While tagging along on a Costco outing with a friend, I spotted the store’s version of a Danish ring. They were pull-aparts, tray-baked like the store-bought cheese buns I grew up eating, only round and considerably bigger. They came in a breadth of variety — apple, cherry, pineapple, and blueberry. I bought some and, at first bite, they were everything I wanted them to be. Tall, fluffy, with a well of filling — deep and sprawled across, luxuriously, for even bites throughout. They were, in a word, glorious.
But alas, this love affair was not to last long for me. Because I didn’t — and still don’t — have a Costco membership, I found myself asking friends and family. Any time I heard of someone making a trip, I asked them to look for these pastries for me. Sadly, not long after I discovered them, they mysteriously disappeared from the bakery aisle.
My loved ones came up empty for weeks. Then, out of nowhere, I started getting reports of a different style of danish on the Costco racks. Individual, shallow rounds of clearly viennoisserie pastry with fillings spread in a wide pool across its surface. There was some similarity to the pull-aparts; there was still a drizzle of confectioners’ sugar glaze white-striping across the surface of the cherry and cheese flavors, but the differences between this new iteration and their previous one were far more marked.
They looked much drier with their obvious flakiness, their harder bake in their flatter, wider, snack plate-sized forms. Gone were the soft, squishy edges from fused pastries that I loved. No more were the variety packs that were a boon to non-committal pastry fans like me. The almond version introduced a snowy blanket of confectioners’ sugar and toasted slivers of nuts. On top of that, they were also considerably more expensive than their predecessor, which came in trays of six for $4.99 — around half the cost of this new option.
Affronted, I resisted out of sheer stubbornness and frugality for some time. But the more people told me about them, the more I wondered. Were these twice the price because they were twice as good? What if the almond one was an almond paste filling, and not just almond-topped? And what if the new diameter meant more cheese than any other mass-produced cheese pastry on the market? I had a friend pick up the cheese and the almond options and got to tasting.
Costco Kirkland Signature Almond Danishes, $9.99 for 2 (4-packs) of Danishes
Laminated with flaky pastry layers, there was a beautiful crunch to my first bite. Beneath this outer layer, the inside was delectably delicate and moist, soft as it gave way to my teeth. It wasn’t plush, fluffy, and cotton-candy-threaded like the pull-aparts, but it certainly wasn’t dry as I’d expected, nor hard. Instead, it was buttery, the dough airy and compressing pleasantly, and more luxurious in its greater fragility. And the filling! Perfectly sweetened, thick, and generously distributed across the danish without making it soggy, it was everything a great cheese danish ought to be.
The almond one was the standout. Soft, crumbling paste of marzipan sweetness flooded my tongue, and the almond slivers baked onto the top offered a toasty note that warmed me up from the outside in. In one taste, all was forgiven.
I’ve decided to give Costco a pass for discontinuing the original pastries I had fallen in love with. I’m still not a Costco member, so I’m still constantly asking friends and family to track these down. I’ll Venmo them the money. I’ll buy them a fancy coffee. I’ll do whatever it takes, as long as I can get my hands on a box.
What’s your favorite item to buy from Costo’s bakery? Tell us in the comments.