Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Ginger Snaps

Oh SNAP! These ginger cookies are gluten free!

Once again we have a Trader Joe's victory in gluten free-flavor, and uh...a Trader Joe's...valiant effort in gluten-free texture.

There's an unexpected lemoniness to these cookies that makes them delightful at first bite. There's also a gingeriness, but...that's to be expected. I have mixed feelings about ginger. It's good for you. That's good. In cookies, it can add flavor. That's good. Sometimes it adds too much flavor. That's bad. There's ginger beer. That's good. There's ginger tea. That's bad. Ginger by itself is nasty as heck. That's bad.

And ginger snaps? Well, they're hit or miss. They're generally a bit dry and snappy, which would kind of seem to lend them to a gluten-free form. But, unfortunately, in my humble opinion, these were a bit too dry and snappy. Like tear-up-your-mouth-by-the-second-cookie kind of dry and snappy. Like "Is the blood in my mouth adding or detracting from the taste of these delightful snacks?" kind of dry and snappy.

Sonia, on the other hand, liked them a lot. She sees where I'm coming from in the rips-your-mouth-to-shreds-worse-than-six-bowls-of-Captain-Crunch department. But I think her mouth is a little more resilient than mine, what with three-plus decades of real Mexican spices and L.A. food truck cuisine to build up her resistance to oral battery such as these weaponized cookies.

Seldom in life will you come across such a tasty food that has such a ridiculously inhospitable texture. I really wanted to eat more...but I could not bear the pain. It's something like drinking a Slurpee and getting a brain freeze, but instead of it being cold liquid, it's just ultra-crispy cookies. If I were to break down my 5 potential stars into 2.5 stars for taste and 2.5 stars for texture, these get all 2.5 stars in the flavor arena, and none of the stars in the texture arena. That might be a little harsh, but I'm still compulsively tonguing the roof of my mouth to see if it's healed yet. I say if you've got a mouth of steel—or if you're on a gluten-free diet and you need a tasty cookie, try them. Otherwise, steer clear.

Sonia gives them a 4. She's one tough cookie...just like these Ginger Snaps.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10


  1. They make the best crusts!! Crushed ginger snaps, butter and a little sugar. Layer on top a pumpkin pie filling and you've got yourself a GF pie. Yum. :)


    1. Thanks for the great idea. I've been struggling to figure out a gluten free pie crust.

  2. That sounds like a great pie crust. Thanks for the tip Christina!

  3. I don't know. My TJs has started to sell other gluten-free cookies, and they don't try to murder my mouth.

  4. I absolutely love these cookies: polishing some off as breakfast right now! Ok, so it's not the healthiest choice, but these are that good!!!

  5. I'm converting Paula Deen's Pumpkin pie cheesecake recipe to GF and stumbled across your blog when I googled TJ's ginger snaps. I'll definitely be back, love your humor.

  6. Yes indeedy, ginger snaps make the best pie crust for so many kinds of filling. I'm eating right now a lemon icebox pie (easy sweetemed condensed milk kind heavy on the lemon juice/zest, my favorite) w/homemade whipped cream & a ginger snap/butter/sugar crust and loving it so much I came to the computer to see if there are GF ginger snaps so I can make one for the family, which includes 3 Celiacs. And sure enough, good old Trader Joe.

  7. We need to get these back on the shelf!!!
    They keep my stomach calm