Saturday, September 22, 2012

Eggo Seasons Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Over the last several years, pumpkin growers must have grown increasingly ecstatic over the ever-expanding market for pumpkin flavored seasonal products. From Starbucks to Dunkin' and from pancakes to cosmetics, there's enough pumpkin around to make Linus believe in the Great Pumpkin again. I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin pie, and have enjoyed the pumpkin pancakes at IHOP as well as the occasional pumpkin spice latte, so I'm always eager to try something new along those lines.

Apparently I missed the first in the Eggo Seasons line, which is shocking as I consider myself contractually obligated to to try every S'mores flavored thing out there, even though they are almost always disappointing. While I was somewhat disturbed to see the Pumpkin Spice Eggos in my grocer's freezer before Labor Day, I signed up for a box.

When frozen, they didn't look quite as advertised.
The ingredients were not completely disheartening, with real spices listed and actual pumpkin included, although it was dried pumpkin and not pumpkin puree. Coming out of the box they were less orange in color than I hoped, but they smelled pretty good. While they were toasting, I thought about the flavor of pumpkin and how it might be described. It's a slightly vegetal taste, with warm molasses overtones, and slightly fruitier than its squash compatriots like butternut and acorn. Like those vegetables and also like sweet potatoes, it does very well when paired with cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, brown sugar, etc. I'm sure this all completely obvious, but I wanted to go on record with what I expect from a pumpkin product.

I should say that I'm not the biggest fan of Eggos. Compared to a homemade waffle, they make for a pretty meagre meal and seem to leave you hungry mere minutes later. My son is devoted to the Nutri-Grain variety so I'm grateful to Kellogg's for making something fairly nutritious that he will eat, but I'm never tempted to pop one in the toaster oven for myself while I'm fixing his breakfast.

Now for the anti-climax: I cut into the thing and tasted it straight up, no maple syrup, and...nothing. Not a hint of pumpkin. What there was, however, was ginger. Lots and lots of ginger. Now, for a home baker like me, this is counter-intuitive. Unless it's ginger bread or another ginger-specific product, most recipes (including my go-to pumpkin bread from the Joy Of Cooking), use ginger as a hint to complement the main player, cinnamon. Not here. Kellogg's must have gotten a good deal on ginger because they're tossing it around like salt. Maple syrup helped calm things down a little but the dried pumpkin remained elusive.

Maybe Kellogg's should try pumpkin puree next time - that's what I'm going to use when I make a corrective batch of pumpkin spice waffles.

Availability: Until the end of the season, which will probably be around Halloween when the store aisles begin filling up with Christmas products.


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