Out of Their Gourds
Slate taste-tests the pumpkin-flavored offerings at Pinkberry, Dunkin Donuts, and other chain eateries.
Starbucks' pumpkin bread was studded with pumpkin seeds—a welcome savory aspect to a taste-test process that, thus far, had been unremittingly sweet. The flavors were actually layered, which I couldn't say for anything else I had tried: the savory seeds led into sweet pumpkin and then, at the end, a hint of spice. This was a foodstuff made for adults, not just children and aspiring diabetics.
The Pumpkin cream-cheese muffin, which has a big dollop of sugary cream cheese frosting right in the center, is like a Twinkie for yuppies. It tasted like pumpkin, and was appropriately moist—so far, so good. But the cream cheese flavor was just overwhelming. Look, it's good frosting, but there's too much of it. If all I wanted was cream cheese, I'd order a bagel.
Final analysis? I can't really recommend any of the frozen desserts that I tried. Starbucks' pumpkin bread is good, and so is Dunkin Donuts' pumpkin muffin, if you want something a little bit sweeter. Really, though, nothing here can compare to a piece of pumpkin pie.
Justin Peters is Slate’s crime correspondent.