REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies

The Milano cookie has always been something of an enigma for me. With its elegant yet simple design and name conjuring images of the Italian Alps, it was beyond my childhood capacity of appreciation. Later in life, after I had graduated from a packaged cookie diet consisting entirely of Oreos and Chips Ahoy, Milanos still perplexed me. A dense yet slightly chewy crumb and buttery but dark chocolate flavor pointed toward a cookie on its own plane, distinct and unabashedly unique from every other prepackaged treat.

Oh yes, and terribly delicious.

It goes without saying that we expect much from Milano cookies. When you nail the chocolate flavor better than 95 percent of the competitors, I think expectations are a given. Nevertheless I couldn’t help but wonder if that sophisticated edge would translate with the addition of pumpkin spice. It’s one thing to pair mint and raspberry with chocolate, but when you start playing matchmaker with chocolate and the sometimes ambiguous concoction of fall spices, the results aren’t always so endearing.

Examining the bag confirmed my initial skepticism, as there’s no mention of pumpkin or the usual suspects of cinnamon or brown sugar in the ingredients. Nevertheless the orange lip representing pumpkin appeared on each cookie, while an unmistakably pumpkiny aroma danced from the open bag in perfect step with aromas of shortbread and chocolate.

It’s really a scintillating aroma, one with notes of pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin loaf cake supporting the dance. Actually, it’s so great I nearly passed out of asphyxiation due to a prolonged moment of sticking my schnoz right into the bag and failing to breath anything but the glorious smell of autumn.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies 2

The orange “cream”—for want of a better word—is thin and slightly viscous, with a texture somewhere between cream cheese on a hot day and the filling they stick inside those stacked wafer cookies. Tasting it from the lip of the cookie, it comes across as a less intense version of Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese, right on down to a slightly artificial flavor that seems a bit too quiet for fall’s most iconic squash.

Artificial flavor aside, there’s a pleasantly light sweetness and lickable texture that leaves me wanting more. The problem is there really isn’t much more to be had. Even though the chocolate-to-pumpkin filling ratio is about 1:1, the pumpkin finishes a distant third in its impact. The filling and the spice together are enough to let you know we’re talking pumpkin and not just cinnamon-flavored cookies, but the milk chocolate filling and scrumptious cookie base seem unwilling to let the pumpkin intrude on their synergy.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies 3

It’s been my experience through a quarter century of pumpkin eating that pumpkin is a very jealous flavor. It just doesn’t like playing second fiddle, much less third string. Yet in the distinct and careful balance of buttery cookie crumb and rich chocolate taste the pumpkin seems an awkward third wheel, attractive enough to want on its own, but not enough for either of the other two elements of the cookie to commit to.

It’s as if the cookie and the chocolate know what they have together, and while tempted by the pumpkin’s autumnal notes, neither flavor wants to commit to the newcomer over its tried and true other half. My God, it now occurs to me as I polish off another cookie, I have just described a twisted escapade of cookie love.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies 4

The sophisticated chocolate taste and buttery crumb native to all Milanos make the Pumpkin Spice Milano flavor unique and tasty. Yet for such a trendsetting cookie the pumpkin spice flavor doesn’t come through enough to make it a distinctively pumpkin product, while the hints of an attractive and creamy texture mitigate it to an awkward role player. As for that role, it’s just not cast right, and despite a promising beginning and intoxicating aroma, the Pumpkin Spice Milanos failed to make me fall in love with their take on the seasonal flavor.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Quite possibly one of the most enjoyable smelling cookies in creation. Buttery Milano cookie. Rich milk chocolate flavor. Pumpkin flavored “cream” is slightly reminiscent of pumpkin cream cheese. That feeling you get when you buy Milanos.
Cons: Too little pumpkin filling. Slightly artificial pumpkin spice “cream.” Third wheel flavors. Death by cookie bag. Nineteenth century packaging of Milano cookies.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Banana Nut Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Banana Nut Cookie

Disco and bananas: these are my two cravings when summer rolls around. Not hammocks. Not reruns of Seinfeld (a year-round craving). Not ice cream. Well, yeah, ice cream. But also bananas.

