When it comes to frozen fruit-filled turnovers popped into the home oven, our longtime go-to is Pepperidge Farm's raspberry and blueberry flavors. With ice-cold milk, of course.
So we were happy to learn that the company is celebrating it's 75th anniversary with some new products, which were recently taste-tested by our group of usual suspects.
As for company history, this slice is posted at www.pepperidgefarm.com: "It all began with a humble loaf of bread, which Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin baked in her rural Connecticut kitchen. Created in 1937 to address her son's allergy to common preservatives, Margaret's simple recipe is the origin of a flourishing business."
P.S.: Pepperidge Farm bakes 142 billion of its famous Goldfish crackers each year.
As for new items - arriving in stores in August ($2.99 to $3.99) - we sampled pumpkin cheesecake soft cookies; Milano Slices salted pretzel chocolate-coated cookies; Milano Melts vanilla cream-filled cookies; and three flavors of Jingo crackers - lime and sweet chili, Parmesan-garlic, and cheddar.
We did not taste two other new products (because we didn't have them) - Goldfish soft bread (brown sugar and cinnamon flavors), and Swirl Bread (limited-edition caramel apple, through November).
The results, beginning with me:
- The crunchy Jingos were powerfully flavorful, though way salty (lime-chili was my favorite). Milano Melts were good in concept, but way sweet. Pumpkin Cheesecake had great mouth-feel in a comforting way. Loved the crunch and contrast of sweet chocolate versus salty pretzel bits in the Milano Slices - the best of the batch.
Taster No. 2: Pumpkin Cheesecake cookies were delicious. A yummy goodness with pumpkin surrounding a cheesecake center.
Jingo Parmesan garlic crackers didn't taste much garlic, but I liked the Parmesan flavor.
Lime and sweet chili Jingos had a nice sweet kick; the sweet chili was great.
Cheddar Jingos: unimpressed.
Milano Slices: Really didn't taste the pretzel sprinkles at all.
Milano Melts had a nice taste.
Taster No. 3: Pumpkin Cheesecake: Super-soft pumpkin cookie with large chunks of cheesecake that melt in your mouth. Yum!
Parmesan-garlic Jingos: Delicious garlic butter flavor. The Parmesan cheese tasted fake.
Lime-chili Jingos: I never knew a cracker could taste like lime. Not as spicy as expected. All my favorite guacamole flavors in cracker form.
Cheddar Jingos: Not overwhelmingly cheddary. Unmemorable.
Milano Slices: Sweet and salty, but nothing I need to run out and buy. Fairly dry.
Milano Melts: Like an inside-out cupcake. Firm chocolate cookie with sweet vanilla frosting inside.
Taster No. 4: Parmesan-garlic Jingos: Understated, but decent Parmesan flavor. I didn't taste much garlic. These would be a tasty addition to a good bowl of soup.
Lime-chili Jingos: I'm a big fan of lime and sweet chili, but these didn't do it for me. Flavor is not very robust, and they taste processed.
Cheddar Jingos: Underwhelming cheddar flavor, although it's low-key enough that if they were eaten with dips, the cheese flavor wouldn't overpower.
Jingos overall: They're sizable enough for dipping, but small enough that a handful won't fill you up.
Milano Melts: I bit into the cookie expecting it to be much softer than what it is. The taste is standard as far as vanilla cream-filled chocolate cookies go, not something I would seek out.
Taster No. 5: Parmesan-garlic: I liked this best out of the three new crackers. I'm not a garlic fan, so the mild garlic flavor was a plus.
Lime-chili: You can really taste the lime, but I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Cheddar: Does not stand out.
Milano Slices: I like the mash-up of chocolate and salty.
Milano Melts: Did not like the flavor of the creamy center. No real distinct flavor.
Taster No. 6: Lime-chili: Yum! My favorite of the three. A distinct lime flavor, and just enough chili. Would be great with a cold beer.
Parmesan-garlic: A good dose of Parmesan; the garlic is subtle. Would be a good snack at a wine bar.
Cheddar: Tastes like slightly spicy nacho chips. My third choice, but only because nacho flavor can be found in so many things already.
Pumpkin cheesecake: Good soft pumpkin cookie, but the cheesecake morsels are too sweet.
Milano Slices: I'm not big on pretzels, but this has a nice balance between chocolate and salt.
Milano Melts: Fun idea, but I didn't care for the cookie's chocolate flavor.
Taster No. 7: Pumpkin cheesecake: Too mushy to be a cookie; more like a mushy muffin. I like the cheesecakey chunks, but the pumpkin tastes more of spice than actual pumpkin.
Milano Slices: Ding-ding-ding! I like this one! Great classic Milano cookie with saltiness mixed in. Who doesn't love chocolate-covered pretzels?
Milano Melts: The frosting has a nostalgic taste of Dunkaroos, but the cookie is not as sweet, which is great, because then the whole cookie is not too sweet. Delicious!
Parmesan-garlic: Light, airy taste with a hint of tangy garlic. I like it a lot. Rather refreshing.
Lime-chili: Very lime-y, but where's the sweet chili?
Cheddar: Nothing new.