the liquid, about 10 minutes. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish; smooth top with a spatula. Scatter with almonds.

3. Bake until pudding has puffed up and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving with whipped cream, if desired.

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