McDonald's is stepping up the fast food wars with a shot aimed squarely at chain coffee shops: they've introduced new bakery items. In the past, stopping at McDonald's for a coffee has been pretty much coffee only, since Mickey D's didn't offer anything other than their pies that would really go with a good cup of joe. That's changed now that there are five new baked goods on the menu. All of them are very good and I can see them appealing to people who want a little something with their coffee - and maybe even tempting people away from the local Starbucks or Dunkie's.
I recently stopped by the local McDonald's and bought one of each of the new bakery items to give them a try. I was impressed.
Multi-Grain Berry Muffins - Moist and delicious, these are topped with mixed whole grains and studded with blueberries and cranberries (whole, not chopped.) There are berries in every bite, which is pretty awesome. I found the muffin tops to be a bit tough, but that's probably due to all those whole grains up there.
Blueberry Muffins are similarly delicious. They're a bit dryer than the Multi-Grain version, but still moist and mouthwatering. They're topped with a brown sugar crumble, and once again there are berries in every bite. I really can't say anything bad about them.
The Cheese Danish is outstanding, with flaky, buttery croissant-like crust wrapped around a sweetened cheese filling. It might be my favorite of the bunch.
Vanilla Bean Mini-Scones - I have mixed feelings about these. I liked the scones themselves; they were like a slightly moister shortbread, with a fantastic vanilla flavor and a tender crumb that practically melts in your mouth.
On the other hand, each of them is covered with an icing glaze, which I really didn't care for (I thought it was over-the-top for such a delicious and simple pastry.) Lynnafred, however, tells me that every American scone she's ever eaten has had icing and that people are going to expect icing on their scones. Fair enough, but still, WTF America? Icing on your scones?
Banana Bread - Moist and scrumptious, with just the right blend of spices to compliment the banana. This was as good as any banana bread I've ever had (except for my stepdaughter Jamie's, which is so good that other sweet quickbreads bow to it and call it Master.)
There is something to keep in mind when you're ordering these treats to go along with your coffee: You are not going to find massive portions here. You know how some bakery and supermarket muffins are so damn big you can feed a family of six with them? That's not going to happen at McDonald's. The muffins are normal sized - that is, about the same size as the muffins you will get from your very own cupcake tins in your kitchen. The mini-scones are about the diameter of a silver dollar (which is why you get three of them.) The banana bread comes to you in a thick slice of about the dimensions of a standard loaf tin. In other words, you get portion sizes that I consider to be just right. It's kind of refreshing, actually, to see a big company like McDonald's making such an obvious effort to be normal. I hope that this portioning is accepted by a public which has been conditioned to think a 20-ounce soft drink is a normal size, that a muffin should be able to fill a shopping bag, and that bagels should be eight inches in diameter.
Anyway, enough ranting. McDonald's bakery items are delicious, and worth a try.