Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hy-Vee's pumpkin whoopie pie drops some whoop ass on Panera's pumpkin muffie

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM

This is not a whoopie pie that should be taken lightly.
  • This is not a whoopie pie that should be taken lightly.

You can't really go outside without bumping into a pumpkin-flavored menu item this time of year. Dunkin' Donuts yesterday unveiled its pumpkin latte (I'll admit I chickened out rather than sampling that drive-through item), and Chips Chocolate Factory in Crown Center is testing its pumpkin-pie fudge.

And so with a plethora of pumpkin possibilities, I decided to pick the two I next encountered after deciding to battle pumpkin dishes this week. Hy-Vee's Pumpkin Whoopie Pie and Panera Bread's Pumpkin Muffie entered into the food ring shortly thereafter. Let the pumpkin kumitae commence. 

click to enlarge Panera's pumpkin muffie is part of their robust breakfast menu.
  • Panera's pumpkin muffie is part of their robust breakfast menu.

Pumpkin Muffie from Panera Bread: It's ostensibly a muffin top, but a grown man shouldn't have to say the words, "Can I please have a pumpkin muffie?"

The muffie is not overly sweet -- it's a pleasant mix of pumpkin and honey. The taste is similar to pumpkin bread. However, the powdered sugar on top means that it doesn't lack sweetness.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie from Hy-Vee: "We have whoopie pies," the friendly baker called out from the bakery. "Try the pumpkin." And with that friendly greeting, Hy-Vee earned its entry in this week's battle of the dishes.

The pumpkin flavor is mild, particularly in light of the cream-cheese filling, which actually tastes closer to vanilla cupcake frosting. This is a round pumpkin Twinkie. I hope that the product development team at Interstate Bakeries has the opportunity to taste one; it could lead to some pleasing new flavors of the cream-filled cake treat. 

The Verdict: The Whoopie Pie wins in a walk, even if it may not be the most pumpkin-y option available. This battle might have been slightly uneven, though, because the ceiling for a muffin top is a lot lower than that of a whoopie pie. Perhaps we all just need to change our perceptions of what to eat for breakfast. 

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