Thursday, October 24, 2013

Baked Goods ... from Walgreens

You may have noticed that I really like baked goods.  I tend to have fairly high standards, and generally only consume baked goods that are baked fresh, considering even day old pastries to be useless.  So why on earth would I try the pre-packaged baked goods from Walgreens?

Well, before Google Shopping Express launched, I was helping test the service.  I was tasked with making lots of small orders from the then fairly limited number of merchants.  Walgreens was one.  After I got my fill of dishwasher detergent, hand soap, shampoo, lotion, and other responsible household items, I decided to have more fun.  I saw they offered baked goods, so I figured they were worth trying out.  I'm sure if I had seen them in person at the store I would have never picked them up.  But online, they looked ... decent?

Looks can be deceiving :) There really is no reason to get any of these, but I did enjoy the fact that I could order a donut online and have it delivered to my doorstep just a few hours later!  While I don't recommend Walgreens baked goods, if you live in the Bay Area, I do really recommend Google Shopping Express, particularly now that they have expanded the merchant selection.  It has made me consider 2 day Amazon Prime way, way too slow!
Blueberry Blast Muffin.
The description was pretty simple: "blasting with blueberry goodness."

Well, this was about what you'd expect from a packaged muffin with a long shelf life.  Since it was in a wrapper it was kinda gummy on top.  It was moist, but not in a fresh way.

The most stand out thing about the muffin was how very sweet it was.  It was much more of a blueberry cake than a muffin.  I'm all for sweets in the morning, but this was indistinguishable from a sweet pound cake, just shaped like a muffin.  Besides being sweet, the base had nothing going on.  No tang, no spicing, nothing.  I wasn't entirely surprised when I looked at the ingredients to see sugar as the first ingredient, even before flour.

It was indeed loaded with blueberries; I was impressed with how many, but they were little tiny wild blueberries, which I never prefer. It reminded me a bit of the Panera blueberry muffin in that way.

The nutrition stats were pretty standard for this sort of baked good - 400 calories, 30g sugar, 22g fat.  Of course, the recommended serving size is 1/2 muffin, which always makes me laugh, because who eats half a muffin?

It was better once I heated it up, and got it a bit crispy, which removed the strange gummy aspect to it.  I also then slathered it in butter.  Salvageable, but certainly not something I'd ever get again.
Jumbo Glazed Honey Bun.
I randomly really crave donuts.  It always makes me laugh when it happens, because I'll go months without thinking about donuts at all, and then suddenly, I need one, stat!

This time, the craving came a day after trying a cronut.  The cronut did not change my world, and instead, just left me craving a simple, glazed donut.  I've tried many from assorted places around town, but really haven't found any that I love.  So, when I had the chance to get the one from Walgreens, I figured it was worth a try.

They make two versions of the "jumbo" honey buns, glazed or iced.  I went for the glazed since it more resembled a classic donut.

It looked even worse than the muffin, super gummy.  I tried a bite at room temperature, and was met with immediate dismay.  It was pretty gross.  Indeed very gummy, kinda soggy, absolutely nothing good about it.

I am notorious for serving most of my baked goods warm, but it has never occurred to me to warm up a donut, even though I love them hot and fresh.  Interestingly, even Walgreens recommend that you serve this heated up.  The packaging is filled with statements like "tastes great warm!" and "microwave for 5-10 seconds!"

So I did, not expecting much change.  Well, technically, I put it in the toaster oven for a few minutes instead of the microwave, because, ew, microwaves.

And ... it transformed! I was shocked.  Sure, I'm a huge advocate of warming things up, and my co-workers are endlessly amused by the fact that I warm up desserts, oatmeal bars, etc, all day long.  I know warm baked goods are better than cold.  But this was a magic transformation, very similar to the cinnamon roll from 7-Eleven (which I totally recommend!).

It was soft, the glaze melted a bit, and it was a warm, sugary, delight.  Was it a fresh baked donut?  No.  Was it downright awful for you?  Um, yes.  It had a crazy long shelf life.  It had a slew of preservatives.  It was horrible for you, in just about every way.  This honey bun clocks in at ... 600 calories! 35 grams of fat.  27 grams sugar.  ZOMG.

I can't say that I recommend this exactly, but I did quite honestly enjoy it once I had it warm.  If there was another one, I'd eat it.  That's all I'm sayin'.
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