Last week I was able to fit in a few more tastings of the current pumpkin offerings. Here are the good, the mediocre and the indifferent.
Trader Joe’s This Pumpkin Walks Into a Bar … Cereal Bar
So now onto my experience of this Trader Joe’s pumpkin cereal bar. Thankfully, it is not too sweet. As you bring the bar to your mouth, I noted a delightful cinnamon-ginger aroma. Once on the tongue, I found the flavor more reminiscent of a Fig Newton. The pumpkin flavor is soft and muted to me. This is not surprising given that there is more “apple powder” than pumpkin in them. There is a note of cinnamon in the aftertaste, which I found nice.
This pumpkin product didn’t knock my socks off, but I did enjoy eating them.
Trader Joe’s Organic Frosted Toaster Pastries, Pumpkin
At room temperature, the crust dominated the flavor except for that one bite that comes out of the center. So, what I experienced was a mix of whole wheat crust, a touch of sweetness from the icing, and a center that tasted like a brown sugar cinnamon pastry. Not much pumpkin or pumpkin spice to speak of here.
Now toasted was a different experience altogether. The heat brought out the pumpkin-pie-like flavor so that it partially overrode the brown sugar cinnamon flavor. Not enough for my taste, so I wouldn’t buy these again.
Jell-O Pumpkin Spice Instant Pudding & Pie Filling Mix
I don’t know how they did it, but this tastes just like regular pumpkin pie filling. The texture is a little softer, but that’s it. This one’s a winner.
Here are a couple of creative ideas for using this mix when you need to make a pumpkin pie but don’t have a lot of time:
Quick and Easy Pumpkin Pie #1: Make the pudding and pour into a graham cracker crust. Yep, that’s it. You’re done. For extra pumpkin flavor, you can fold in between 1/4 and 1/2 cup pumpkin puree. And you can top it with Cool Whip or whipped cream.
Quick and Easy Pumpkin Pie #2: Make the pudding. Fold in some Cool Whip or whipped cream (about 2 cups). Pour into a graham cracker crust. Garnish as desired.
Want to spice those recipes up? Instead of using a graham cracker crust, use a ginger snap cookie crust! Crush gingersnaps until you have 1-1/2 cups finely ground crumbs. Stir in 6 Tbsp melted butter. Press mixture into an 8 or 9-inch pie plate and bake at 375° F for 7 minutes. Let cool completely before adding the filling.
Limited Edition Breakfast Belvita, Pumpkin Spice
It did not disappoint. The crackers were lightly seasoned with cinnamon and had a touch of pumpkin flavor, as well. They won’t bowl you over with pumpkin or with spice, but it is a nice change of pace.
Trader Joe’s Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies
In the box, you’ll find two different kinds of these pumpkin spice cookies: creamy white and orange. I’m not sure if it is a trick of the mind or if the coatings actually taste different. I found that the white ones were more vanilla flavored with a touch of pumpkin spice. Whereas, the orange ones had a more spicy flavor.
These cookies would look lovely displayed on a platter for guests to nibble on. And I’m sure kids would love to find them tucked into their lunch pails.
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s
These clever sandwich cookies are both spicy and pumpkin-y at the same time. They were fantastic! My husband and I gobbled them up in record time.
The two cookies create a solid pumpkin shortbread style foundation for the sandwich cookie. The filling is creamy and flavored with a ginger-cinnamon flavored pumpkin spice blend. They have a little bit of kick to them (from the ginger) but they aren’t overpowering either. I think they’d taste great with milk, or even egg nog. Alas, I was chowing down on them too quickly to take the time for such niceties.
Trader Joe’s Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce Made with Pumpkin and Butternut Squash
But then, with each bite, you’ll start to notice the notes of pumpkin. Pumpkin itself has a very mild flavor, so it is often overpowered by other flavors. This is why the tomato is the dominant flavor in this sauce. That said, the pumpkin and butternut squash, which is very similar in flavor, give the sauce a nice thick consistency.
I served Trader Joe’s Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce last night over spaghetti along with Trader Joe’s Party Size Mini Meatballs. Yum! As a side dish, I made garlic cheese bread, which was simple to make.
Quick and Easy Garlic Cheese Bread
Take a slice of garlic loaf bread (we get ours at Ralph’s, but I’ve seen similar loaves in other grocery store bakery sections) and toast it in the toaster, set on light. When it comes out, spread some butter on in. Atop that, place a slice of cheese (in this case I used Muenster). Pop in the microwave long enough to melt the cheese. If you have time, heat it in the oven, it will taste better.
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Waffles
If you’re looking for a waffle infused with pumpkin or pumpkin spice flavor, look elsewhere. These simply tasted like plain multi-grain waffles.
I served them with some of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream, which I reviewed last week, and that helped.
Now don’t get me wrong, the waffles tasted just fine. They just didn’t taste as described on the packaging.