Most people go to Starbucks for their daily coffee fix, but I visit in order to feed my addiction to sweets. Their desserts have improved greatly in the past five years and some even stand up to the small-batch treats found at local bakeries. Try one of my five favorites some afternoon when you need some sugar with your caffeine.
5. Pumpkin Scone. It's no secret I've got a fetish for pumpkin-flavored foods, and if I ever assemble a national list of favorites, I will surely include this scone. Its flaky texture suggests the use of high-quality butter, and cutting through this rich flavor are notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Plus, it's iced not once but twice: first with a vanilla glaze, then a pumpkin glaze. Unfortunately, the pumpkin scone is a seasonal specialty, so when you spot it in the fall, stock up appropriately. Pair with: Venti Chai Tea Latte.
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4. Chocolate Chunk Cookie. I've spent a significant portion of my life vetting chocolate chip/chunk cookies, and while Starbucks' version isn't the best I've ever encountered, they're still pretty damn good. Sufficiently moist and studded with semi-sweet chocolate fragments, this oversize cookie almost tastes homemade. Pair with: A Tall "Awake" Hot Tea.
3. Blueberry Oat Bar. With a delicious crumb topping and an ample layer of preserves, the blueberry oat bar is reminiscent of haute English tea pastries. Scottish shortbread lovers will also appreciate the grainy, buttery base, which begs to be lightly dunked in milk tea. Pair with: Tall English Breakfast Tea with 2 percent milk.
2. Marble Pound Cake. My partner is a self-proclaimed non-lover of sweets, with three notable exceptions: pecan pie, carrot cake and Starbucks marble pound cake. This baked good is available in slice as well as mini-loaf form; I recommend the former, which offers more of the moist surface area of the chocolate and vanilla swirl. Pair with: Grande Americano.
1. Salted Caramel Square. OMG, guys. The most recent addition to the Starbucks baked goods line is possibly its MVP. Combining chocolate fudge, caramel, pecans and pretzels(!), the Salted Caramel is further proof the marriage of sweet and savory can produce delicious love children. It's very sweet, chewy and crunchy, and probably not for those with sensitive teeth. Pair with: Venti Steamed Milk.