Costco Bakery Items That Sadly Disappeared
There are numerous benefits to being a Costco member. The gas, the meat, bulk bags of your favorite chips, boxes of diapers for your little one, and colossal packs of paper products basically ensure you won't have to buy another roll of paper towels for the next two years. But it is perhaps the Costco bakery that stands out as being the most delicious and mouth-watering perk of them all.
From its beloved muffins to its apple strudels, dusted sugar cookies to savory breads and sheet cakes that can feed a crowd, Costco's bakery puts out a variety of fresh-baked decadent treats daily. Shoppers can't help but be drawn to the smell coming from the active ovens, of course, and fill their carts with one (or a few!) of the sweet-smelling products. They take them home, eat them (potentially too quickly), and before they know it, they are headed back to the warehouse, eager to load up on more of their new bakery favorite. But what happens when that same shopper gets to the bakery aisle to find that the product they have fallen in love with is nowhere to be found? Melancholy, that's what. Here are some of the most notable Costco bakery items that sadly disappeared.
2020 was, for many, a year of horrors. Between COVID-19 rearing its ugly head, the stock market crashing, fires raging in Australia, and near global-scale social and economic unrest, the world as many knew it was unrecognizable. But hey — there was always joy to be found at Costco. Slicing into one of its bakery regulars, the All-American Chocolate Cake, brought instant jubilation to stressed-out, frazzled customers just trying to make it through one of the worst years of their lives. Except ... wait a minute. Where was the chocolate cake?!
It wasn't just the toilet paper shelves that were cleared out during the year of worsts; it was the aisle in Costco that had for years housed the very popular All-American Chocolate Cake. Without warning, the delectable fudgy creation was canceled and gone from all bakeries by early 2020. Despite efforts by avid fans in the form of a Change.org petition which racked up over 8,000 signatures, the cake has not returned. Multiple reasons were proposed for this — such as the sudden need for social distancing creating less of a reason for consumers to purchase a giant cake fit for a gathering — but whatever the cause, the fact remains that it is gone. The All-American Chocolate Cake must live on only in the memories of those who mourn its rich, moreish presence.
When it comes to the ultimate American cookie, chocolate chip takes first prize. It's hard to make a case that there's anything better than a crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside morsel with oozing chocolate chips in every bite — but a chocolate chunk cookie with even larger hunks of chocolate and warm, toasted walnuts for extra crunch? Case made.
For a short, but magical time in 2017, the heavenly wafting of roasting walnuts and chocolatey dough filled the air in the Costco Warehouse every time a specific batch of appetizing cookies was baking away in its ovens. The Chocolate Chunk Toasted Walnut Cookie graced the world with its presence for a stint in 2017 before being booted, leaving many customers with their mouths watering and their minds wondering. "Any bakery employees know when the large Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies will return?" was the title of one questioning Reddit post within the company's subreddit. No one knew the answer — including one user who was a Costco bakery employee. This employee commented that even those working in the department are not usually informed about when — or if — an item will return until a day or two before it happens, making the comeback of a vanished favorite very difficult to predict.
Alas, it seems, permission for the return of the nutty chocolate delights never came down the pipeline. Despite a Change.org petition, the Chocolate Chunk Toasted Walnut Cookies seem to be a sweet-smelling thing of the past.
The torta, a Mexican sandwich usually layered with meat, cheese, tomato, sauces, lettuce, avocado, crema, and other condiments, is made perfect by the delectable soft roll which encases its delicious assortment of fillings. The bread used for these popular Mexican sandwiches became the inspiration for the Costco bakery's Torta Rolls, and as the name suggests, they were made to be excellent vessels for a lunchtime panini or a turkey and cheese. They were also good toasted, spread with butter, and topped with a fried egg at breakfast time. Their multifaceted uses made Torta Rolls a well-loved, consistent staple of the bakery department, finding their way onto many a shopper's weekly grocery list.
But around five years ago, things took a turn. The Torta Rolls were suddenly absent come grocery day, and a new pack of bread sat in its place. The Kirkland Signature Artisan Rolls had moved in, replacing the Torta Rolls in a sudden move that confused many consumers. "I loved the torta rolls ... was annoyed to find they had switched," said one user on Reddit under a post titled "Costco Torta Rolls GONE." What made this national bread swap even more interesting was that, in some regions, the replacement rolls seemed to have been labeled as ciabatta instead of artisan, suggesting that bread preference and popularity as it relates to sales is highly regional.
