Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Country Ma'am Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Translations are a tricky thing. Take the word "kaboucha", for instance. In Japanese, it means pumpkin. In English, the concept of a pumpkin is usually that of a big, round orange thing which you scoop the guts out of and carve weird faces in or make a pie from. In Japan, it's a small green thing that tastes like squash and you use it in stews or eat it as a vegetable side dish. It doesn't taste the same as an American pumpkin, yet it is nearly as versatile. Mainly, it just has a more potent hit of squash taste which tends to shine through more strongly when you use it in things like cookies and cakes.

If you buy any sweets with pumpkin included, you have to learn to expect that squash flavor. You also have to forget about any notion of spices being added to cut through the vegetable nature. There will be no cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger included.

There 16 individually wrapped cookies in the bag. Each cookie is 50 calories and quite small at 4 cm in diameter (1.6 in.). They are made with "pumpkin paste" and pumpkin-flavored chocolate chips. All of the chips are yellow to reflect this fact.

Country Ma'am cookies have a signature texture combination which you will find in every single cookie produced under that brand name. They are crunchy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. It's a very gratifying cookie on that front and lends itself to being heated in the microwave. There are instructions on the side of the bag advising you how long to heat them in the microwave or toaster oven.

These smell very faintly of squash and mostly just smell like a basic cookie. They are quite sweet, but not over the top. The balance of sugar with the vegetable taste of the pumpkin is well-matched. The chips are much sweeter than the cookie itself.

These are enjoyable, but a bit of an acquired taste. I think they slightly challenge the palate and that they won't be as tasty to people who have no experience with similar foods. Surprisingly, my husband liked these even though he doesn't like kaboucha (Japanese pumpkin). I wouldn't buy these again, but we'll finish the bag and I certainly don't regret having had a chance to sample them.


Kelly said...

See in Australia, we have these Japanese kent pumpkins which are the small green kaboucha, and then we have the normal pumpkins with the grey skin on the outside, and then the long butternut pumpkins.

I don't think i could eat pumpkin with spices with it, what a funny combination! I guess we are like the Japanese in that we like our pumpkins the way they are, they have plenty of taste without adding spices.

I think i would like these. Did you try the pumpkin kit kat? I really loved those.

Orchid64 said...

Some foods do well either sweet or savory and I think our responses to them are based on our upbringing. My former boss, who is also from Australia, told me that he grew up eating French toast as a savory breakfast. His mother served it with ketchup and he thought it was really strange that people ate it with powdered sugar or maple syrup.

I think how we regard pumpkin is similarly affected by what we're accustomed to. Most Americans grow up eating pumpkin mainly as a part of pie, but also cakes, or cookies. Pumpkin goes very well with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. It also goes very well with savory things like onions, garlic, and pepper. It's a bit like carrots in that regard. Carrots can also be done sweet or savory.

If you're ever feeling adventurous, I recommend giving pumpkin pie a shot. It's like a pumpkin quiche.

I think I tried a version of the pumpkin KitKat awhile ago, but I think various iterations are different. The one I tried was tiny little bite-size pieces with really shiny chocolate on the outside and I didn't care for it at all.