Dining With Denise Neil

Need a little pumpkin spice in your life? Here’s where to find it

Hurts Donut is offering a pumpkin spice doughnuts with pumpkin spice latte glaze.
Hurts Donut is offering a pumpkin spice doughnuts with pumpkin spice latte glaze. Courtesy of Hurts Donut

The second the calendar turns September, it’s time to pumpkin spice it up.

The official flavor of fall begins its annual invasion, and suddenly the flavors of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves are in and on everything, from doughnuts to coffee to ice cream.

This year, pumpkin spice has even worked its way into the Kansas State Fair. West Moreland’s concession booth, at the corner of Fort Riley Boulevard and Grandstand Avenue on the fairgrounds, is serving to-die-for pumpkin spice funnel cakes topped with cream cheese glaze for $7 a pop through Sunday.

Sales of pumpkin spice-flavored items totaled more than $360 million during the past year, an 11 percent rise over the previous year and an 80 percent rise since 2011, according to Nielsen statistics. The statistics are easy to believe when you peruse the list of some of the pumpkin spice treats being sold in Wichita.

Here’s a guide to help you make sure you squeeze every last drop of pumpkin flavor out of the season.

Coffee

Starbucks, whose pumpkin spice latte is one of the pioneers of the pumpkin spice craze, releases its drink as early as makes sense each year – and sometimes even earlier. It’s been available in stores since Sept. 8, and this year, the company announced it would switch up the formula, eliminating its signature drink’s caramel coloring and instead using a sauce made with real pumpkin puree. The coffee chain also serves pumpkin scones and pumpkin cream cheese muffins.

Panera also has cleaned up the ingredients in its pumpkin spice latte this year by removing all artificial preservatives, and it’s also serving pumpkin pie bagels, served with a crumb topping and cinnamon crunch sugar. Local coffee chain Scooter’s is serving a pumpkin spice latte as well as a pumpkin smoothie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins. QuikTrip’s kitchens were scheduled to bring their pumpkin spice lattes and milkshakes back this week, and in the next week or two, they’ll add self-serve pumpkin spice cappuccino and pumpkin doughnuts.

Locally -owned businesses are serving pumpkin spice lattes, too, including coffee truck Sunflower Espresso, Espresso to Go Go at 102 N. St. Francis and Twisted Java Coffee Bar at 2615 W. 13th St. Mead’s Corner at 430 E. Douglas and Il Primo at Espresso Cafe at 6422 E. Central keep their pumpkin spice lattes on the menu year round.

Reverie Coffee Roasters at 2611 E. Douglas at will have its pumpkin spice latte back on the menu by October, and Verita Coffee Company at 9414 W. Central is in the process of developing one.

Doughnuts

Besides the aforementioned QuikTrip pumpkin doughnuts, several other local doughnut purveyors have them.

New-to-the-market Hurts Donut at 7010 W. 21st St. is making pumpkin spice cake doughnuts with a pumpkin spice latte glaze that uses real espresso. And the Donut Whole sometimes has them in stock, too. Earlier this month, it had a batch made with River City Brewery’s beer.

Krispy Kreme has a pumpkin spice cake doughnut and a pumpkin spice latte. And Dunkin’ Donuts has pumpkin latte and pumpkin cheesecake squares, doughnuts filled with smooth pumpkin cheesecake filling and topped with orange icing, crumbled graham cracker topping and white icing drizzle. LaMar’s Donuts also has pumpkin spice cake doughnuts and pumpkin spice lattes in stock. And Paradise Donuts on Saturday will bring back its pumpkin spice cake doughnuts made with real pumpkin. The shop’s pumpkin spice latte is available all year.

Ice cream

The annual wait for Freddy’s Frozen Custard’s pumpkin pie concrete came to an end earlier this week. The treat features a piece of pumpkin pie mixed into vanilla frozen custard and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. Dairy Queen also serves a Blizzard version of the treat.

Rita’s Italian Ice stores in Wichita carry pumpkin pie ice and pumpkin cheesecake ice during the fall season, and owner Jay Miller says they taste great mixed with frozen custard in a Blendini.

Red Robin also has on its menu a spiced pumpkin pie milkshake. Cold Stone Creamery has pumpkin ice cream back in its case, and later in the season, Baskin-Robbins will offer a pumpkin cheesecake ice cream. Braum’s and frozen yogurt stores like Orange Leaf also will have a pumpkin flavor later this fall.

Churn & Burn, the ice cream shop at 548 S. Oliver, has pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin spice ice cream; the shop also can make a pumpkin spice “Churn & Burn,” which mixes the drink with ice cream.

Though they’re not made with ice cream, local Smoothie King stores are selling pumpkin spice smoothies for a limited time.

Dessert

Auntie Anne’s, the pretzel purveyor in the mall, is selling pumpkin spice pretzel nuggets served with a side of light cream cheese dipping sauce.

Most of Wichita’s many cupcake shops also will offer pumpkin spice cupcakes. J Rae’s at 2357 N. Maize Road already has them on the shelves and will until Thanksgiving, and Cravings Gluten Free Bakery at 3700 E. Douglas has had them in stock this year, too.

Olive Garden’s pumpkin cheesecake is back on the menu, and so is LongHorn Steakhouse’s pumpkin spice lava cake.

Did I miss one? Let me know by commenting on my pumpkin spice post on my Facebook page, Facebook.com/diningwithdenise.

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