The air is crisp, school is beginning to get back in ession, and leaves are turning hues of gold and red and orange. But, it can be difficult to determine when the change of seasons actually takes place — I mean, the fall equinox on Sept. 22 seems pretty far into the fall season, so that can't be it! That said, I have the answer: Pumpkin Spice Oreos are back, so now, it's officially fall.
In an Instagram post, JunkBanter, a junk food review blog, announced the return of Pumpkin Spice Oreos to Target shelves. For the fourth season in a row, pumpkin spice superfans can extend their love of autumnal spices past Starbucks lattés and into the realm of actual food. With cinnamon- and nutmeg-infused creme sandwiched between two golden vanilla wafers, there's not much that can go wrong when it comes to Pumpkin Spice Oreos for those who stan for PSL flavors. The trend has become so pervasive at this point that an exclusively pumpkin spice-flavored diet is easily attainable. Suggested? No, definitely not. Achievable? I mean, yeah, sure.
But pumpkin spice was enchanting Americans for years: "Pumpkin Spice" is actually a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice, traditionally used to flavor pumpkin pie filling.
One of the earliest mentions of "pumpkin pie spices" came from the Washington Post in 1936, according to Chicagoist's deep dive on the PSL phenomenon. Delightfully titled "Spice Cake Of Pumpkin Newest Dish: Delicacy Tempting to All Appetites and Easy to Prepare. Ideal Dessert for Family Dinner, Healthful for Children," the recipe cast pumpkins as a popular food of "Italian peasantry." In reality, pumpkins were a crop developed by native tribes throughout the North American continent. They were often grown alongside beans and sunflowers on river and creek banks, according to AllAboutPumpkins.com. Traditionally, strips of pumpkin were roasted over fires, or dried, stored during the winter months and ground into flour.
The name "pumpkin," though, comes from the French word "pompon," as pumpkin strains were an early export to Europe. So although pumpkins were bring grown in America before America was America, they were considered a European crop for a number of centuries. That's where the first variations of pumpkin pie arose.
As spice giant McCormick began selling the traditional "spice cake of pumpkin" seasoning to consumers in the 1950s and '60s, the singular identity of "pumpkin spice," which does not include any actual pumpkin, became increasingly pervasive throughout American food culture. By the 1990s, "pumpkin spice" had begun being sold as both a color (you know, that sort of deep orange-y, decidedly "Autumn in Pottery Barn" vibe) and a fragrance (essentially, pie).
And then in 2004, Starbucks first introduced its now-infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte. What had been a fringe trend exploded into a cultural phenomenon. The original recipe consisted of Pumpkin Spice sauce with cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg, blended with espresso and steamed milk and topped off with whipped cream and a li'l dollop of pumpkin pie topping. That recipe remained essentially untouched, the OG PSL, even as pumpkin spice cereal, ice cream, cookies, tea and even wine (yes, really) took to the shelves.
And now, we are here. Nabisco's Oreos, who had seemingly perfected the perfect chocolate-and-vanilla cookie combination, has joined the game. And although the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latté will forever be the stalwart in the pumpkin spice food game, pumpkin spice Oreos are the newer, uniquely addicting harbingers of fall.
Also, they're delicious. Pick one up all season long at Target stores, and take all the Instagrams and Snapchats your lil' heart desires with them while you can.