Braving the pancake bites

dunkin pancake bites in bag

A bag full of... something.

We've walked past the posters pitching Dunkin' Donuts "pancake bites" a bunch of times during the last week or so -- and each time, we thought, "Really? Who ever would ever get those?"

Well, today we got an answer: us. Really.

We're not proud of this. Sausage and pancakes are a classic combination. But these things -- manufactured and, uh, ovoid -- just seem so wrong that they needed to be tried.

So we handed over our two bucks for three pancake bites (they're 3 for $1.59, 6 for $3). We think the woman who passed them to us out of the oven couldn't even believe that we were ordering them.

The company says the bites are "a poppable breakfast snack that makes it easy for anyone to savor the delicious pairing of pancakes and sausages any time of day." And it says the bites "continue Dunkin' Donuts' 60-year heritage of offering new and innovative menu options." In this case, innovation is figuring out how to encase chunks of breakfast sausage in "pancake."

dunkin pancake bites

In the best light, they look like croquettes. In the worst, they look like the testicles of some animal have been battered and fried so that the crazy host of a Travel Channel show can eat them.

The bites are surprisingly heavy for their size. The exterior feels like a corn dog. In fact, the whole thing is a lot like a corn dog -- except that corn dogs come on a stick, and any food on a stick is fun. Sadly, the pancake bites don't come on a stick.

They smell like maple syrup, though there isn't much of that flavor. The exterior is slightly crunchy, with a thin layer of fluffiness. As you take a bite the exterior squishes until you meet the sausage center. The interface between the two layers is oddly wet and tastes vaguely of pancake batter that's not cooked all the way. The sausage is unctuous and very mildly spiced. The finish leaves a lingering aftertaste of batter and sausage, with a little grease on the lips. The overall mouth feel says corn dog, but the flavor suggests breakfast.

For their small size, the bites are impressively caloric. Each one clocks in at about 100 calories. About 60 percent of those calories are from fat. Three of them contain 23 percent of the recommended daily sodium intake.

Nutrition aside, we gotta say they're not terrible (we wouldn't say they're good, either). And we didn't have to force ourselves to eat all three. But the flavor is just... flat and greasy. It's probably safe to say these are the last three pancake bites we'll ever eat.

Comments

Thank you so much for your detailed review! I've been dying to get the real scoop on these little guys. Now I'll be sure not to buy them. You guys are the best over at AOA, on a daily basis you comment on the things I'm always wondering about!

I am so glad you wrote about these. They look SO GROSS and I've been wondering.

Ew.

They'll be gone by January, guranteed

Thank you. You have now ended my curiosity and saved me. You really "took one for the team" on this one.

Thank you for warning me! They looked so disgusting. :)

They actually have something similar at Denny's that I ordered after a concert this past summer. I have to say, at 1 a.m. and after many beers, those little things were like deep-fried bits of heaven. Sounds like conditions would have to be the same for me to enjoy the DD bites. Sigh.

Wow, congrats on braving the pancake bites. They look horrible! Yuck...

Yikes. That's even worse than another chain idea of wrapping a breakfast sandwich inside a soggy pancake. :(

As if it's any less disturbing, they DO sell blueberry pancake covered breakfast sausage on a *stick* at Hannaford.
In case you feel like mixing up the color palette of your morning vomit. :D

I braved them as well last week...all in the name of science, of course.

Thank you for articulating everything that is wrong with them much more eloquently than my review to loved ones which was "gah...I mean...just...no...no no no."

Great review, but after paragraph 6 I did a mental Find/Replace on "bites" for "testicles" through the rest of the article. Did that make it better? Only if you think adding "-shark" to the end of any noun makes it better. Which is to say YES. No really, try it. Cloudshark? Check. Doorshark? Check. Toastershark? Check and CHECK.

I'll definitely second the "corndoggy" sentiment...

So, your description had me LOL'ing in my cube...

