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The 15 worst pumpkin-spice–flavored treats

It’s time for the annual rollout of pumpkin treats, from lattes to doughnuts—here are the grossest pumpkin-flavored goodies currently found in NYC

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

15. Trader Joe’s pumpkin-spice granola cereal

We'll kick off our roundup with this seemingly innocent granola. It's the most inoffensive foodstuff on offer, because its allegiance to pumpkin is iffy at best. These crunchy clusters provide just enough stereotypically autumnal flavors to ease into the season without making you want to smash a pumpkin over your skull.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

14. Nice! Pumpkin cheesecake cookies

These are neither pumpkin nor cheesecake, but as crunchy, gingery cookies filled with sweet cream, you could do much worse (see: pumpkin Oreos).

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

13. Trader Joe’s This Pumpkin Walks Into a Bar cereal bars

Does anyone actually like Fig Newtons? You do? Well then you’ll like these, because they’re basically elongated, bastardized versions of those snack bars, with a “pumpkin” filling that could just as easily moonlight as fig or apple. Impostor!

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

12. Starbucks pumpkin bread

Every fall lover thinks they have the best pumpkin-bread recipe. Sorry to burst your bubble, but they all taste exactly the same, and they all taste exactly like this: firmly packed, belly-bomb heavy, reasonably moist and packed with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and more freaking nutmeg. 

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

11. Dunkin Donuts pumpkin-glazed cake doughnut

Marginally better than its cream-crammed cousin—this one at least has a whopping 2 percent pumpkin—the simpler cake doughnut wisely forgoes gloopy frosting for a thin sheen of crackly sugar glaze. Grab it in munchkin form for a less diabetes-inducing doughnut-to-glaze ratio.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

10. Starbucks pumpkin-spice latte

In the grand scheme of pumpkiny things, the polarizing OG of pumpkin-spice season isn’t all that terrible, despite its alarmingly unearthly hue. The nose is pleasantly nutmeg-filled, the texture coffee-creamer rich and the drink itself has a narcotics-level addictiveness. We kind of get the craze now—kind of.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

9. Trader Joe’s pumpkin mochi ice cream

Categorize these babies under “things that do not need to exist in reality”: chewy, soft mocha skins wrapped around spheres of pumpkin ice cream. Yeah, we’re just going to blame the hipsters for this one.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

8. Dunkin Donuts pumpkin-pie doughnut

Holy frosting, Batman. This thing is crammed with it, from the overly sweet baby-food goo injected inside the doughnut to the standard-issue vanilla icing on top, inexplicably dusted with graham-cracker crumbles that taste like old-man cereal. And to no one’s surprise, pumpkin doesn’t even make it on the ingredient list, only the ever-vague “spices.” Somewhere, your pie-baking Great Aunt Betty is rolling in her grave.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

7. Pepperidge Farm pumpkin-cheesecake cookies

Remember when we all used to eat Play-Doh as a kid? (Shut up, you know you did). This is exactly like that, only no one will yell at you for swallowing it.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

6. Dunkin Donuts pumpkin crème-brûlée coffee

This is technically coffee, in that it’s a caffeinated beverage derived from roasted coffee beans. But really, this is an excuse to dump gallons upon gallons of artery-clogging flavored syrup to mask watered-down crap coffee. We’re onto you, Dunkin.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

5. Trader Joe’s iced pumpkin scone cookies

No. 1: You’re not a scone—you’re just a glazed spaceship-shape cake cookie, so stop fooling yourself. No. 2: You are not even remotely pumpkin-flavored. You are ginger-gone-Hulk, with a heady spiced bite leagues worse than your bark.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

4. Blue Marble Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Why does this taste like sushi rice? How could pumpkin-pie ice cream possibly end up tasting like sushi rice? If even the scoop masters behind Blue Marble can’t figure this spicy-sweet shit out, there’s no hope for anything ever.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

3. Pumpkin-spice Oreos

We're nearing the home stretch now, and at No. 3 we have an unfortunate seasonal flavor of Oreos. The color of the filling is truly horrific, more orange than Snooki’s entire brood, and the smell is one part seasonal Yankee candle, one part “Attention! There’s a spice spill in aisle five.” But the cookie reveals itself to be nothing more than a gourd-colored Golden Oreo, so sugary you’ll believe cavities have instantly erected from your teeth a la stalagmites. Your dentist will be thrilled.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

2. Chobani limited-batch pumpkin-spice Greek yogurt

Vying for the top spot at No. 2 is this yogurt catastrophe. The pumpkin-spice fever pitch has hit fermented dairy—and thank the sweet heavens this abomination is only in limited batches. The yogurt’s tang overshadows any real pumpkin flavor, leaving only stale-tasting traces of nutmeg and cinnamon. And if that doesn’t turn you off, the jiggle will. Oh lord, the jiggle.

 (Photograph: Lauren Spinelli)
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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

1. Pumpkin-spice Hershey Kisses

This is what evil tastes like.

That's all folks! Pumpkin-spice season will hopefully pass just as quickly as it came and will usher in an even more dreadful seasonal flavor: gingerbread. Blech.

Let us blow your mind: Pumpkin doesn’t taste like pumpkin, at least, not the pumpkin that supermarket shelves and coffeeshop conglomerates are selling you. Instead, the saccharine desserts, coffees and snacks billed as “pumpkin-flavored” this fall—and just in time for Halloween—are really just spiced with cinnamon, cloves and crushed souls. Before you go off on your own to pumpkin-pick at the grocery store, we’ve come up with a handy list to ward you from the grossest goodies of pumpkin-spice season. Are you ready to count down pumpkin "treats" in our slideshow below, from the merely bad to the truly obnoxious? Here we go!

Comments

1 comments
Hannah C
Hannah C

Should've added Pumpkin Pie Soda to the list--that stuff tastes like toothpaste.