Never mind that the leaves haven’t yet started to change or that this July was the hottest month on human record: the second we see that pumpkin spice items have started returning to the shelves, fall has officially begun for us. And while Starbucks brought back their iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte at the end of August, some other companies beat them to the punch.
We took one for the team and pitted them together in head to head matchups so we could tell you which pumpkin products are the biggest palate pleasers and which ones you can leave in the pumpkin patch.
Want to start your day with a little spice? We sampled Nature’s Path Organic Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles, and Thomas’ Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Bagels to see which breakfast treat packs the most punch.
On their own, both have a nice dense texture and a pleasing amount of spice. But when you top the waffles with syrup, the pumpkin taste takes a backseat to the maple flavor.
The bagels, on the other hand, have their flavor enhanced by plain cream cheese: the tartness of the topping actually serves to enhance the spice. In this breakfast battle, the bagels eke out a narrow victory.
Clash of the Cookies
For our second matchup, we compared cookies from some big name companies.
Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies are a classic, so we had to give their Pumpkin Spice iteration a try. Pillsbury Ready To Bake cookies have long been a go-to for people who want to make homemade cookies but don’t have the time or talent. Their Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Flavored Chips are a nice homemade-ish option for holiday parties.
But what flavor reigns supreme? The Milano cookies are rich and subtle: the crisp, lightweight cookie gives way to luxurious dark chocolate that finishes with a cinnamon-forward flavor. The Pillsbury Ready To Bake cookies, on the other hand, are much more straightforward. They are dense and chewy with a well-rounded pumpkin flavor. The slight caramelization around the edges and the silky mouthfeel of the cream cheese chips lend great texture variation.
The Milanos are good, but honestly? We’re not looking for subtlety when it comes to pumpkin flavor. Pillsbury wins this one hands down.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing like a decadent chocolate treat. We tried the Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Caramel Bites by the Chocolate Chocolate Company and the Spiced Pumpkin Pie in Dark Chocolate by Little Secrets.
The Pumpkin Pie Caramel Bites have a lot going on: the creaminess of the milk chocolate melts into a nutmeg and clove-forward pumpkin taste, followed by a salty caramel. The Little Secrets seem more straightforward: the crunchy candy shell and chocolate flavor are reminiscent of M and Ms but they have a satisfying pumpkin pie flavor that builds the more you eat.
This was a close call, but ultimately the Pumpkin Pie Caramel Bites are too confusing. The Little Secrets Chocolate Pieces take the victory.
As the season progresses, we will all undoubtedly be inundated (in a good way) with more and more pumpkin food products, to which we say: bring it! As far as we’re concerned, it should be pumpkin season all year long. Cheers – and leave room for dessert!
About Our Guest Blogger: Kate Wight is a work-from-home mom whose articles and blogs can be found in a variety of of publications centering around interior decorating, entertainment, and all things Halloween. She firmly believes that pumpkin spice should be available all year.