COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Since the 19th century, Americans have had a love affair with doughnuts, and not just the familiar glazed or cake varieties, but also ones with over-the-top decorations and flavors.
A Columbus County man has come up with a confection that has many saying they have switched from eating regular doughnuts and will drive for miles for his sweet desserts made in a small building near the Columbus County Hospital.
"I live in Elizabethtown, and I come here," said Zella Taylor.
When Darel Burney and his daughter, Lauren, decided to open up a Darel's Bakery and Sweets, they wanted to create something new and different. They decided to make deep-fried croissants the centerpiece of their business.
It has been five years since they opened their doors, and business is better than ever. People are in and out every day, and consistently use the drive-thru window requesting the deep-fried croissants.
Croissants have been around since the mid-1800s. They're made by layering butter between the dough and rolling it to create layers.
They were first viewed as a luxury product, but now, there is a National Croissant Day each January.
Croissants are usually baked, but Darel's fries its croissants, and even that is done a little differently from others.
"We have the screen on our fryer," Lauren Burney said. "Some people don't have the screen. So we use that, and some people are constantly turning the croissants while they are in the fryer, but we don't do that."
The croissants are flipped over one time, and it doesn't take long — only about a minute — before they are removed from the fryer, and taken to a table where an ample amount of glazed topping is added to each piece.
They would be good served like that, but they're even better if filled with fruit or cream. Burney says the most popular version is a fried croissant filled with cream cheese.
"To me, the flavor is just a lot better," Taylor said. "I like the flavor of them better than a donut. A donut to me has more of a bread taste to it, where this has more of sweet, fried taste."
Business has grown so much in the past five years that Darel Burney is now placing his deep-fried croissants into some convenience stores.
Doughnuts and deep-fried croissants are not the healthiest food choice, but an urge for something sweet can be satisfied with a deep-fried croissant from Darel's.