Get your pumpkin on
It's that time of the year, where pumpkin treats abound
Starbucks' muffin and scone: Starbucks knows which side its autumnal bread is buttered on. This year the coffee giant's offerings include the pumpkin cream cheese muffin and pumpkin scone. (Michael Zajakowski/Chicago Tribune)
Starbucks' muffin and scone
Starbucks knows which side its autumnal bread is buttered on — the pumpkin side. This year the coffee giant's offerings include the pumpkin cream cheese muffin and pumpkin scone. I have long loved Starbucks' scones(the blueberry is a particular favorite), but the pumpkin scone was extremely disappointing. It's dry and almost flavorless, save for the copious amount of sugary icing that coats the entire pastry.
Personally, I don't enjoy feeling as if I've eaten birthday cake for breakfast. On the other hand, the cream cheese muffin is delicious. The cake is soft and bursting with nutmeg and a hint of ginger, and the topping of candied pumpkin seeds gives a unique crunch. The cream cheese is good, too, and adds needed saltiness to the sweetness of the muffin, but its location in the center of the pastry makes it hard to spread evenly between bites. The muffin is best enjoyed when you can cut it open and evenly disperse the cream cheese.
Nutrition: Muffin: 420 calories, 13 g fat, 230 mg sodium. Scone: 480 calories, 17 g fat, 280 mg sodium
Price: $1.95, $2.25
McGrade: A, C
Like avocado and rice pudding, pumpkin and chocolate should not be mixed, at least not in the way that Dunkin' Donuts is combining flavors.
The new lattes, pumpkin mocha and pumpkin white chocolate, are downright awful. Neither has any sort of true pumpkin pie flavoring, and both have an odd brown sugar aftertaste.
The pumpkin mocha is lip-pursingly bitter and incredibly chalky. The pumpkin white chocolate might be one of the sweetest things I have ever tried, and not in a good way. The drink tasted like liquefied Betty Crocker vanilla frosting and coated my mouth with what felt like granulated sugar.
Take a pass on these drinks, and opt for a regular coffee and a pumpkin doughnut, which tastes similar to Starbucks' cream cheese muffin.
Nutrition: Pumpkin mocha: 190 calories, 0.5 g fat, 115 mg sodium. Pumpkin white chocolate: 190 calories, 0 g fat, 130 mg sodium (based on a small size made with skim milk)
McGrade: D; F
Dairy Queen's Blizzard
Blended with Libby's pumpkin pie mix, pie crust pieces and Dairy Queen vanilla soft serve, the Dairy Queen Pumpkin Pie Blizzard is perfect for an afternoon pumpkin pick-me-up. Thick and filling, the pie crust pieces, which taste like tiny shortbread cookies, add a needed texture to the generally smooth blizzard. With notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, the pumpkin pie flavoring is good, but it might be light for die-hard pumpkin lovers, so ask for extra pumpkin mix. This year Dairy Queen is also offering a Pumpkin Pie Royal Shake, which is bursting with pumpkin pie flavor and topped with whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg.
Nutrition: 590 calories, 20g fat, 380 mg sodium (small size)
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