I can remember the first time I had my grandmother’s creamy pumpkin mousse. A Weight Watcher’s recipe chalked full of trans fat laden cool whip, cloyingly artificial sweeteners like aspartame, as well as maltodextrin and cheap chemicals up to wazoo, it probably wasn’t actually healthy. I didn’t care at the tender age of 11, though, and I don’t care now. It’s good. Shittockingly awesome good.
Maybe it’s the novelty of pumpkin products which gets me every fall. Unlike chocolate or vanilla, pumpkin is one of those flavors that seems to exist only within a short timeframe of the year. Like the fleeting college football season, there’s an urge to soak it in — rather, devour it, slurp it, or lick it — while its available.
Oh, and is it ever available right now
I haven’t had a Dunkin Donuts Munchkin in years. I have no idea why. Actually, I do. It’s because I hate the smell of Dunkin Donuts and maybe, at best, go in one of their stores two or three times a year. Can you blame me when their donuts are (in my experience) small, relatively expensive, and stale? Well, we were having a book giveaway at the press library during the week and someone brought a bunch on Munchkins. I tried a couple of flavors, but the pumpkin one was the best. By far. A little dry on the inside, but chalk full if cinnamon and ginger, it had the flavor of warming sweetness which makes pumpkin taste like, well pumpkin. The cake dough fit right in with the glaze, and was every bit as good as Einstein Bros. Bagel Poppers.
Speaking of pumpkin donuts, I snagged a box of Entenmann’s pumpkin cake donuts at the store. I can remember eating Entenmann’s ’softie’ donuts as a kid and always going back for seconds, but the skyrocketing prices of their baked goods has made my purchases few and far between. Still, I couldn’t pass these up, and I’m glad I didn’t. They aren’t as distinct in pumpkin flavor as Dunkin’s donut holes, but as a pre-packaged cake donut, you can’t beat them. Sweet and super moist, they have a delicate crumb and a wonderfully sumptuous glaze. I’ll be buying more of these for sure. Brandeating wasn’t so high on these, but I’ve still yet to encounter an Entenmann’s product I didn’t like.
Archer Farms (Target) used to make a Pumpkin Pie yogurt. I thought it was just OK, and lacked the richness and brown sugar sweetness to enhance the earthy flavors of pumpkin, which seems to really hate the addition of artificial sweeteners and their sometimes metallic aftertaste. The same can be said for Yoplait’s new Pumpkin Pie yogurt. It comes across as flat and artificial, with none of the warmth associated with pumpkin, nor richness nor creaminess. I wasn’t a huge fan of it plain, although, with a little whey powder, a whole egg, and some maple syrup (and canned pumpkin) it turns into a warm and frothy dessert kind of deal.
Panera Bread is one of those places I try to avoid. I’m not really sure why. But my father brought back a Pumpkin Bagel from a Panera the other day, then went on a vacation and left it at home. Already a day stale, I decided it would be an injustice to let it go to waste. I was very, very surprised. The strudel topping was excellent, as you’d imagine. Like a coffee cake with crunchy brown sugar and butter bits, the bagel itself has a good chew with interlaced specs of pumpkin “filling” — basically pumpkin with brown sugar and spices. I didn’t get much of the confectionary chips, but I think I liked it better than Einstein’s regular Pumpkin Bagel.
Other items to hit up before the fall ends? Aside from a scoop of Hershey’s Pumpkin ice cream and Turkey Hill’s Pumpkin Pie ice cream, you can sign me up for Einstein’s Pumpkin Scone and yes, even Dairy Queen’s Pumpkin Blizzard. What are your favorite pumpkin treats?