Also I truly applaud your bravery, but for the love of god, we want AOA to be around for a while, hire some college intern or something for a job like this... We can't bear to lose you AOA editors/writers! :)

Ah! Ahhhh! AHHHHHHH!!!!! *grabs heart* *fans self* *makes the sign of the cross* *cries* (I'm studying to be a dietitian. Welcome to my nightmare).

Well, I will brave the backlash of fellow AOAers and provide the dissenting opinion: I like these little guys.

I think the cornmeal in the "pancake" makes for a heartier and fulfilling taste, but it's sweetness, specifically, reminds you that this ISN'T a corndog.

I asked the cashier if they came with any syrup for dipping; only then did I find out about the "high-tech infusion" of syrup in the little buggers. Expecting disappointment in this equating to a weak "aura de syrup" similar to that found in maple-flavored links, etc, one would get at the grocery store, I was pleasantly surprised to find a noticeable and relatively decent maple flavor ... not quite like having them dipped, but closer so than I would have thought!

All-in-all a very good experience, especially considering (to the pinky-extended gourmet aficionados of my prior-posters) that this is !@#$ DUNKIN DONUTS. Carb Castle. Seriously, if you can stomach anything they serve there, these tasty bites are no worse than what you undoubtedly have already pushed past that gullet of yours.

So before Garçon returns with a dollup of sorbet to cleanse your pallet between courses, pony up the buck-sixty that was too good to give to the homeless guy you so desperately tried to avoid eye-contact with (because, hey, that's why United Way created the "other" box on your yearly one-time philanthropic-grade donation of $10 at the office), and buy a few of these heaven-balls.

They're really not that bad. Promise.

signed,
Ryan O'Sullivan (just kidding)

me

On an almost-related note... I tried the 'croakers' at Capital Q this weekend and they are absolutely great. They look like these Dunkin Donuts things (although their outside 'crust' is not as thick as the pancake exterior of these bites) except they are filled with mashed potatoes, bacon, and cheddar cheese. They are also only 50 cents each, so cheaper than these pancake bites - and delicious!

Your use of the word "unctuous" in describing the sausage really caught my eye. For a second, I tried to puzzle out how a questionable piece of sausage could be, according to Dictionary.com, "characterized by excessive piousness or moralistic fervor, esp. in an affected manner; excessively smooth, suave, or smug." Then, I realized you meant "of the nature of or characteristic of an unguent or ointment; oily; greasy." I can always count on AOA to expand my understanding of the English language.

The one thing I always dislike about foods such as these is the "maple" flavoring. There's always something about it...even just the smell...that almost gags me. I love real maple syrup, but not the flavoring.

I tries them and I concur....they SUCK!!!!

On the other hand, they make a great Pumpkin as well as a Gingerbread Donut.

Thumbs up for the use of unctuous. Those things look like turds in a sack.

You had me at "chunk."

There are NO better doughnuts than Schuyler Bakery. Dunkin' is the Anti-Food

I'd eat it.

p.s. well said, TomK *high five*

Bret's Donuts - Carolina Beach, NC has the best donuts, hands down!!!

I could see embedding sausage in homemade pancakes.

Slice the sausage thin and spread it on each pancake just as the bottom sets in the pan. Then dribble on a bit more batter to cover the sausage and flip.

Alternately, you might just roll the links up burrito style...

Am I the only crazy person who saw that commercial and thought, "yum?" Really? Dang it, I need to reevaluate myself.

I think you folks need to run this type of column on a regular (weekly) basis. There are certainly more than enough bilious concoctions invented by fast-food mad scientists in their "food laboratories" to choose from: Double-Down, McRib, half the Taco Bell menu, etc. The ensuing collective repulsion and commentary is always very funny.

And I agree - Croakers are really tasty!

I agree with -R. That would be fun!

Two thoughts: 1. "Food" like this is why we're such fatties...And Number B: How much weed do you think is smoked daily at the DD test kitchen? Discuss ---

Idea Meeting Somewhere in Dunkintown USA: "Duuuuuuuudes, here's a great idea....Um, I forgot...."

Denny's is offering their version: Pancake Puppies- and for the holiday season they're in Gingerbread.

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