So it was with great delight that I spotted these Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Banana Nut Cookies while bobbing my head to the tune of “Dancing Queen.” It felt like destiny.

Pepperidge Farm Banana Nut Cookie Her Majesty, Queen Fluted Cup

Having just come off of an immensely satisfactory sugar rush triggered by Pepperidge Farm’s Cinnamon Bun Cookies, my hopes were set high. Like 40,000 feet above sea level. Up with the goats. And the yodelers.

And when I popped open the bag, the smell didn’t let that hope down: wafts of bananas, sugar, and maybe some subtle honey-flour-preservative dust, echoed into every pocket of memory that involves banana bread, a jar of peanut butter, Saturday mornings, and Reading Rainbow.

But the taste couldn’t quite sustain the same level of nostalgia-induced delusion. Sure, the cookie was soft without being spongy, cakey without being dry, and the taste wasn’t half bad: there was definitely some sugar, maybe a dash of vanilla extract, yet, while the whole “banana” part existed, it felt dulled out like a wafty ghost in the back of my throat. I do not appreciate having banana ghosts in my throat.

Thankfully, the hunks and chunks of walnuts brought me back down to Earth, providing soft, crunchy nubbins with hints of bitterness to contrast the half-hearted-bananainess of the cookie. The whole experience wasn’t bad, but it’s just not enough to satisfy my Inner Banana Monkey. And my Inner Banana Monkey wants bananas. Must. Have. Bananas!

Pepperidge Farm Banana Nut Cookie Good canvases

No joke: these cookies are NOT the most innovative fare. They don’t involve liquid nitrogen. They don’t provide you with a magical wizard who will pay for your car insurance. Heck, they don’t even have chocolate chips. However, it is this very trait of boringness that makes them a spectacular base for other, more creative projects. One chomp and I found myself living in a perpetual, five-step cycle: 1) Eat cookie, 2) Allow visions of peanut butter and banana cookie sandwiches to flood brain, 3) Make peanut butter and banana cookie sandwich, 4) Chomp, 5) Repeat process as often as possible.

If you, too, find yourself undergoing a similar pattern, you may come to the realization that there are so many options: Crumble them on your parfait! Smoosh them with Nutella! Make a Breakfast Sundae! You, fine reader, are surely more creative than me. Expand. Grow. YOU CAN DO BETTER.

Pepperidge Farm Banana Nut Cookie Peanut Butter Sandwich that goes in belly

Whether you’re feeling like a bum or undergoing a temporary bout of psychosis, cookies are good, and these Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Banana Nut Cookies exemplify a solid, if somewhat boring, reflection of said philosophy: nice texture, soft-ish nuts, mild taste, and peanut butter sandwich cookies good enough to get you down at the discotheque.

Plus, bananas have potassium, right? So no shin splints. And that’s okay for today, but count this as a first strike in mediocrity, Pepperidge. You’ve got two more to go. Two more.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 130 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Banana Nut Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 8.6 oz.
Purchased at: Met Foods
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Strong banana smell. Soft chew. Walnut bits add texture. Good base for creative dessert escapades. Could prevent shin splints. Magical Wizards that pay your car insurance. Reading Rainbow. Goats on the mountaintops.
Cons: Below moderate banana taste. Boring by itself. Walnut pieces are teensy weensy. Absence of chocolate chips. Ghosts of bananas in your throat. Nostalgia-induced delusion. Bad disco. Unfulfilled Inner Banana Monkey.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies

Like a phantom Girl Scout here to haunt me, Pepperidge Farm cookies make themselves available year-round in an increasingly baffling number of varieties, rendering me (the consumer) into a primal mental state of chaos and delight I like to call, “The Paint Swatch Effect”: the mental state that unfolds when one is bombarded with an infinite amount of choices, be it paint samples, Oreo cookies, or high capacity power drills.

