If you're in the mood for a pastry and live in an area where all the coffee shops are overrun by hipsters, McDonald's has something special for you. Recently they've introduced their new bakery pastries as part of their McCafe line. And thank god for that, because just last week another cafe was shut down by the health inspector due to its hipster infestation. I'm pleased to report that McDonald's may just have a winner on its hands here.
The Fresh Bakery Tastes have been around in my area for over a year but have recently been introduced to other test markets across the country. Yes, once again, humble Amherst has been home to a test market and I had no idea. Luckily, I was sent a few coupons to try some of the new sweet treats. I thought the most interesting item, as well as the item most likely to be either amazing or horrible, were the vanilla bean scones. A set of three golf-ball sized scones runs you $1.89 and they come in a McCafe bag, doused in vanilla icing and speckled with vanilla bean. A strong aroma of vanilla and surprisingly, buttermilk, wafts from the bag.
The scones, as they are presented in a bag rather than a box, are none too worse for the wear and do not appear to get scuffed while bouncing around. Each has nooks and crannies for the glaze to settle in and they have a homemade lopsidedness which makes them charmingly idiosyncratic. The glaze is sweet but in my case, was applied conservatively and enhanced the base flavor of the scone without making it too sweet, like a more substantial glazed Munchkin. They absorb coffee without falling apart and have a dense, but fluffy texture, making them perfect for popping in the car without worrying about spraying crumbs all over the dashboard.
The flavor is a little mysterious to me. The base is very restrained in terms of sweetness and carries a pungent buttermilk flavor and scent, immediately tasting like a repurposed, albeit delicious moist biscuit without the powdery outer texture. If this is the case, it's tasty and I honestly didn't mind it, but it definitely doesn't remind me of a scone, which has a a much more crumbly texture. However, it's still a delicious breakfast treat and has more to it than the standard one-noted sweetness of the majority of fast food breakfast items. I'm holding out for a bacon and vanilla scone.
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