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Taste test: pumpkin cookies

Pumpkin itself isn't really the flavor we crave in our cookies — it's the pumpkin spices that have us longing for fall. We like the warm cinnamon overtones along with the hints of allspice. The trick to good seasonal cookies is to get just the right balance of spice and sugar. This week, our judges sampled four different pumpkin-themed cookies with those flavors in mind.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductPepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milanos Oreo Pumpkin Spice Cremes The Fresh Market Pumpkin Gingersnaps Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix

"These look like the typical Milano cookie but with a fine orange stripe," said one judge who was surprised she liked the flavor so much. "The pumpkin pie spices meld nicely with the chocolate," she said. Another judge said he was not a fan of pumpkin in cookies, but he thought these sandwich cookies would be perfect with a hot cup of coffee. "They are really fresh tasting," said another panelist. Judges allowed that they were suffering from Oreo fatigue with this seasonal cookie, but they didn't hate the blond, orange-filled option. "They aren't bad, I just think there are better cookies out there," said one panelist. "The filling looks a little like kitchen grout." Another said she liked these because she likes Oreos. "They taste the same as all Oreos," she said. "These are 'limited edition' cookies and they should have limited them to one edition," added another judge. Gingersnaps usually have plenty of flavor on their own, so judges were wary of the added pumpkin flavor. But, they were pleased with the size, color, smell, texture and taste. "Turns out, the pumpkin and ginger are a natural pair and these are a hit," said one taster. "I would make mini ice cream sandwiches with these filled with pumpkin pie ice cream," she said. "They are light, crispy and have the precise amount of ginger-sugar ratio," said another panelist. One judge liked the spicy smell of the cookies, saying they were "very fall-ish."We baked these cookies according to package directions and frosted some with Betty Crocker's canned cream cheese frosting. Judges said the cookies were delicious either way. "I love them because they aren't too spicy," said one taster. "They have a nice pumpkin color and flavor," said another. "These would be a good choice at the Christmas cookie exchange party," said a judge who said she likely would serve half of them plain and half of them frosted. "They are super, super sweet," she said. Another agreed, saying, "My eyes are vibrating from the sugar."

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.None of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes. All four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.98 for a 7-ounce bag from Walmart.$2.98 for a 10.7-ounce package from Walmart.$5.99 for a 10-ounce container. $1.98 for a 1-pound pouch of mix from Walmart.

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Kimberly Schroeder, retired nurse and guest taster; and Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeTwo cookiesTwo cookiesFive cookiesTwo cookies
Fat/Fiber7g / 0g7g / 0g6g / 0g1g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium10g / 40mg12g / 80mg10g / 240mg11g / 120mg
Carbs/Protein16g / 1g20g / 0g20g / 1g22g / 1g

Taste test: pumpkin cookies 10/24/16 [Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2016 10:02am]
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