Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Baker's Corner Blueberry Mini Muffins (Aldi)

If you like the national brand, you'll like these.
I’ve always liked the national brand version of these, but curiously, my favorite flavor (banana nut) doesn’t seem to ever be available at Aldi. (I’m thinking it's a manufacturer thing: there are two major companies that make small muffins and only one makes a banana nut variety, leading me to believe it's the other company that makes Aldi's private label brand.) However, I was in the mood for some small muffins, and also figured our son might like them as something different, so I grabbed me a box.

One thing that I've always hated about these things, even as a kid, are the product counts: in each box, you get twenty total muffins. Okay, that's a bigger deal when it's the name brand and costs over $3, but not so bad at Aldi, where a box retails for $1.99 (effectively making $.10 the cost-per-muffin). However, it's the way they're broken down: five packs of four muffins each. What the shit is that? That has always irked me for two reasons: 1.) Four muffins is a ridiculously small amount; they're gone by the time I even realize I'm eating them, and 2.) This leads to an uneven number of packages. Sure, you could argue that five packs cover a whole school or work week, for those packing them in their lunches, but I've always thought it would make much more sense to do four packs of five each. Maybe that's just me.

Anyway, once you crack a package open, you pretty much know instantly what you're in for, with the candied scent of artificial blueberry overwhelming the senses. This isn't really a drawback for me; in fact, it's entirely what I was expecting, since I ate them as a kid. The muffins themselves are fairly moist, and as the smell would indicate, pack in quite a lot of sweetness and fake fruit flavor. To heighten the illusion of reality, there are also some actual blueberry pieces inside, although I can't say for sure if they add much to the flavor—the muffin itself seems to be saturated with a strong amount of the taste already, and the blueberry I ate on its own didn't seem to have much substance. It's fairly sweet, and will certainly be too much for some, but I think it's a pretty good balance overall.

One thing that I will say—and maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me—but there were a couple muffins in the box that kind of tasted different than the rest. They weren't very sweet, and tasted almost salty, for lack of a better term. Not overly so, but enough that I noticed it occasionally. Maybe it was just a weird batch, or maybe it was just a glitch in my tastebuds, but considering how sweet most of them are, it definitely stood out to me. Thankfully, this only happened a couple of times (and across a couple different packs), so I'll just chalk it up as an anomaly, but it was still a rather bizarre occurrence worth noting.

Even dismissing the weird flavor changes, these still aren't my favorite blueberry muffins in the world, but they're a nice change of pace every once in a while when I get sick of everything else in Aldi's breakfast aisle. And an item that most people accustomed to the name brand will enjoy, especially considering the lower price.

Overall: 6/10. These aren't the greatest blueberry muffins in the world, but they're good enough to satisfy those craving the artificial blueberry taste of mini muffins, especially when the $1.99 price tag is taken into consideration. The muffins are acceptably moist, and pack in a good amount of artificial blueberry flavor without being too sweet or overly fakey. I did notice a couple muffins tasted less sweet than other ones, which might have merely been a weird batch flaw, or a random glitch in my own tastebuds, but it was oddly noticeable the couple of times it happened. Even dismissing the bizarre inconsistency of flavor, at the end of the day, these are decent muffins that I would get again, but not with any regularity or consistency.

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