A Secret of Pennsylvania

How does one truly define the essence of Autumn? In America, it can pretty much be summed up in two words:

PUMPKIN SPICE

This phenomenon hits people in more ways than a latte. It transcends a coffee flavor and far beyond candles and breads. So what does this have in relation to Pennsylvania? Well, if you have not been paying much attention, Pennsylvania is the home to numerous amounts of incredible snack foods. The best pretzels, Snyders; the best chips, Herrs or Utz, depending who you ask (Utz Crab Chips are the best); the classic chocolate company, Hershey; just for a few choice examples. Honestly Pennsylvania is Snack Country.

No snack food will ever turn me into a monster roaming the house looking for food except cookies. I had been on the wagon for months. As long as I don’t imbibe with cookies I remain on good standing, guilt free sugar intake.

Then family came to town. Fresh out of the car from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, arrives my man’s mother and pops. I hear her repeatedly bring up these cookies she brought for him. I continued to ignore the situation. I was not falling of the wagon. I heard about the cookies, knew they were open somewhere in the house and I remained steadfast. Until the metaphorical wagon hit a pothole, and I went tumbling off. Back off gingersnaps, you are no….

Sweetzles

Heavily spiced, and dense wafers with Blackstrap Molasses. I will never be the same.

The origin of Pumpkin Spice craze starts with Pennsylvania. I had no idea these cookies were a thing. Many of us are ignorant to anything outside of Ginger Snaps. Well let me tell you, we have been missing out!

Are you an Ivin’s or a Sweetzles family? This answer matters greatly, apparently as it has been relayed to me. They only grace the shelves of groceries for two months; October and November. Then as quickly as the leaves fall, the cookies disappear along with the red and yellows of the trees. They are a PS commodity.

There are only three cookies of this particular genre. The others that I have googled have been thin and wafer-esque. This also applies to the Williams Sonoma Moravian Spice Cookie. The one exception is Stauffers Original Pumpkin Spice Snaps, which I now have to try. Whatever I ingested can only be described as an Autumn Shortbread cookie. It is dense enough to actually fill you up. Luckily this helps balance the gorge worthy flavor profile. I suppose one could say it is in the “Moravian Cookie” family but much more hefty than the traditional. Naturally this means it is best paired with coffee, tea or more traditionally, apple cider.

Now back to the Rivalry

See the source image
See the source image

Ivin’s is the OG. It came first and without me having tried them I do not get to have an opinion. I do not believe it is in my best interest to have anymore of these cookies. But what I do know is that Acme Supermarkets bought Ivin’s and contracted Sweetzles to produce them. Don’t worry, they kept the recipes separate. I suppose this is so the people in Pennsylvania can still argue over which is better.

All I know is that shortly after the family left, a shipment of Sweetzles came to the house that I may or may not have instigated the purchase of. It only seemed fair since we had not partaken in Girl Scout Cookies for a couple years- ok maybe it was just 2020 but still.

Also, if you have ever found yourself pondering the intricacies of Autumnal spices you may want to read the Spice Showdown.

“Sweetzels® is a household name in Philadelphia. Mention warm apple cider, a glowing fire, or pumpkin picking on the farm, and you’ll have any East Coast native craving a box of our original Spiced Wafers. Family owned and operated Sweetzels has been baking and packaging all of our products in the United States for over 100 years.” Sweetzels is based in Flourtown. Yes, Flourtown, PA. Is that not over the top cute? I mean, COME ON!

Ginger Snap VS Spiced Wafer

As I mentioned earlier, the spiced wafer has a much more dramatic flavor profile. This sets the stage for ginger snaps to suddenly become lack luster. Poor guys. I implore you to treat yourself to the epitome of the Autumn essence and have a delivery sent to your house too. Maybe not six boxes but no less than 2! One bite and instant visions of large, colorful Maple leaves, carved pumpkins and quaint Northeastern towns will flood the mind. Enjoy!

PS- Here is a recipe for a Sweetzels hack. I have yet to try it but I have it on very good authority that it is legit. DIY Spiced Wafers

Happy Fall!

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