When under the spell of the Paint Swatch Effect, one tends to undergo a spontaneous craving to try as many new things as possible, conducting an inner dialogue that goes to the tune of, “So many options! Everywhere! Must try them all! ALL!!”

It’s a nutso, frightening, wonderful way to live.

Which was perhaps why I stood, once again, under the shadow of Milano planks and Xtra Cheddar Goldfishies by the Pepperidge Farm display. But I was not after the square Cheesmen Shortbread, nor those dashing Milano Melts. Nay. My eyes were locked on the newest stud, the sole snagger of my heart.

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies Breakfast- The Sequel

Breakfast will never be the same.

Like a traumatic childhood experience or a very good buddy movie, finding a spectacular packaged cookie is a rare, fleeting moment. To find one that can also gracefully glide across your palate in the wee hours of the morning? Mark it in the History books for that is a moment that should be treated with respect as it brands its gooey, cakey, fudgy-wudginess into the nostalgia of your taste buds. Eating this bag of cookies qualifies as one of those Historical Moments.

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies C is for cookies and cookies is plural

At first snag, the cookie feels light and nimble as though it could morph into a back-flip-twisting, baton-twirling Rhythmic Grand Prix gymnast at any moment, yet, once bitten into, the texture holds a dense, doughy crumb that’s delightfully more fudgy than some of the other Soft Baked specimens I’ve experienced. Not too fluffy nor styrofoamy, the end result sits in you like a brick. A tasty, tasty brick made of carbohydrates, sugar, and questionable vegetable oils that, when put in the microwave, it becomes a goopy, melty, warm brick. Where are the architects to build me a house out of such materials?

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies A utopian abode made of cookies

And that’s just the beginning: the top, with its layer of brown-beige speckles, looks like a pastry-itized reinterpretation of a 1934 Oklahoma landscape after a Dust Bowl storm. If that dust storm was made of cinnamon sugar. Said sugar not only brings sweetness and a sandy texture, but also tows a comfy warmth from the cinnamon without going into the Hot Tamale realm.

Bringing the cinnamon experience even further are little crunchy cinnamon chippies mixed in the dough that are dense with cinnamon and crispity enough to put Snap, Crackle, and Pop to shame. And those white “confection” chips? While I have no clue what they’re made of, they melt like butta. A slight zing of artificial vanilla and sugar is all it takes to knock it home as the chip melts away into goopy sweetness. When all the elements combine, you have sugar, cinnamon, goo. The whole experience is as comfortable as lounging on a couch playing Super Nintendo in bunny pajamas. The ones with the footies.

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies chippies and crispities

Across from the U.N. Headquarters in New York rests a tiny shop that states itself as the, “United Nations Plaza Dental Care Facility.” I imagine that, if each of the world leaders were given a bag of these cookies, the number of cavities elicited from the consumption of said cookies would result in enough cavities to pay the shop’s rent for the next 15 years. A steep price to pay for a little cookie…

Or is it?

I dare say, if I were a world leader, it’d be worth it. The offer of dense doughy cookie? Of cinnamon, sugar dust with sugar-frosting fudgy nubbins? All pre-made and wrapped in a little baggie just for me? Put a microwave in the room, set one in there for 5 seconds, and you get a warm, gooey circle of world peace. Who doesn’t want a warm, gooey circle of world peace? Isn’t that what the United Nations is all about? I dare say it is! Maybe, to bring peace, you just need a little sugar. And a toothbrush so you don’t have to visit the Dental Care Facility.

So, world leaders, bring your toothbrushes and we’ll provide your bag of cookies! Pepperidge Farm has a new offering and it may just be good enough to unite us all.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 130 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, Less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 1 bag/8 cookies
Purchased at: Met Foods
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Great reason to have cookies for breakfast. Soft chew. Fudgier than some other Soft Baked specimens. Thick cinnamon sugar crusting. Melty confection chips scattered in good ratio. Crispity cinnamon chippies. May result in world peace. Super Nintendo. Bunny pajamas with the footies.
Cons: Lots of funky oils. Still not as good as homemade. What are white confection chips really made of? And why are they so good? 1934 Oklahoma dust storms. Phantom Girl Scouts.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Dessert Shop Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Dessert Shop Chocolate Brownie Soft Dessert Cookies

Hi, my name is Blade and I’m here to review some cookies.

