Pumpkin Vice: Quick Hits

Throughout September I was picking up “Pumpkin Spice” stuff if I saw them in the store, especially if they looked interesting or seemed different. In the process, I may have gotten a little carried away. So, I am going to cram five of them here. It will also clear me to do a special Pumpkin Spice donut investigation this weekend. I know, I know…it will be extremely difficult, so I will have to take one for the team here.

As a preview of the donut edition of Pumpkin Vice, I have already tried Krispy Kreme and Wegmans versions. This weekend, I hope to track down Yum Yum, Dunkin Donuts and Duck Donuts. I will also check to see if Giant, ShopRite or WaWa are offering them up. If there are others you think I should try and within range of my travels this weekend, please let me know. Matthew, I think, will be my travelling companion…all I have to say is Yum Yum and he will be in the car.

Anyway, back to the miscellaneous Pumpkin Spice stuff. Two were REALLY good, one was forgettable, one was “nice try” and one was very unique.

Fall Favorites Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips
So, lets start with the unique one. I can’t really tell the brand of these, but I found them in Giant and seem to be almost a generic brand under Giant called “Fall Favorites”. They were Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips and I REALLY enjoyed these. They were, in fact, made with pumpkin seeds and, in fact, you could see the seed pieces in the chip. And, in fact, they were yummy.

pie-1They were rather thick with a course texture and did have a very strong, well seasoned pumpkin seed flavor. They held up nicely to a thick, chunky salsa (see below) and were tasty with and without it, although I preferred them without. They were, however, extremely salty and found my body craving water and a second dose of my daily blood pressure medication.

The packaging said they did have “pumpkin spice” on them, but I didn’t really taste it. Which leads me to my rating of them. If you remember, the scale is 0-8 pumpkin pie pieces, with 0 basically being cardboard and 8 being my mom’s pumpkin bread. Since this tasted nothing like traditional pumpkin spice or pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread, I have to give them a 1. (Yes, I have a high standard on these things.) However, I would get them again because they were very tasty.

pie-0Fall Favorites Pumpkin Salsa
The second item was Pumpkin Salsa that was made by the same brand that made the chip. Makes sense…they needed to make something to go with the chips. However, this is my “nice try” as I detected absolutely no pumpkin flavor at all. Maybe it had some pumpkin chunks in it, but my guess is that the tomato and and pepper were just too strong for the pumpkin. So, these get a 0 on the pumpkin pie scale. Again, the 0 probably isn’t fair since it wasn’t horrible…It just didn’t taste like pumpkin and I probably won’t buy them again.

pie-2belVita Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Bisquits
I enjoy belVita Breakfast Bisquits, in general, especially the banana bread ones. So, I had high hopes for the Pumpkin Spice version. However, I was disappointed. While they were a nice change from the normal biscuits, the folks at Nabisco seemed to just phone it in with these. The recipe was just your generic pumpkin spice flavor and it made me think that some of these bigger companies must just have a giant vat of some chemical formulation that tastes like pumpkin spice that they just randomly add to different products every fall. There was just nothing special about these. I’ll probably finish the box because they aren’t bad and they are an easy thing to grab on the go (might be a good base prior to the donuts this weekend), but I’ll stick with their banana bread version. These get a 2 on the pumpkin pie scale.

Pumpkin Spice Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Next on the list is Pumpkin Spice Philadelphia Cream Cheese. This stuff is REALLY good. It has a very strong pumpkin flavor in the nice Philadelphia Creme Cheese smoothness. It was almost like getting a pumpkin roll with creme cheese frosting in one bite. As everyone knows, cheese cake is made from cream cheese and that is exactly what this tastes like…A wonderful pumpkin pie cheese cake.

pie-6I tried this on a few things, like the belVita’s I mentioned above (it was interesting), Nilla wafers (YUM!), Thomas’s Pumpkin Spice Bagels (really good and not “too much” pumpkin like you might expect), a plain bagel (eh) and bread (meh). I would not be telling the whole truth if I didn’t admit to taking a spoon full or two by itself. The end result was that other sweet items like the pumpkin spice bagels and the Nilla wafers really enhanced the flavor while it did no favors to more bland things like the bread and plain bagel. Butter and plain creme cheese were better on these, respectively. And the spoonfuls by themselves were a bit too much, so you really did need something to put it on.

So, the Pumpkin Spice Philadelphia Cream Cheese gets a 6…maybe a 6-1/2 on the pumpkin pie piece rating.

Dewey’s Bakery Pumpkin Pie Cookies
Finally, Dewey’s Bakery Pumpkin Pie Cookies. I found these at both Fresh Market and Wegman’s and I want to buy stock in them. These cookies where unlike anything I ever had before. It is weird to call a cookie this, but they were “thick” and soft meaning that it was almost like a cookie that wasn’t cooked all the way through. As I’ve mentioned before, the custard texture of pumpkin pie is what I enjoy about the original the most. Some how, these cookies almost seem to have a custard texture baked into them. They were so satisfying to bite into, but, at the same time, you couldn’t eat too many in one sitting.

pie-8They also had a near perfect pumpkin flavor to them. It was just the right combination of pumpkin and spices. I almost wanted to throw some whip cream on them or dip them in vanilla ice cream. As a result, they get a perfect 8 on the pumpkin pie scale.

I did mention Thomas’s Pumpkin Spice Bagels…I had them a few weeks back and can’t remember them much, so they were pretty forgettable. However, I won’t put them on my scale since I can’t completely remember them. It is worth mentioning that I did finish them over the course of a week, so there is that.

That’s it for now. Look for my review of donuts sometime next week.

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