Garlic bread became a staple in the United States in the 1970s, reaching far and wide as a popular appetizer in American Italian restaurants. Butter or olive oil mixed with Italian herbs like oregano, parsley, and (of course) garlic, is spread between a sliced loaf and baked, creating a tasty accompaniment to any meal. So, when Costco's bakery department put out its own take on the classic — a Roasted Garlic Parmesan Bread — you better believe it was whisked away quickly by buyers. Unfortunately for fans of this Kirkland creation, there was no way to know that their purchase four years ago would be their last until it was too late.
"The BEST bread ever," praised one poster on Reddit before going on to ask if it was ever to come back since the loaves had rapidly and without warning vanished from the shelves of their local warehouse. Another user who worked as a Costco bakery employee responded, confirming that while Costco was still selling its also-popular Rosemary Parmesan loaf, the garlic one had been put on red-light status from corporate. He encouraged the original poster to continue submitting customer feedback forms since the bakery department was receiving requests daily from hopeful, despondent shoppers searching for the missing buttery bread. It seems, however, that the 'okay' for the bakers never came. This parmesan-sprinkled masterpiece may never again accompany our lasagna at the kitchen table, and it is straight-up sad.
Oh, Costco muffins. Arguably the most prominent item that the retailer's bakery department puts out, these extra-large treats are available for purchase in packs of two per company policy. Before the days of the required two-pack muffin purchase, there was a different option for shoppers — one that perhaps only the original, old-school Costco members will remember. They were the days of the muffin variety pack.
That's right. Once upon a time, a colossal 12-pack including four of each of three different flavors of monstrous muffins used to be packaged on one big cardboard sheet, and covered in plastic wrap for consumer purchase. Many Reddit users in the Costco subreddit reminisce fondly about the variety pack, relating it back to sweet childhood breakfast memories. However, another user — one who worked in the bakery during the years of dozen muffin packaging — praised its removal for one simple reason: the horrendous pain that was wrapping them up. The use of the wrapping machine, he claimed, was a nightmare.
Regardless if you prefer the new-style hard plastic containers or the old-fashioned plastic-wrapped variety packs, there is something we can all agree is to be missed; getting three Costco muffin flavors in one, instead of the solely single flavor packs offered now, was an undeniable treasure.
There's something about both Valentine's Day and Mother's Day which seem to prompt nearly all bakeries to produce a special something sweet for the lovers, moms, and other important people in their customers' lives. Costco's bakery hopped on the bandwagon, as well, for years preparing seasonal packs of Half-Iced Shortbread Cookies for the love-centric holidays. They were aesthetically pleasing — being adorably heart-shaped, and dipped halfway in either chocolate or vanilla icing — but also tasted as good as they looked, making for a lovely little treat perfectly worthy of the number ones in your life on a noteworthy day.
But around three years ago the cookies didn't show up at any of the usual holidays, prompting loyal fans to take to Costco's subreddit seeking an answer as to where the seasonal delights had gone. On one Reddit post titled, "The last couple years ... Costco bakery sold half-iced shortbread cookies. Any idea if they're ever coming back?", two different bakery employees hopped on to comment, and confirmed the original poster's fears. The shortbread cookies had been discontinued, and replaced by a new seasonal pick, red and pink sugar cookies. One of the employee posters claimed that labor had been the primary motivator for the cancellation, but whatever the reason, the fact remains that the Half-Iced Shortbread Cookies can no longer be included in your Valentine's Day surprise or your Valentine's gift to yourself. Quite frankly, our taste buds are bummed.
In April 2022, there was a celebration in the streets — or should we say, in the aisles of Costco Warehouse. This was because the much-missed, highly coveted Almond Poppy Seed Muffin had returned to the bakery shelves after a multi-year absence, bringing joy and jubilation to many a deprived customer. And as incredible as it was for those who had considered the almondy, seedy pastries their favorite discontinued bakery item, there were handfuls of customers who secretly wished it had been another poppy seed take that had been brought back to life.
This was the case for the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin fans on that day in 2022. Sure, Costco had brought back something poppy seed, but it was not the nostalgic, texturally perfect hint-of-lemon muffin with the delightful seedy crunch they were hoping for. According to users on a Costco's subreddit post, the lemon poppy seed was the original recipe for Costco's poppy seed muffins back in the days of the variety pack, and was eventually replaced by the almond version. Some reflect positively on the change, declaring the almond superior, while others — including a Lemon Poppy Seed superfan who started a Change.org petition to bring back the old version — claim the almond is just not the same. Whichever way your preference falls, the Almond Poppy Seed Muffin is what we will all have to settle for — at least for the time being.
