It’s that time of year, folks.
PUMPKINUNDATION: the annual influx of pumpkin-inspired products into our grocery stores, characterized by bright orange packaging and liberal use of spice. Whether Pumpkinundation inspires profound joy or the urge to grumble that maple is the superior fall flavor, we junk foodies know that pumpkin rings the official bell of autumn.
To me, there is no greater harbinger of autumn than Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights. Styled like jack-o’-lantern faces, these seasonal soft spiced cookies are stuffed with pumpkin jam filling. They are chewy, delicious, and easily crushed in your purse when you carry one around as an emergency dessert. (I am speaking from experience.) Pumpkin Delights are Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin in edible form. When they appear on shelves, I am overtaken by a terrible urge to wear heavy wool sweaters and visit a Spirit Halloween store in August. In short, I love them.
Little Debbie and Hudsonville Creamery have granted my autumn wish by adding a Pumpkin Delights variety to their line of ice creams. This Walmart-exclusive line is extensive and has received largely favorable reviews from our contributors. Since this was my first experience with the line, I was eager to evaluate both the product’s overall taste and its similarity to its beloved namesake.
This new variety’s package offers no hint as to its flavor or composition (besides “artificial flavors added”), so I dove spoon first into the mystery. Peeling back the foil lid, I was pumpkin-delighted to see orange: a pumpkin base. Maybe I am just cynical by nature, but I had expected vanilla ice cream, an easy base to carry novel mix-ins. I should have known Little Debbie takes no shortcuts.
The ice cream is creamy, delicious, and nicely rich. Unlike other pumpkin snacks, it doesn’t rely too heavily on spice for flavor. It reminds me of a pumpkin cheesecake ice cream: a bit of tang and a bit of spice that enhance an authentic pumpkin taste.
Within the base is a graham cookie swirl that basically tastes like a mashed up Pumpkin Delight cookie. Its flavor is wonderful: a combination of pumpkin, molasses, and brown sugar. A hint of grittiness through the cookie crumbs adds a pleasant texture — a welcome departure from the Pumpkin Delight’s softness. My major gripe is that there isn’t nearly enough swirl. I found one good hunk of the stuff in my serving, and as I dug through the remnants of the container, I excavated mere additional scraps.
Although stingy — no, miserly — with its cookie swirl, Little Debbie’s Pumpkin Delights Ice Cream is a delicious fall treat for pumpkin lovers and a satisfying counterpart to its cookie inspiration. It is high quality ice cream — not “frozen dairy dessert” — and certainly the best I’ve tried at this price point. For $2.50 per pint, I might pick up another container and go excavating for more cookie swirls. Digging for sugar, after all, is the most time-honored tradition of Pumpkinundation.
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: One pint
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 2/3 cup) 240 calories, 12 grams of total fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar including 17 grams of added sugar, and 4 grams of protein.