You may have heard of me. I am also known as the Daywalker—I am a vampire. Well, I was born half-human, half-vampire. So I have all their strengths and none of their weaknesses, except for the blood thirst. But I manage to keep that in check with a serum, and I can walk around in the sunlight like all the rest of you. I’m basically a regular human being with super strength, reflexes and a healing factor.

To be upfront, I think some of those qualities make me superior to human beings and perhaps transcendent to human rules, but the IRS doesn’t agree, and subsequently I’ve run into tax problems, which explains why I’m writing about baked goods on a website. And I’ve eaten human flesh, which means my tastes are more adventurous than yours, I’m sure.

However, I do have a sweet tooth. Love those snacks. They come far second on the list of cravings, though, behind human blood. To recap: Number one craving with a (silver) bullet, human blood. Number two, baked sweets. My aunt used to make these snickerdoodles that were sublime. You guys tried cronuts yet? The real ones from New York. Amazing, right? Dominique Ansel done changed the game! How about pureed frozen bananas? Stuff tastes just like ice cream! Yeah, I love sweets. Number three is probably gas station Spam musubi, believe it or not.

Being half something and half something else, the folks at this site thought it would be a good idea for me to review the Pepperidge Farm Dessert Shop Chocolate Brownie Cookies, because it’s half a cookie, half a brownie. Here is the question: Does this product combine the strengths of the cookie and the brownie? Or is it all weakness, like those new Spider-Man films? The short answer is no, this cookie is not awesome like me. It is just okay.

It is soft, so soft and chewy, like the best cookies. The initial bite has a light, bitter cocoa sting with a hint of sweetness, like a brownie! It’s pretty good. And the cookie never gets too sweet, either. I like my chocolate on the bitter side and I like my Avengers movies quippy. The problem is that the cookie doesn’t go anywhere else. There’s no depth of flavor. It’s not rounded out by a torrent of butter or balanced with any other sensation. It just keeps hitting the bitter note over and over, which gets tiring. It’s also chewy but not gooey, like a brownie would be. The density is of a supermarket mass-produced cookie, and not of a deep, cakey, homemade casserole-dish brick of cocoa goodness.

Pepperidge Farm Dessert Shop Chocolate Brownie Soft Dessert Cookies Closeup

You can see chocolate chips in the cookie, but you can’t really taste them in the product. The chips get lost in the shuffle somewhere, overshadowed, so seeing them there is like being teased. I bet it’s sort of like being imbued with an unquenchable thirst for human blood and seeing humans walking around literally everywhere, walking, dancing, taunting, necks exposed, welcoming, and never once taking a sip. Or maybe like a chocolate lap dance. It’s disappointing that the cookie does not live up to the Frankenstein potential of a cookie-brownie, but the flavoring spins so far out of control in one singular direction it doesn’t even function that well as a cookie-cookie.

The Pepperidge Farm Dessert Shop Chocolate Brownie will not be making it into Blade’s cookie rotation. It’s a valiant attempt at combining brownie powers and cookie powers into one thing, but it’s a little bit of a reminder that the X-Men are special, and, really, most genetic mutations end in early death and not in telekinesis or the power of flight. I guess against all odds companies will always try to harness the warm, homey goodness of a brownie into items. “Motherfudgers always trying to ice skate uphill.” That’s a quote of mine that I altered to appropriately fit into this piece.

