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Bake Shop by Aldi Banana Nut Muffins (Aldi)

At Aldi, there’s almost a sure-fire way for any product to capture my attention: have that red “$ off” sticker on it. Although they’re only ever $1 or $2 off (that I’ve seen), that’s usually enough incentive to get me to try whatever it is that’s being discounted. Often, and rather curiously, it’s one or two items in a box full of similar products that happen to be full price. I assume they’re getting rid of old stock before it expires, but it feels like the equivalent of finding gold during the Gold Rush…it doesn’t happen very often, at least, not at my store.

Well, when that good ol’ red sticker ends up on something I already happen to like…well, that just makes getting it a complete no-brainer. And that’s exactly what happened on a recent shopping trip, when I was able to grab Bake Shop Bakery’s banana nut muffins for a whole dollar off!

I’ve had these a few times before, so I already knew what I was getting into; just based on its appearance, most of you will probably know what to expect, as well. Despite the redundant brand name (“Bake Shop” is a bakery? You don’t say…), these are nowhere near the muffins your mama made for you as a kid. Instead, these are the incredibly fakey, artificial banana flavoring that are used in just about every mass-produced banana bread product on the face of the earth.

And I love them.

You know the taste I’m talking about: almost cloyingly sweet and over-the-top in its delivery. Bananas are, by trade, a sweet fruit to begin with, but these take things to a whole ‘nother level. Your first clue is right when you open the package: you’re likely to be blasted with a whiff of animated banana fragrance that no homemade banana product could ever produce. Hell, just a bushel of bananas in a bag wouldn’t even smell that strong.

But as much as I like the highly-artificial taste, that alone would not be enough to make a lasting impression on me…the texture also has to be good. And, once again, Bake Shop Bakery delivers, making it very obvious that the muffin might just be the only product perfected by food science. These muffins are incredibly moist, and stay that way for a while…even with the $1 off, it took me over a week to eat all four of them, and the last one was every bit as moist and delicious as the first one.

One thing I never understood: why all these dumb banana products have to have nuts on them. I don’t have any serious aversion to nuts (i.e. no allergies or other health-related issues) so I eat them when they’re included in things, but almost all banana-flavored products would still be better without them. It’s like how frozen pasta dishes always seem to have some kind of meat thrown in…it’s an old-fashioned idea that companies just can’t seem to let go of.

Overall: 7/10. They’re as artificial-tasting as the next mass-produced banana nut muffin…but “fake-ass banana” is a flavor that I happen to like. These are really good for similar fans of lab-created flavors, offering up that familiar artificiality within the vessel of a muffin that’s incredibly moist. Biggest drawback: why do all banana-based bread products seem to be required to include nuts? Especially since most (including these) would be better off without them. Still, the base product is good enough to warrant a purchase…assuming you have the same affinity for counterfeit fruit flavors as I do.

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