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Friday, November 25, 2022

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels


I've studied our analytics enough to know that nobody reads our blog over Thanksgiving weekend, so here's a throwaway review made special just for today!

Why is it throwaway? Two main reasons. One: people are sick of pumpkin spice by this time of year, including me, sort of. Two: we've already reviewed this product, well, not exactly, but sort of.


The last time we reviewed this product, it was called Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Slims rather than Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels. I think we actually complained during that review that the pretzels weren't actual pretzels but just flat pretzel "slims" or skins. 

Well, I guess we should be grateful because these are actual pretzels—teeny tiny pretzels, in fact, in case you hadn't gathered that by the name of the product or the name of this post or the picture of the miniature pretzels on the bag or the picture of the mini pretzels in this review.

Mini pretzels covered in that "yogurt flavored" coating—which functions more like white chocolate than yogurt—with pumpkin spice and pumpkin seeds on top is indeed what we have here, and it tastes exactly like its predecessor. I like this version a tad bit more because they used three-dimensional pretzels this time, but neither Sonia nor I like them enough to raise our score. 

Eight is enough for Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels, which probably aren't around anymore this year. Catch 'em in the fall of 2023 if you're into this sort of thing. Or bust 'em out of the back of the pantry now and munch on 'em in between leftover turkey sandwiches since I reminded you that they're actually pretty decent and snackable. $2.99 for the resealable bag.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Trader Joe's This Coconut Brings Chocolate on a Date Bars


This product isn't very Thanksgivingy, is it? Not at first glance, no. But just think of all the travel that will be happening this week. You'll be stuck in the car with ravenous kids and nowhere to pull over. Everyone will be screaming that they're hungry while you're driving over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house you go, and then you'll remember you brought a box of Trader Joe's This Coconut Brings Chocolate on a Date Bars.

Convenient? Of course. Just five ingredients—that's a plus. The texture: soft, chewy, moist, with little bits of coconut swimming all throughout. Both Sonia and I like the mouthfeel just fine.


As far as the taste goes, this will be the second product in a row where we disagree. Sonia says the chocolate throws the whole thing off. She'd rather have a 100% fruit and coconut bar. We've seen those before: Trader Joe's Apple + Coconut Bar.

I think the chocolate is done exceptionally well in this instance: there's both non-sweet chocolate and cocoa powder, and it rounds out the product with a rich, dark indulgent quality that plain fruit bars lack. I'll plow through this box all by myself with little or no help from the beautiful wifey. Also, the size of the bars is absolutely perfect for keeping the blood sugar up and holding the munchies at bay.

As an aside, I should mention that I'm not sure why there appears to be a big white patch on the bar in the photo I took. It almost looks like a weird white mold on the bar. I assure you it didn't look like that in real life. Must have been a trick of the light or something.

$3.69 for five bars. Five? Why not six? Hmm. I'd still buy 'em again. Sonia probably wouldn't. Three stars from her. I've gotta throw out at least four and a half to keep Trader Joe's This Coconut Brings Chocolate on a Date Bars in the realm of respectability.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Trader Joe's Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies


Is this jumping the gun? It's not quite the Christmas season yet in my book. Thanksgiving should get its rightful day in the sun, for sure. I mean, on one hand, this product has been available at Trader Joe's for at least a couple weeks now, and I do know people that do Christmas movies, decorations, trees, you name it, starting the day after Halloween. Even I think that's too early. In our household, as well as the house I grew up in, the Christmas season officially begins the day after Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday. The tree goes up in all its glory, the decorations come out, and the Christmas song playlist begins.

I'll make an exception with this product since it's not overtly Christmassy. One could make an argument that gingerbread is fair game at Thanksgiving. Furthermore, folks need to know in advance whether this is a worthy holiday season purchase or not. So...is it? In short, Sonia will tell you an enthusiastic "yes!" and I'll give you a lackluster "meh."

There's nothing inherently wrong with these cookies. They're soft rather than crispy, which is a plus as far as we're concerned. They taste relatively fresh and gingery, although there's very little actual raw ginger flavor. They're more like stereotypical dessert-ish gingerbread. I'm not big into the sandwich cookie format always, but I must admit it works here. That's one of Sonia's favorite parts—the huge amounts of cream cheese-based filling. You can even see in the photo some of the specimens are just bursting at the seams with sweet cream icing. It might be overkill in a few instances, but the average cookie in the box is balanced pretty well in terms of filling versus gingerbread.


Sonia keeps going back for several cookies throughout the course of each day, whereas I've tired of the flavor for the most part. They still taste fresh enough. I guess I'm just not a huge gingerbread cookie fan. Also, there are big granules of sugar that crunch when you chew them. It makes me think the enamel on my teeth is crumbling with each and every bite. And the aftertaste, while not particularly pungent, has an odd baking soda essence.

At around five bucks for 18 cookies, it's hard to complain about the value-factor. Still, I don't think I'll muster more than three holiday stars for these wintry cookies. Sonia will tell you I'm wrong and that they're a great early Christmas season treat and would be perfect for parties. Four and a half stars from her. If you've tried these, let us know in the comments who's right and who's wrong about Trader Joe's Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.