Limited Edition Pumpkin Themed Eats

I didn’t plan on making a pumpkin themed food post. I was originally going to include the following items in three separate food blog entries: one about a Trader Joe’s haul, one dedicated to the Quest Pumpkin Pie bar, and one about random junk foods I’ve been eating lately. However, I realized that all three items share a common pumpkin theme and they’re also all seasonal, limited edition items. Since these are all time sensitive products, I thought it would make sense to lump them all together and get this post up as soon as possible so people can go out and buy them while they’re still available.

I’m going to start off with my least favorite of the bunch: the Quest Pumpkin Pie Protein Bar.

I wrote a very comprehensive blog entry about several Quest bars a few months back, so this isn’t my first experience with the brand. I know lots of people treat Quest bars as a health food but I’m not especially health conscious. I eat what I want and if a food happens to be healthy then that’s more of a happy coincidence rather than something I intended. I’m simply the type of person who likes eating and trying new foods of all kinds. I’m not a calorie counter and I don’t really care about the ingredients that go into my food. As long as something tastes good, that’s all that matters to me, so the following review is based entirely on taste and not on health benefits. I guess what I’m saying is I treat the Quest bars like regular snack bars and not anything special heath-wise. However, for those of you who do care about what’s in your food, I’ve included the ingredients list for the Pumpkin Pie bar as well as the Nutrition Facts.

Compared to all of the other Quest Bars I’ve tried in the past, the Pumpkin Pie bar has, by far, the toughest and chewiest texture. It’s like a Tootsie Roll in consistency except it doesn’t stick to your teeth. The first time I took a bite, I literally had to gnaw and yank off a piece with my teeth.

Upon opening the wrapper, I was immediately hit with a nutty aroma which I attributed to the palm oil in the product. I don’t know if it’s just me but palm oil, to me, always has a coconut type of fragrance. I had expected cinnamon and spice but all I got was a sweet coconut scent.

Unlike the other bars I tried before, this one has a very lumpy surface and is coated in an ultra sweet, orange colored, firm sugar glaze. I believe the lumps hidden in the glaze are supposed to mimic bits of pie crust. However, if you’re expecting to get the flavor of buttery, homemade pie crust you won’t find it here. The bits of pie crust taste more like the bland crusts of supermarket pies and, unless you’re specifically trying to ferret out the little pie pieces, they’re entirely overwhelmed by the cloying sweetness of the sugar coating. They also don’t add much in the way of texture. If you hunt specifically for the pie pieces, sure, you might notice a bit of a crunch but if you take a normal bite all you’re going to notice is the chewiness.

The rest of the bar is honestly pretty bland and forgettable. I imagine it’s what a Quest bar tastes like before they add any special flavorings, like the bare bones foundation of all Quest bars. I honestly get no cinnamon, pumpkin or any other spice from this Pumpkin Pie bar. It’s very sweet but otherwise pretty plain. Out of all the Quest bars I’ve tried, Pumpkin Pie is definitely my least favorite.

I purchased the Pumpkin Pie bar at GNC where they’re $2.99 a piece but I believe Quest Bars there are always Buy 3 Get 1 Free.

I usually miss out on Oreo’s limited edition offerings or if I do come across one it’s usually something I’m not interested in trying, like the watermelon flavored Oreos from earlier this year (blech!). So when I saw the Pumpkin Spice Oreos sitting on a shelf on my most recent trip to Walmart I knew I had to try them. I’m not even a huge fan of pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice. I just always get caught up in the limited edition hype and frenzy. Same goes for makeup.

First thing I noticed right off the bat is the package of Pumpkin Pie Oreos is a lot smaller than a standard package of Oreos yet they still cost the same. What’s up with that? If I remember correctly, the cookies were $2.98. I don’t know about you but the same price for less product sounds like a ripoff to me.

As for the cookie what you get is a sweet, orange colored spiced filling sandwiched between two vanilla cookies. This isn’t a cookie that tastes like real pumpkin but, to be fair, it does say “Pumpkin Spice” on the packaging and not “Pumpkin & Spice” or “Pumpkin with Spice.”

The spice is entirely in the cream filling and to my taste buds the only spice I can detect is cinnamon. Eating the sweet filling and cookie together in a single bite, it actually tastes like a cinnamon sugar graham cracker in my opinion. I don’t get ginger or cloves or any other spices traditionally found in a pumpkin pie. In fact, cinnamon is the only spice pictured on the packaging so I guess that makes sense.

All in all, the Pumpkin Spice Oreo is a tasty cookie that tastes like a very sweet graham cracker. It’s good but nothing life changing, so don’t feel too bad if you can’t find it.

Aside from pumpkin pie, I’ve never been impressed with pumpkin themed products because they rarely contain any actual pumpkin and even if they do they don’t taste like pumpkin, they taste like spice only. However, this new, limited edition Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter actually tastes like spice with real pumpkin. It is so, so good!

Not to be confused with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter (which I hated and was more like a fruit jelly in consistency) or their whipped Pumpkin Body Butter, the Pumpkin Pie Spice Spice Cookie Butter takes the flavor of their classic Crunchy Cookie Butter and combines it with the yumminess of pumpkin pie filling. (If you’ve never tried Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter it tastes just like Biscoff cookies and the Biscoff cookie spread or gingerbread [Note: not gingersnaps. I used to confuse the names because they sound similar but they’re two very different tasting cookies].) The consistency is rich, thick and creamy (like Nutella) with crunchy bits of gingerbread cookie mixed throughout it.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter Ingredients: Cookies (Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Cane Sugar, Palm Oil, Invert Sugar [Corn], Pumpkin Puree, Organic Pumpkin Powder, Organic Corn Flour, Natural Pumpkin Flavor [Organic Canola Oil, Ethyl Alcohol, Water, Natural Flavor], Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Sea Salt, Organic Caramel Color, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Nutmeg, Annatto [For Color]), Canola Oil, Sugar, Palm Oil, Pumpkin Powder, Whole Milk Powder, Whey Powder (Milk), Natural Pumpkin and Vanilla Flavor (Organic Canola Oil, Natural Flavor, Organic Alcohol), Sunflower Lecithin, Pumpkin Spice (Cinnamon, Ginger [Contains Sulfites], Nutmeg, Allspice, Cloves), Color (Canola Oil, Oleoresin of Paprika, Natural Flavors, Ascorbic Acid [Vitamin C for Freshness]).

I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve ever eaten a pumpkin pie-inspired product that isn’t completely overpowered by spices and actually tastes like real pumpkin, as in the actual squash plant/vegetable. Somehow the cookie butter, pumpkin and spices all come together in perfect harmony and I can easily detect all three elements. Also, unlike the Pumpkin Spice Oreos, cinnamon isn’t the only spice I taste. I definitely get ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. In other words, all the classic pumpkin pie seasonings are accounted for here.

This is quite possibly the most authentic tasting pumpkin pie-inspired product I’ve ever tried and I have to say I really, really like it. If you can find it, I definitely recommend buying a jar. It’ll only set you back $3.69.