I recently had my first encounter with McDonald’s Hotcakes and new wooden cutlery. I know they’ve been out here in Canada for over a year, and McD’s regulars will already have had a taste. But I felt a few comments were in order…
Sister Erin is always surprising me with new dining experiences and novel supermarket finds. Imagine my delight to find, on my desk one morning a few days ago, still steaming and redolent of vanilla, an order of McD’s Hotcakes. I’d never had them before. I assumed that they would be either soggy and heavy, stiff and dry, or otherwise not comparable with the real deal.
But I was wrong. They were firm – that’s true – but I would not go as far as to call them rubbery at all. In fact, they seemed to have experienced none of the obvious ills bread products can suffer as a result of improper freezing. The interior texture was airy (though, again, firm). And the slightly crispy amber finish on the top and bottom surfaces was a nice complement.
The generous three-cake order stood up nicely to the stresses of buttering and stacking. I was particularly impressed to find them accompanied by three pats of whipped butter, which further ensured they would not be torn or mushed during dressing.
Expecting another caramelized cane-sugar excuse for syrup, I was again pleasantly surprised. The oversized tub of better-quality faux-maple pancake syrup was accented by vanilla and – I think – a touch of lemon. Unlike other pre-packaged, proportioned pancake syrups, the large tub – equivalent to three regular foil-top resto servings – was more than sufficient to properly irrigate the cakes.
Add to all that the fact that McD’s got the takeout packaging right: Providing enough layers of paper and air insulation to keep the product gently steaming all the way home from the store – a 5 km trip.
My bottom line
I liked these Hotcakes enough to order them again. The three-cake order and the ample portion of ‘better-quality faux-maple’ syrup were just right to for me at breakfast. And I’m still tickled that McD’s even went as far as to provide whipped butter designed to help avoid tearing the cakes while dressing them. They’re just 580 Calories ordered by themselves.
Now, the Big Breakfast – which includes, “A warm biscuit, savory hot sausage, fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy hash browns, and  golden brown hotcakes with a side of real butter and the sweet flavor of maple,” should keep anyone going until supper time.
The BB clocks in at at 1,340 Calories, which is more than half the average adult’s daily recommended calorie intake. But I think, if you’re not planning on a big lunch and a light supper will do, the Big Breakfast can be a valid solution to your day’s meal planning puzzle.
BONUS Review: McD’s New(ish) Wooden Utensls
I can’t let this review go without a separate comment about the new McD’s wooden cutlery, which I encountered for the first time with the Hotcakes.
I like the lightweight wooden utensils, made of fine-grained birch and bearing no rough or overly sharp edges. The serrated-edged knife cuts easily and cleanly through most foods and holds up well under the pressure and stresses of regular use. Likewise, the fork works well, though it could use sharper points on the tynes, to ensure that foods the diner jabs at will be picked up as expected.
One welcome feature of these recyclable/compostable utensils is that they don’t absorb or transfer flavours from one food to another. And they don’t get soggy and floppy like some other paper-based utensils on the market.
Some folks have complained that wooden utensils add their own woody flavour to foods. The Birch seems not to do that. Kudos.
McD’s says adoption of the wooden utensils will eliminate more than 800 metric tons a year of single-use plastic from the landfills annually. Research is ongoing on additional packaging materials and utensils that can be converted to bio-degradables.
My bottom line
I wouldn’t go as far as to say, “take them home and wash them for reuse.” But McD’s new wooden utensiles are a notable improvement over other types of recyclable utensils I’ve tried.
~ Maggie J.