Dunkin, in addition to a Pumpkin Latte, has a pumpkin cake doughnut (plus a non-pumpkin orange raised doughnut, pictured in front) and a pumpkin muffin. In the pumpkin cake doughnuts, you do get a good amount of pumpkin flavor; they're sweet, but not too sweet. Frankly, they're much less sugar-intensive than the Starbucks scone, which you'll see later on. The pumpkin muffin can be hard to find; I didn't see it at every store. It's very dense, and weighs you down after a few bites. It has lots of pumpkin flavor, though, and a rich spicy taste, like the Starbucks pumpkin bread. The sugary dusting and frosting on top of the muffin is excessive. It would be much better without it, making the bottom of the muffin actually the best part (sorry, Elaine).
Starbucks Pumpkin Bread
If you do try something at Starbucks, I'd recommend the pumpkin bread. It burst with pumpkin flavor, with a moist, tender crumb, and a gooey top crust. The roasted pumpkin seeds on top didn't add much to the flavor, but they were a cute finishing touch.
Sweet, heavy and dry, the scone is not very interesting—the icing dominates the flavor, and the bland inside has a little hint of cinnamon, but doesn't taste like pumpkin at all.
To go with their annual Pumpkin Spice Latte, Starbucks serves pumpkin bread, scones, and a cream cheese-topped pumpkin muffin. The muffin has a light-to-medium amount of pumpkin flavor, and a good hint of nutmeg, with a fine, moist crumb. But even though the inclination to couple it with a cream cheese icing is a good one, reminiscent of a carrot cake, the implementation is terrible—the stiff, gummy cream cheese might as well have been plastic.
IHOP's Pumpkin Pancakes
Not to be outdone by the coffee specialists, IHOP recently introduced their Pumpkin Pancakes. Though the inside is a bit gummy, and the outside doesn't have any crisp, their pumpkin flavor is fairly strong, and they have a pronounced auburn color. They weren't nearly as good as some of the other pancakes we tried (look forward to a future article), but they certainly did deliver on the pumpkin flavor.
Pumpkin Spice Frozen Yogurt at Red Mango
Serious Eats covered the pumpkin yogurt last year, saying it's indistinguishable from the regular flavor. In all honesty, there is nothing new to report; no complaints about Red Mango’s yogurt, but as far as pumpkin flavor goes, there's none. (In fact, I failed a blind taste test between the pumpkin yogurt and the regular.) If you do get the pumpkin, they offer a graham cracker crumb topping, but you need so much of it to actually taste graham cracker that it makes the yogurt less appealing. It’s hard giving something that tastes so good a bad review, but it really doesn't taste like they suggest it will.
Pumpkin Smoothie at Jamba Juice
It rivals the Starbucks bread in terms of pumpkin flavor, with hints of nutmeg and yogurt. Despite that yogurt, it's quite sweet, not tart like the Red Mango fro-yo, and comes out at the perfect consistency: not too thick to slurp up in a straw, but not so thin you think it's just a regular beverage.