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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Monday, June 25, 2012

Trader Joe's Almond Croissants

I'll admit it: Sandy and I were bad on Sunday. B-a-d bad. Let's go in reverse here. We went to a Greek food festival for lunch, where after our gyros and stuffed grape leaves got settled in, both of us shared a plateful of baklava, halvadopites, and other assorted goodies. Awesome stuff. This was right after being at church, where for some unknown reason, someone brought in white chocolate cranberry scones and brownies which we both felt a little inclined to, err, "sample" and make sure they tasted good (oh, they did). That by itself is still kinda bad, all that pastry/baked goods tastiness, but when you include what we had for breakfast, well, it's a whole 'nother level.

Oh yeah, we had Trader Joe's Almond Croissants. One of my coworkers tipped me off about the croissants, and Sandy and I finally spotted them on the freezer aisle on Saturday. Let me tell you this right off the bat: a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Oh goodness. These might have been the best thing we ate all day, and that says a lot. Upon first bite, I was in love. The buttery, crispy outer shell gave way to soft, warm flaky, melt-in-your mouth innards that were so rich, sweet and almondy that it tasted almost creamy, if that makes any sense. It was almost like eating straight-up almond paste in croissant form, with toasted almonds on top adding a complementary crunch.

If I chose to, I could have a couple quibbles. The product's real name is "Trader Joe's 4 Almond Croissants," which is goofy enough for me to refuse to really acknowledge it. There's not four types of almonds in these croissants (are there even four types of almonds?), nor just four almonds per croissant, which is the name seems it would imply over just the quantity in the box. More so, this is the rare easy-to-make treat that requires some significant planning ahead, because they have to proof overnight (ours roughly quintupled in size) and then need about 25 minutes in the oven. Because of that, these aren't doable for our normal rush-out-the-door-to-work kinda morning, but that's okay. These nutty croissants are meant to enjoy leisurely with a cup of your favorite coffee, unless TJ's discontinues yours, like they did with mine. A couple batches of these would steal the show at pretty much any brunch, and while it'd be disingenuous, I'd dare you to try and pass them off as your own. As for the nutritional facts...it's a freakin' croissant, what do you expect?

"There's really not anything that these could do any better," Sandy said between bites. Oh, I agree. No complaints at all. I just wish I remembered we had some powdered sugar I could've sprinkled on top before serving them up, but that's what next time's for. Until then, we'll be dreaming of these pastry Pantheon-worthy perfections.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Almond Croissants: 9.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. My husband is a lover of bear claws- are these similar to that almondy goodness? We have had the TJ's chocolate croissants (amazing) and will definitely have to give these a try now.

  2. It sounds like I need to try the chocolate croissants. While I love almonds, and I love sweets, for some reason I have never liked marzipan or almond paste-type treats. Does anyone else have that aversion?

  3. Looking forward to trying these as I'm a big fan of the Chocolate ones.

    Yeah, a big drawback is the proofing, but after you've tasted them, I think it's safe to say anyone would expend the extra energy in waiting a day for these bad boys!


  4. love the chocolate version, will have to try the almond.

    btw - i believe it is called '4 almond croissants' because they are packaged in sets of 4, not that tjs is suggesting that there are 4 types of almonds.

  5. Agreed, completely delicious!

  6. It has been a while see I looked for these in my TJ's but as soon as it cools down enough that I am willing to turn on my oven, I am going to pick these up.

  7. Ohhhh so good! Almost as good as my favourite local bake shop's twice baked almond croissant, but really such great value for what you're getting at TJs (same price for 4 TJ croissants as it is for one at the local bakeshop).

  8. You convinced me. I ran out to TJ's and bought a couple packs of these bad boys and they really are quite tasty. One thing... did yours take 25 minutes to cook? I know ovens vary, but mine took less than half that time to get dark brown and start oozing filling. This seems to happen with a lot of Trader Joe's products. If I cook per instructions, I burn things. And I've moved a few times, so I know it's not just my oven.

  9. I really think you should warn people before they try these, I am going to do so in hopes of someone else reading my comment. YOUR LIFE WILL BE ALTERED if you eat these. Not only are they the best croissants I have ever had, I mean it ever! No I have not been to France but I have had a ton of fresh baked artisan ones and honestly these little Pillows of Joy exceed them All! I thank you both for setting me free from the impoverished life I was living before I tried these...I went to the store and bought most of your list of Pantheon level I have already tried a few things including these babies. I am having so much fun!

  10. Honest Mom, I had the same experience--package said 20-25 minutes, I put them in for 20, and they were almost burnt. I have had the same experience with the paneer tikka masala and several other products--TJ's test kitchen ovens must run very cool.

  11. I should have looked further as I knew these should be on TJs "best" list. But I agree with others you can't leave these as long as the instructions say.

  12. Ladies Ladies... about the croissants. All you have to do is put them in a slightly warm oven, and go to bed. When I say slightly warm oven, Place them on their baking pan in the oven, with the door closed, and just turn on the oven at about 150-200 for like 3-4 minutes. TURN OFF THE OVEN, and leave the croissants on their baking sheet in the slightly warm oven with the door closed. Go to bed. Next morning just turn the oven on at the right temp and bake... They will rise all night, and next morning in the blink of an eye you'll have your lovelies. No waiting at all because you'll be asleep. It's like the tooth fairy.