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NEW FALL FOODS

Forget that Florida temperatures haven't changed much; we still crave those pumpkin-flavored treats this time of year. Must be something about the smell of apple cider and cinnamon in coffee shops and specialty grocery stores that compels us to buy fall flavors. This week, panelists tasted four new seasonal options from some of the most popular snack manufacturers.

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Product Jif Whips Whipped Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Pie Spice Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies Eggo Seasons Waffles With Pumpkin, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Ginger Nabisco Baked Apple & Cinnamon Newtons
Judges' comments We liked Jif's chocolate peanut butter and even the minty one offered during last year's holidays, but the whipped peanut butter with pumpkin pie spice was the hands-down favorite among our judges. "Yum. This has a wonderful, creamy texture and I love the cinnamon flavor," one said. "It would be great on a pumpkin spice waffle." She called it the perfect fall treat. Another said the spread would be "dreamy" on a hot English muffin. One judge said it would be a great peanut butter to add to cookie mixes over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. "It would give the cookies just enough hint of pumpkin spice," she said. Another said he wouldn't need jelly if he slathered this on a slice of whole wheat bread. Pepperidge Farm usually hits the mark with any of its Milano cookies. The cookiemaker did it again with the pumpkin spice option. "I love the color," said one judge, adding that she would love to serve the cookies with a cup of hot tea. "It's just the right pick-me-up for a fall afternoon," she said. Another said he liked the crunch of the cookie. "The orange filling is like icing on a cake," another panelist said. No need for syrup with these new Eggo waffles. Judges raved about the cinnamon and spice flavors as well as the hearty consistency of the waffles. "The slight hint of sweetness and the taste of cinnamon make these a great grab-and-go breakfast or a snack with Jif's new peanut butter," said one taster. Another judge, who doesn't crave sweets, said these were just sugary enough for his taste. "They are very festive looking and tasting," he added. One taster described the waffles as "very autumnal" and said they have a great crunch and great taste. Judges didn't dislike these latest offerings from Nabisco - they just didn't think they were necessary. "Why mess with a classic?" one panelist said. "Fig Newtons already have a fall-like flavor, and they are great." Another said the filling was sweet with a melt-in-your-mouth texture that made for a nice combination. "I might eat these with a tall glass of milk or some English breakfast tea," another said.
Would they buy? All four judges said yes. Two of the four judges said yes. All four judges said yes. Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information $3.31 for a 15-ounce container from Target. $2.89 for a 7-ounce bag from Target. $2.49 for a 9.8-ounce box from Target. $4.29 for a 12-ounce bag from Publix.

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NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Serving size 2 tablespoons 2 cookies 2 waffles 2 cookies
Calories 140 130 210 100
Fat/Fiber 12g / 2g 7g / 0g 9g / 1g 1.5g / 3g
Sugars/Sodium 2g / 95mg 10g / 40mg 6g / 380mg 12g / 105mg
Carbs/Protein 6g / 5g 16g / 1g 29g / 4g 21g / 0g

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PANELISTS: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Rhonda Sanderford, managing principal partner of yes-homes.com. All foods were tasted blind.

SEND SUGGESTIONS FOR PRODUCT TESTING TO: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

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