Ahh, the croissant. We think of it as being a French invention, but the pastry's origins are actually found in Austria. It was originally called kipferl, which is German for — you guessed it — crescent. After an Austrian brought the kipferl to Paris, the French took the idea, and applied changes to make it their own, swapping brioche for puff pastry to create that signature, light and flaky texture the world recognizes.
While perhaps not on the same level as France and Austria, Costco created its own original croissant, as well — one which became very popular among buyers. For years, the Kirkland croissants were round, a shape that made them ideal for sandwich construction. But in 2020, Costco changed to a new croissant recipe which produced a brand-new puff pastry — not only in taste, but in looks, as well. The new croissants were straight instead of round, an adaptation that left consumers torn. On the one hand, a bakery employee in Costco's subreddit praised the new recipe's superiority. It called for more butter, he ensured, making the resulting croissant much more authentic. Still, there remained plenty of skeptics on the post. "...I liked them better when they were round," said one user. Another chimed in with, "They were the right shape for sandwiches when they were round. WHY did they change them?" Better recipe or not, there are enough consumers out there missing the original to give the old round version credence.
There have been a number of muffin flavors come and go over the years at the Costco bakery, but oftentimes a lost recipe will at the very least pop back into the picture every so often, and give consumers a burst of excitement. Coffee Cake, for example, was a beloved flavor that disappeared but was brought back into the lineup, albeit irregularly, and depending heavily on location. However, there is one edible treasure that seems to be truly gone, remembered only from the olden days of the muffin variety pack. Tucked within the flavor combo alongside chocolate and blueberry had been a Banana Nut Muffin.
That's right. The sweetness of banana and the crunch of chopped nuts combined to create the most perfect breakfast treat fit to be enjoyed with one's daily cup of black coffee. Redditors communally reminisced in the Costco subreddit featuring a rare photo of the variety pack of old, in which the Banana Nuts were on display in full color. "Aww man I miss the banana nut muffins. Haven't seen that flavor in years," one user commented. Another responded with, "Costco's banana nut muffins were my FAVORITE. I was so sad when they discontinued it." We can practically hear the despondency in their virtual voices. Who knows? Maybe someday the gone-but-not-forgotten nutty, banana-forward recipe will be brought back, and mixed in the Costco bakery again. We can hope, anyway.
A delightful snack can be found in parmesan crisps. Baked until chip-like in texture, the crunchy bites are made up almost solely of small heaps of freshly grated parmesan cheese, combined with herbs or seasonings of choice. They are unquestionably delicious — and given Costco's proclivity for producing delicious things in its bakery, it's no wonder that the company played its hand in developing a version of the popularized savory treats.
Parmesan Crisps were made for only a short stint of time, but were apparently impactfully tasty. One user on Reddit named them as the top product they wished was still around in a post titled, "What discontinued item do you miss the most?" They explained that they only remembered seeing the crisps out for a few months, and speculated as to whether or not the Kirkland product interfered with the Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps contract — an item also sold at Costco. Whatever the reason, the snack's exit from the bakery appears to have been abrupt. Another bakery employee on the same post commented that they had just begun making them at their location when they were asked very quickly to stop. After that, the trail — or should we say, the oven preheated for baking cheese crisps — seems to go cold. The Parmesan Crisps remain a distant memory for those very few members who were lucky enough to snag a crunchy bag-full before they vanished.
Occasionally, instead of eliminating a product from the bakery lineup, Costco will change a recipe or baking method. This comes with bittersweet results, as loyal customers who have grown attached to a product often find the changes hard to accept. When Costco's danishes, for example, were switched from cheese to almond-flavored, it caused a stir among consumers who seemed split on whether or not the change was a good one (via Reddit).
One product alteration that seems to be universally agreed upon as being negative, though, is that of Kirkland's French Bread. A few years ago, shoppers noted that the loaf was ... different. In a Costco subreddit post titled "Costco changed their French bread ... the new one is terrible," the poster described the updated loaves as being bland, missing a soft center, and too crispy once toasted. "I want my old bread back," one Redditor said with a crying emoji tacked on for emphasis. Another user on a different post within the same subreddit called the new loaves "garbage."
In the first mentioned post above, a bakery employee shed some light on the subject — admitting that the dough was now brought in frozen. "We've turned from a bakery to a heat and serve," he lamented. While the new adaptation to French Bread has remained unchanged despite customer disapproval, we refuse to give up hope that one day the smell of from-scratch baking French Bread might drift through the aisles of Costco once more.———————————————————————————