There are a few childhood joys that I vividly remember: snow days, skipping math class, faking a sick day, etc.
You get the idea.
Almost nothing could make me happier as a child than neglecting my education. The only thing that came close was seeing that mom had decided to splurge on Toaster Strudels instead of the unfrosted store brand Pop-Tart knock-offs that she usually bought. You got to frost them yourself! They were virtually fine dining in a toastable format.
It’s been years since I’ve eaten a Toaster Strudel, so I was excited to try Pillsbury’s new Donut Shop Glazed Donut Toaster Strudels. The box promises that they’re “Like a donut, but even better!” That’s a strong statement, but given my childhood affection for the pastries, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, even if it does come from a piece a sentient dough like the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Toasting the strudels for the manufacturer’s recommended 1 to 2 cycles at low to medium heat results nicely browned pastry. Even better is the sizzling sound they make while toasting. I don’t know if these can replicate a true donut flavor, but a little bit of fried taste would go a long way towards convincing me.
I tried to recreate the frosting face from the box, but it got just as messy and disfigured as one might expect. It always frustrated me as a kid that I couldn’t get the frosting to look as lovely as on the box. It’s why I eventually just began to eat the frosting separately… Ok, that’s a lie. I ate the frosting separately because I couldn’t wait for the toaster to pop up. I would’ve failed the marshmallow test.
The first bite doesn’t disappoint. The crust is flaky and crisp, and there is indeed a flavor that’s reminiscent of a donut fresh out of the fryer. There’s a whiff of that weird artificial pastry flavor that frozen baked goods often have, but it’s not overpowering. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go smell a partially defrosted pot pie sometime.)
The filling is strange. It’s plain. I was expecting the filling to deliver the glazed donut flavor if glazed donuts have a flavor besides “sweet,” but it doesn’t. It tastes like a simple vanilla filling. It’s not bad, but it means that these come much closer to replicating a Bavarian cream filled donut than a glazed. I guess I was hoping that Pillsbury food scientists would have somehow distilled the essence of the glazed donut and injected it into the pastry, but I’ll choose a filled over glazed donut any time.
As a child, I ate childish things. When I became a man… I still eat childish things, but now I have to buy them myself instead of having mom do it. These are worth price even if they don’t live up to the promise of providing glazed donut flavor.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry – 170 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 mg milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $2.59
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crisp and flaky crust that gets a bit of fried flavor from the toaster.
Cons: It doesn’t really replicate the flavor of a glazed doughnut. It’s just a Toaster Strudel with vanilla filling.