DAY 4: These aren't your grandma's English Muffins.

Today, I continue the attack on my waistline with another carb-rich product, while extending my streak of pumpkin infused breakfast foods to a third day.

DAY 4: These aren't your grandma's English Muffins. 

Items: Thomas' Pumpkin Spice English Muffins, Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese, Land O Lakes Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread

Cost: $2.50 (English Muffins), $2.99 (Cream Cheese), $2.49
Purchase Location: ShopRite (English Muffins and Butter), Trader Joe’s (Cream Cheese)

Manufacturer’s Description:
Made with real pumpkin, spices and cinnamon, you'll love the comforting aroma of toasting pumpkin English Muffins in your kitchen.

Inside the tub emblazoned with a "wait, isn't that a bagel?" label is a blend of real pumpkin and an especially rich, tantalizingly tangy cream cheese, with a bit of brown sugar & cinnamon added to ramp up the "are you sure this isn't pumpkin pie?" quotient.  It's emphatically creamy, so it's easily spreadable, yet it still retains the rich, dense texture of good cream cheese.

I would like to take a minute and point out how beautiful and poetic this Trader Joe’s description is. We would all be so lucky as to have someone speak with such passion about us the way that this person writes about cream cheese.

I am a big fan of English Muffins. I feel like second only to bagels, they are a perfect portable breakfast food. They are of a reasonable size, do not sit too heavily in the stomach, and can hold spreads just as well as eggs/meat. But I was a little skeptical because I have never had a flavored one before.

I gave this product a shot for a few reasons: Thomas’ is usually good with their flavored bagels, it is made with actual pumpkin, and I honestly can’t resist anything that has “Limited Edition” in cursive on the top of the package.
I decided to go about trying these muffins three ways: plain (toasted), with Trader Joe’s pumpkin cream cheese, and with the pumpkin butter spread from the Day 1 review.

The smell of pumpkin spice isn’t that strong when you open the package, but definitely comes through during toasting. It was enough that my grandmother (who was sitting across the kitchen drinking tea) could smell it and asked what I was cooking… then asked me why I was taking a picture of my food instead of eating it (It’s for the internet, grandma. Come on!).

I noticed that, even with the addition of pumpkin puree, the muffins didn’t lose their nooks and crannies. The plain muffin still had the same familiar texture and crunch on first bite, and the spices provided a nice background flavor. It was enough that I felt like I could probably just eat them without any topping, as long as I had some water to survive the accompanying dry mouth.

Both the cream cheese and butter spread well on the toasted muffins. Because of how rich and spicy the butter spread was during my first taste, I decided to only butter one half of the English Muffin but went with both for the cream cheese.

After grandma asked me for the second time why I was just looking, and not eating, I decided to tear into the English Muffin with the cream cheese.

Let me tell you…it was delicious. The TJ’s cream cheese has been my favorite, even before I had an emotional reaction to its description on their website. I am happy to see that they haven’t changed the very well balanced flavor, because it is perfect. In its favor, it contains pumpkin puree, has a good level of seasonal spice/sweetness, and doesn’t mask the tang that cream cheese should have.

Final Rating: 5/5 Pumpkins

The butter spread didn’t fare as well in this taste test. On day 1, I had a small nip (which I liked) before putting a large amount in the Rice Krispie Treats. I figured the treats diluted the flavor a little bit, but I didn’t realize just how much. Even with only one side buttered, the pumpkin pie spice spread was so strong and sweet that I felt like I had eaten a spoonful of cinnamon brown sugar.

Amended Rating: 3/5 Pumpkins. -1 Pumpkin, but kept 3 because it was a good for baking.

Ultimately, today’s review was about the English Muffins, and I really enjoyed them. I think they might be of limited utility because they probably wouldn’t taste good with eggs/meat/anything savory, but they worked well on their own or with the pumpkin cream cheese.

Final Rating: 4/5 Pumpkins

I also want to give special shout out to grandma for all of her encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Grandma’s Rating: 6/5 pumpkins because she’s my favorite.

Finally, as I did research for today’s review, I came across an interesting fact: Just how pumpkin spice products are often only pumpkin by name (lacking any real pumpkin), the English muffin is actually an 1880’s American invention that wasn’t even brought to Great Britain until after 1990. Also, they are known as “American Muffins” in England.

Shocked? Confused? Feeling a little betrayed? It’s okay. Just grab a pack of these with some pumpkin cream cheese. You’ll feel better after two. Maybe three.



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