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To take advantage of Chase Sapphire Preferred’s lucrative offer of 3x points on dining on the first Friday of every month, we regularly round up the best in food and drink. To kick off October, TPG Contributor Betsy Mikel suggests seven of the best pumpkin delights for autumn. Note that this First Friday bonus will no longer be offered as of January 2016, so now’s the time to take advantage of those 3X points on dining!
Move over, pumpkin spice latte: You’re not the only delicious pumpkin-flavored treat in town. And frankly, you’re not even that good — especially when compared to these beers, pastries, ice creams, and other sweet delicacies that feature pumpkin front and center. Happily, even if you don’t live close to their sources, many of these temptations can be ordered online.
1. Buttercup Pumpkin with Amaretti Cookies Ice Cream
Jenni’s Scoop Shops — various locations in the Midwest and South, as well as Los Angeles, California
Even as the fall weather starts to crisp up, it’s never too cold for ice cream — especially when it’s from Jeni’s, an Ohio-based artisanal ice creamery known for unique flavor combinations that use high-quality ingredients.
The seasonal Buttercup Pumpkin with Amaretti Cookies flavor is no exception. Inspired by a classic pumpkin soup served in Europe (and particularly in Parisian bistros) that comes served with crumbled amaretti cookies as a garnish, this delicious ice cream blends these cookies with roasted and caramelized heirloom buttercup pumpkin. Result: two great tastes that taste great together. Prices may vary by location; the Chicago scoop shop serves up two scoops for $5.46.
2. Southern Tier Brewing Company Pumking Beer
Southern Tier Brewing — Lakewood, New York
Beer fanatics and pumpkin obsessives wait all year to get their hands on this beer, then go bananas when it’s released each fall. While this season sees a lot of delicious pumpkin ales crowding the shelves, Southern Tier’s Pumking is one of the most-loved and highly sought after because it tastes exactly like pumpkin pie in a bottle.
Since it’s not at all bitter and has a malty sweet taste that somehow seems to capture both the separate flavors of pumpkin pie and the crust, you might want to give it a try even if you don’t usually like beer. If you’re lucky enough to live close to the source, head to The Empty Pint , the Southern Tier brew pub, to get a fresh pour (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Get a 12-ounce pour straight from the source for $5. The Empty Pint sells 22-ounce bottles for $7 and 4-packs of 12-ounce bottles for $15.
Pumking is also widely available on draft at bars across the United States. Head to BeerMenus.com to check availability and pricing in your area or use Southern Tier’s own beer finder tool. Also keep an eye out for 22-ounce bottles or 4-packs at your local grocery or liquor store.
3. Pumpkin Truffle
Katherine Anne Confections — Chicago, Illinois
You could say that Katherine Duncan has been perfecting her Pumpkin Truffle recipe since she was 10. That’s when she used the cream from her family’s cows to create “Katherine’s Karamels,” which she sold at her dad’s office for $.25 apiece.
Since 2006, Katherine Duncan has been bringing together local and organic ingredients to make corn syrup free truffles, caramels and marshmallows free of artificial ingredients. Her truffles are hand-rolled and hand-dripped, each taking a twist on a familiar flavor.
For the fall’s Pumpkin Truffle, Katherine Anne Confections soaks dried apricots in a blend of Wisconsin maple syrup and dark rum, then blends in roasted pumpkin, fall spices (ginger, cinnamon, clove), milk and semisweet chocolates. Each is topped with a toasted pepita. A single truffle will run you $2.75, but who can stop at one? Get three for $10, seven for $21 or 20 for $48.
4. Pumpkin Creme Donut
Beiler’s Bakery — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
In Philly you’ll find the freshest of the fresh donuts in the back of Reading Terminal Market, where the Beilers have created a small Dutch establishment donut empire. Each of the hand-rolled donuts has a bit of a different shape (no Dunkin’ Donut cookie cutter-eque circles here) and comes straight from the fryer. You may have to line up to get your hands on a Beiler’s melt-in-your mouth Pumpkin Creme Donuts, but it’s worth the wait. And bonus: every single donut in the entire shop costs just 95 cents — a stock-up price if we ever heard one!
5. Pumpkin Pie Oh My Concrete
Shake Shack — Locations across the United States
People rave about the 100% all-natural Angus beef Shake Shack burger, but have you tried their desserts? Shake Shack custard is spun fresh daily, and the vanilla custard uses real sugar, no corn syrup, and milk from dairy farmers who pledge not to use artificial growth hormones.
The Pumpkin Pie Oh My Concrete blends vanilla frozen custard with a slice of Shack-made pumpkie pie and is topped with whipped cream. It’s available through the end of October 2015 at all Shake Shack locations, except stadiums and New York-JKF airport. (You can also design your own concrete using their mix-in menu, which includes a drizzle of caramel sauce — which would be my choice.) Grab a single-sized concrete for $4.50 or a double for $6.75.
6. Pumpkin Pop Tarts
Nickel Diner — Los Angeles, California
Rating an appearance on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, the retro-styled Nickel Diner in Downtown LA is known for serving up plates piled high with comfort food and inventive desserts. Their housemade pop tarts prove that these handy breakfast treats don’t need come out of a crinkly foil package — and aren’t just for kids.
‘Tis now the season for the Nickel Diner pumpkin pop tart, which was voted one of the best pumpkin desserts by TimeOut Los Angeles last year. Flaky, filled with pumpkin puree and drizzled with chocolate sauce, these tasty tarts are just $4 apiece.
7. Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Willamette Valley Pie Company — Salem, Oregon
Willamette Valley Pie Company takes the standard pumpkin pie up a notch with this lighter, more airy version. The Pumpkin Chiffon Pie starts out with the bakery’s signature flaky crust, which is made with sustainably farmed wheat and palm oil shortening. Then alternating layers of pumpkin chiffon filling and spiced whipped cream are added for a surprising, creamy take on a classic. Pick up a handmade pie from October to December in local stores at $2.99 a slice (add a dollar for a scoop of ice cream) or $14.99 for a whole 9-inch pie. To get one shipped home, order via the WVPC’s website (see link above) or on Goldbely for $59 each — shipped frozen, in insulated shipping containers laid with dry ice, via next-day or two-day air.
What are your own favorite pumpkin delicacies for fall? Let us know in the comments below.