Thanks for reading, folks. And a quick reminder I am immune to garlic so I am available to review non-Olive Garden Italian cuisine. And vampires don’t sparkle! Gosh, Twilight is my Madea. I guess Madea is also my Madea. Shout out to Joss Whedon. I’m available for the next Avengers. Or Ant-Man! I’ll take Ant-Man! Edgar Wright, I loved Shaun of the Dead. It should have been vampires and not zombies, though. Everybody check out Let the Right One In. Check out all my movies too. I’m not in Blades of Glory, though. That’s not me. Hmm, actually, also, I’m only half human, so I should only pay half human taxes. Okay, I’m going to go re-fill out my W-9. Bye.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Dessert Shop Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 8.6 ounce bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Not too sweet. Chewy, soft. Not terrible.
Cons: Flat flavoring. No depth. Goes nowhere. Boring.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies

List of things hard to improve: the Northern Lights, pens that don’t run out of ink, paper dragons, snack mixes, and Jedi mind tricks.

I once thought that Milano cookies, too, should be on this list. Composed of planks of golden sugar cookies sandwiching a thin layer of semisweet chocolate, original Milano toe the line of perfection, and yet the restless, curious minds at Pepperidge Farm are working to propel the cookie into a new realm of supremacy, having now covered the beloved cookie in a bevy of chocolate. Since I could live the rest of my life with nothing but Netflix, a vat of milk, and a constantly streaming Costco-sized bag of the originals, I couldn’t help but give this new chocolate covered variation its time in the spotlight.

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies Tray

Well, well, what’s this? Seems these bountiful biscuits have ditched the old flimsy fluted cup for a plastic sleeve. A wise choice, not only because fluted cups remind me of past traumatic experiences with Betty Crocker, but also because the plastic separators prevent them from melting and turning into mish-mosh.

And these cookies aren’t mish-mosh.

Some mass-produced chocolate can taste of sugar and vegetable oil, giving the chocolate all the bizarre flatness of a senator reading rap lines. Not so with these sandwiches. The milk chocolate coating is sugary sweet with a finish of light cocoa. It melts pretty fast, which isn’t good for that white shirt you pressed this morning, but quite good for consuming off the nubs of your chocolate-coated fingers.

But where that chocolate really shines is with the cookie itself. Aside from being covered in cocoa solids, these biscuits haven’t changed a bit. Walking the tightrope between crispy and crunchy with just a hint at an artificial buttery end, these planks serve as the perfect palate to showcase the semisweet chocolate insides. This thin inner core of hardened chocolate starts sweet then leaves just a hint of coffee-like bitterness behind. It is here that I realize how much this cookie thrives on contrasts. This sweet, crunchy, gooey, pleasantly bitter experience has all the sporadic eccentricities akin to listening to the playlist of a late night college radio station: one moment, you’re listening to Sinatra, the next, David Bowie, the next, Bob Marley. A whole range of personalities.

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies Closeup

And if sandwich cookies had personalities, the Milano would be the intellectual. The deep thinker. The Nietchze reader who enjoys classic cinema and vintage wine and purple silk robes. Thus I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that I shelled out an Abraham Lincoln for the 7 cookies, but I was a little disappointed with the low cookie count.

While the milk chocolate on these is pretty good, the cookie doesn’t quite offer enough specialty or mystery for such a price. However, the box did fulfill my chocolate quota in the time it would take to get my car washed, and all chocolate has antioxidants and antioxidants are good for your ojos, right? Or wait, maybe that’s carrots.

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies The mug says it all

I have a self-imposed superstition that, if you mess with perfection, bad things will happen: your eggs will curdle, your credit card will be debunked, or a clan of vengeful lobsters will arise from the sea and attack you for no apparent reason. Luckily, none of these things happened when these Milano cookies were consumed and, while they were a bit overpriced, these show themselves as a solid example of a chocolate covered cookie.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 160 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.

Item: Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1 box/7 cookies
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crispy-crunchy texture. Plenty of chocolate. Chocolate that actually tastes of chocolate. Chocolate is good for your ojos. No obtrusive fluted cups. Paper dragons. Jedi mind tricks.
Cons: Some may not enjoy slight artificial butteriness. Chocolate can get messy. Only seven cookies. Traumatic experiences involving Betty Crocker. Being attacked by a clan of vengeful lobsters.