6 Must-Have Pumpkin Treats in Brooklyn

Pumpernickel Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bagel from La Bagel Delight
Pumpernickel Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bagel, from La Bagel Delight

Some seasonal fall treats you can get anywhere in this place we call America. Candy Corn and Candy Pumpkins ship out annually to the nation’s pharmacies, and come mid-September, at any strip mall in this great land you can take your pick from Jamba Juice’s Pumpkin Smash, Dunkin’ Donuts’ pumpkin donut, pumpkin pie donut, pumpkin muffin, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin mocha lattè, and pumpkin crème brulée coffee-adjacent liquid, to say nothing of the grandmother of seasonal pumpkin drinks, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattè. Some things, though, you can only get in Brooklyn. So here, dutifully assembled with a sweet tooth and an iron stomach, are six seasonal pumpkin treats from across the borough.

PUMPKIN vegan gluten free pumpkin spice muffin konditori

1. Konditori’s Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Spice Muffin

“Is that a pumpkin spice muffin?” I asked the tall barista with the backwards hat at the Konditori nearest my apartment. “Yeah,” he said, adding with a slight eyeroll, “Well, a gluten-free pumpkin spice muffin,” which was meant either as a joking distinction or a mocking correction, depending on what you expect from baristas at high-end coffee purveyors. With not a speck of gluten inside or out, the Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Muffin was light, fluffy, and moist, like a small orange raincloud. Its pumpkin flavor was not overwhelming, but neither was it underwhelming. The matched set of Pumpkin Spice Cookies were soft, and nearly big enough to be mistaken for muffins. If you’ll only let yourself have one, opt for the muffin. Numerous locations.

PUMPKIN one girl cookies whoopie pies

2. One Girl Cookies: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

These are delicious, and so adorable. They may be small, but don’t get overambitious—they are incredibly sweet. I got two for my taste-test, strictly for aesthetics (a lone tiny whoopie pie doesn’t make for an inspiring photo shoot), and found it to be a bit too much. The cream filling makes these taste almost more like carrot cake than pumpkin anything, but spice-wise the two aren’t all that far apart. Even so, the filling is light, and doesn’t overwhelm the cake with their flavor. The cake is grade-A whoopie: firm but spongy in the service of finger food. One will likely be enough for most tastes, so if your eyes are bigger than your sweet tooth, gift one to someone sweet. 68 Dean St, Cobble Hill

PUMPKIN blue marble pumpkin ice cream

3. Blue Marble: Pumpkin Ice Cream

Before you can even catch a taste of Blue Marble’s Pumpkin ice cream, the first thing you notice is its lovely color—more like a butternut squash than a pumpkin, really, but bright, like a wintry sherbet. The texture of the pumpkin ice cream is smooth and rich, with a spiced milkiness that recalls the classic of the genre, the Starbucks PSL. The precise flavor lands somewhere at the midpoint between that and pumpkin bread, particularly on the finish, with just a whisper of Starbucks Vanilla Chai. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Nutmeg is the strongest flavor, which gives it a warmth despite its obviously un-warm temperature. With a sugar cone it approaches pumpkin pie, as a “crust” of sorts, but is far crunchier, and anyway it’s best not to compare apples with applesauce. Suggested toppings are walnuts and/or hot fudge, and maple syrup for the fearless. 186 Underhill Ave, Prospect Heights; 196 Court St, Cobble Hill

PUMPKIN baked chocolate chip pumpkin loaf

4. Baked: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf

By far the richest Brooklyn pumpkin treat on offer, and that includes the next one (Junior’s). Each slice is more than an inch thick and saturated almost to capacity with chocolate chips. Its texture is dense and moist without being at all sticky. The chocolate complements the pumpkin well, and the pumpkin itself is so subtle as to be almost background. This, though, is an undersung virtue of the pumpkin treat: Less is way, way more. The spices are subdued and pleasantly blended, with nothing figuring too strongly in the overall mix. There’s hardly a better choice in any neighborhood. 359 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook

PUMPKIN junior's cheesecake

5. Junior’s: Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is everything you want it to be. It’s even more than everything you want it to be. The flavor is like pumpkin pie, predictably, but is both lighter (in flavor) and richer (in texture), and without all that dry old crust. (No offense to crust-lovers or expert pie-crust bakers.) Junior’s pumpkin cheesecake is an absolute must for the lactose- and pumpkin-tolerant. 386 Flatbush Ave, Downtown Brooklyn

PUMPKIN La Bagel Delight cream cheese

6. La Bagel Delight: Pumpkin Cream Cheese

A pumpkin cream cheese bagel is to a regular cream cheese bagel as a cupcake is to a muffin: One is breakfast, the other is breakfast dressed in sugar. Pumpkin cream cheese feels somehow further from actual pumpkin than pumpkin ice cream did, but I doubt there’s actual pumpkin in either one. I chose a pumpernickel bagel, both for the alliteration and for the halloween effect I’d imagined between a dark-brown bagel and a bright-orange schmear, but both were more muted than I’d hoped. Though not for the faint of heart (seriously, watch your cholesterol), the pumpernickel pumpkin cream cheese bagel is the pinnacle of the dessert bagel form; it has reached a height only glimpsed by cinnamon-raisin swirl bagels and maple-walnut cream cheese. It is the anti–butter-only bagel, a bagel yawp! Numerous locations.
Author’s note: I may be suffering from pumpkin sickness after eating each of the above in the span of 24 hours. Everything tastes like pumpkin now. Consume at your own risk. Please enjoy responsibly.

Follow John Sherman on Twitter @_john_sherman.


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