A Plethora of Halloween Snacks!
Not long ago, I went to Target to pick up a few things for the house. While I was there, I stopped by the Halloween section to see what they had to offer this year. I...may have gotten a little carried away with the a few of the Halloween-themed food they had to offer. I already ran through the Monster Cereals from General Mills but I wish that was all I had to deal with. No, I pretty much picked up a box or bag of something that said "Halloween", "pumpkin", or was colored orange. Believe it or not, I actually took the time to try everything that I got and write out my thoughts. Well, here ya go!
Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts
Pop-Tarts are an amazingly versatile food. Where else can you enjoy flavors like Blueberry, Cinnamon Brown Sugar, Strawberry Lemonade, and Dulce De Leche (besides ice cream, at least)? Pumpkin Pie made its debut in 2010 and this is the first chance I've gotten to try them.
First of all, Pumpkin Pie is the perfect flavor for Pop-Tarts because it has the right texture. The Pop-Tart filling tends to have the consistency of a thick jelly, which helps to avoid dripping and maintain the heat when toasted. Not only does it feel like pumpkin pie when you chew it, it tastes just like pumpkin pie. Not like a homemade pie, mind you, but just like one of those store-bought pies you get around Thansgiving when you have no time to make one yourself. Which is fine; that's what I'm used to. But the flavors are so well balanced. You can taste the cinnamon, the nutmeg, and of course, the pumpkin. Whoever the chemist at Kellogg's is that generated this flavor, they did a magnificent job.
Market Pantry Pumpkin Cereal Bars
Like most cereal bars, these have a soft outside with sweet, creamy filling. The pumpkin flavor of the outer dough is really good, having all of the sweetness of a pumpkin pie but doesn't come off too sweet. These would be a great breakfast substitute as they aren't really a junk food. Granted, they aren't healthy by any means, but they're not intended to be the kind of thing you'd give away to trick-or-treaters. I was a little disappointed by the vanilla-flavored filling. Compared to the pumpkin portion of the cereal bar, the plainness of the vanilla creme just kind of brings down the rest of the package. It's not enough to make me not want them again, but I'll certainly think twice about it before I toss them into my cart.
Market Pantry Pumpkin Cheesecake Sandwiches
These were probably the most surprising. From the picture on the box, I was expecting something along the lines of a Whoopie Pie, with two soft outer cookies and a whipped, creamy filling. But they are nothing like that. In actuality, the cookies are crunchy and taster closer to gingersnaps than to anything pumpkin. But these cookies are awesome. The crunchy cookie is sweet with a little kick of cinnamon to it and the creme center tastes exactly like pumpkin cheesecake. When you bite into the cookie and the creme starts to ooze out of the sides, allowing you to lick all around the edges, scooping up the sweet, sweet goodness... Yeah, these are that good.
Market Pantry Potato Cheese Puffs
I'm having a very hard time pinning these down. They aren't like your standard cheese puff. They're a lot heavier, which is probably why they're hollowed out. The cheese flavor is rich and enjoyable, similar to a lot of the other powdered-cheese goods out there on the market. The taste is similar to a Crunchy Cheeto but...off, slightly. It;s kind of like a puffed Dorito but without the nacho cheese bite at the end. My wife described it like a Frito which I guess is kind of true. There is a bit of the Frito taste in the underlayers. I suppose this has something to do with them being made out of potatoes instead of being a corn product. Anyway, whatever the flavor profile happens to be, they are damn good and worth checking out.
Market Pantry Marshmallow Kettle Corn
It's hard to go wrong with kettle corn. They satisfy two types of junk food cravings, sweet and salty. Market Pantry takes their kettle corn one step further by adding marshmallow to the mix. It's a good combination, but this kettle corn comes up lacking. It has a very weak salt taste to it which is one of the best parts of standard kettle corn. See, the sweet and the salty work together and emphasis the other. I...I can't explain it. The combination just manages to bring out the best of each other. But this kettle corn is all sweet and almost no salty so it's just not the same. Maybe if you poured the bag into a big bowl and sprinkled some salt on it... I guess that could work but if you have to make alterations to your junk food, then maybe you should just buy a different junk food.
Oh, and did you know that Jones makes a line of Halloween-themed sodas? Well, I did, but didn't realize that they brought them back for this year. They come is a four-pack of squat little cans, just enough to quench your taste for some sweet treats without making you feel guilty for only drinking half of it.
Night of Red Licorice
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from a Red Licorice soda. The only licorice I eat is Twizzlers, and that is so far off from real red licorice that it isn't even funny.
Terror of Blood Orange
This one is pretty much just a basic orange soda. It's got a slightly different flavor but for the most part, the orange-ness of it really stands out. It's good, don't get me wrong. But it's really nothing special.
Dawn Of Caramel Apple
Strangely, this one is my favorite of the bunch. On the first sip, your mouth is flooding with the slightly tart taste of apple-flavored soda. As that subsides, however, it is replaced with the creamy taste of caramel, slowing swirling around your palette. It very subtly nuanced, too, so much so that you barely realize the flavor has changed. They blend together really well, almost as well as a real caramel apple. Some people may be put off by a Caramel Apple soda but they should consider opening themselves up to this one. It's really good, especially if you're a soda freak like me.
Posted by Michael Wirth at 8:00 AM