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Monday, October 14, 2019

Trader Joe's Boo Bark

I just happened to Google the name of this product to refresh my memory on the price of the item, and I came across some people selling it on poshmark for $20. Twenty friggin' dollars! I mean, I knew there was a kind of Trader Joe's black market out there for discontinued and hard-to-find items, but my goodness. That's highway robbery. It's normally $2.99 in the store. I'm guessing it's either done for the season already or it will be very soon. So, unless you're willing to pay an absurd markup to the online scalpers, most of you won't get your hands on this product until fall of 2020, assuming TJ's brings it back.

Also—I love how it's described as "used" by the online re-seller. Lol! I wonder if that means it's half-eaten when you get it. this product really worth $20? Is it even worth $2.99. I'd say NO to the former question and yes, perhaps, to the latter.

It's mostly milk chocolate. There's also a fair amount of white chocolate in the form of swirls on top of the base, as well as white chocolate eyeballs. It flaunts four or five pieces of candy corn and a bunch of orange "candy gems," AKA generic M&M's. Last but not least, there are Joe-Joe's cookie pieces in the mix.

I was surprised how well all of the elements blended together, to be honest. I feel like somebody somewhere had to put candy corn and chocolate together previously. This can't be the first time it's been done. I was shocked how much I liked it. It doesn't sound good: sweet, waxy triangles with smooth, creamy milk chocolate. But in my humble opinion, they taste pretty darn good together. Sonia's not a fan, but then she hates candy corn.

The cookies, the eyeballs, the M&M's—they all work somehow. Sonia wishes there were more cookies, since they yield a more interesting texture than simple chocolate on chocolate. All of the elements are nothing but sweet, sugary, desserty things—all things kids might get on Halloween. Why not smoosh them all together and make a single slab of chocolatey candy?

For parents that don't let their kids trick or treat, this might be a way to smooth things over with Junior if he just wanted some good candy on All Hallows' Eve—a peace offering, if you will. Sonia thinks this product would be a great favor for fall parties. There's a fun theme going on, and the presentation factor is nice. It's really just a big block of chocolate and Halloween-themed sweets, but if you're not expecting anything more than that, you won't be disappointed. Four stars from me. Sonia was grumpy when she ate her half, so she said "three stars." I know her well, and I'm certain she'd give it a better score had her mood been a little better. So put her down for three and a half, at least.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Trader Joe's Apple Cider Cookies

Can there be anything better than some good ol' apple cider?

Drink it cold. mmm, refreshment. So much more refined than apple juice. All that pressed apple goodness...but cold. Sweet and a little spicy from nutmeg and cloves and whatnot. I could guzzle it by the gallon.

Drink it hot. Oh goodness. Perfect for those times when coffee wouldn't be right but a cup of tea just wouldn't do. Let those flavors expand and deepen and warm ya up on a cold windy fall day.

And it goes practically without saying that hard apple cider or even apple cider-flavored bourbons are pretty darn good for their own reasons as well.

And then there's apple cider cake, apple cider donuts....and things like Teader Joe's Apple Cider Cookies. Apple cider in edible, crunchified, not drinkable form. What a wonderful world in which we live.

Not gonna lie: as a family we LOVE these cookies. My one daughter wants to give them 245 golden spoons if she could, which I'm fairly certain would be a blog record. Practically every one of us fervently begs for them, and I may or may not have eaten half the container yesterday.

There's no mistaking the true apple cider taste of these cookies. They're apple-y sweet, with a small bit of tartness, just like a good regular apple cider. There's a small touch of the usual cider spices to round them out. Pretty awesome, although a bit hard. I would have preferred a crumblier cookie for more of a "melt-in-your-mouth" feel but seeing as that apple puree is an ingredient here, that may not have been possible. They're also a bit on the dry side, but there's a perfect remedy for that...

Yes, they do combine well with milk, but that's not what I had in mind. If you happen to have a little TJ's cinnamon bun spread, or even better, maple butter on hand, put a little dab on and make a little sandwich cookie. You'll thank me. It's like a full taste of fall, completely sans basic pumpkin spice craziness. Awesome.

We love 'em. $3.49 for a good sized tub. Go get 'em. Cidertastic.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Apple Cider Cookies: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Trader Joe's Fall Leaf Corn Tortilla Chips

I'll never forget my 9th grade biology leaf project. We had to collect and meticulously preserve dozens and dozens of leaves from different tree species around our area. The process involved begging one's parents and/or older siblings to drive all over Franklin County, PA looking for various types of trees, plucking a number of pristine specimens from the branches, and then painstakingly placing them between construction paper and contact paper. We had to label them, write about them, be able share several facts about them, and we most definitely had to know their scientific binomial nomenclature.

"Mr. Rodgers!" Mrs Grove's voice boomed. "What is the common name for Acer Rubrum???" If I'd have said anything other than the correct answer, I'd have been humiliated in front of my classmates. There'd have been some insult to my intelligence as well as a personal slander of some sort. Tidbits of local gossip were fair game. It was terrifying. Fortunately, I'd studied the night before and remembered that, in fact, Acer Rubrum meant "red maple."

Unfortunately, that's about all I remember from Louise Grove's Advanced Biology class. And knowing the binomial nomenclature for various trees has come in handy exactly zero times in the real world. I mean, I might have impressed a nerdy girl or two in college as we walked around campus at Penn State in the fall, but nothing ever came of those moments, either. I can confidently say that some of these chips are shaped like maple leaves and oak leaves. What that third kind is—that kind of ovally, rounded one with a pointed tip—well, your guess is as good as mine.

In the end, it doesn't matter. The colors and shapes all taste the same. Fortunately, they all taste like good quality stone-ground corn with some salt and oil. They're not too thick, not too thin, and nice and crunchy. 

They're perfect for dipping, or as the back of the bag states, "for awesomely autumnal nachos." We've been having them with the harvest salsa, and the pairing works very well. They'd go well with just about any kind of salsa for that matter, but you know, we're just sticking with the fall theme we've got going on here. The chips are prone to getting stale rather quickly. We stored "in a cool, dry place" as per the bag, but they're noticeably less fresh after having been open just a day or so. Maybe we should've poured the remainder of the bag into tupperware...?

Fun fall-themed snacks. No pumpkin, no apple, no maple flavor. Admittedly, they're a bit gimmicky, but they don't disappoint as far as flavor and quality are concerned. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from this guy.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.