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, December 20, 2012

Trader Joe's Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

The packaging declares these cupcakes "Minty, delicious, and festive too!" Well, they're certainly minty and festive. On that other point, however, I might not agree so enthusiastically. It seems peppermint desserts like Pretzel Slims and Chocolate Covered Joe-Joe's can be hit or miss at TJ's. And new things like Peppermint Macarons are apparently fairly tasty. But, personally, I would call these cupcakes another miss.

Don't get me wrong, they didn't taste bad. They were moist, they had plenty of frosting, and as far as I can tell, they were made with quality ingredients. The icing tasted sweet, minty, and cream cheesy. But unlike other sweet frostings, I felt that the flavor conflicted with and overshadowed the chocolate cake part of the product. Chocolate and mint can easily complement one another. Just look at York Peppermint Patties or Andes candies. I'm not sure what exactly is working in those products that failed in this one, but I definitely tasted more peppermint cream cheese than chocolate cake.

It didn't taste like toothpaste, which is a plus. But it also didn't taste like a dessert to me. Even the cream cheese, sugar, and peppermint elements of the icing seemed to cancel each other out a bit, even before the chocolate came into play. Again, I could be wrong. There's a lot of positive buzz out there about these cupcakes. But I have to offer this dissenting opinion. There's nothing gross about them, but there's not really anything I would describe as "delicious" either. Sonia enjoyed them significantly more than I did, but she also admitted that she didn't see herself buying these again in the future. There are just too many other products at TJ's that we do find "delicious," and I don't want to waste my precious RDA for calories and fat on something I would say "meh" to.

I'll give these a very neutral 2.5 stars. Sonia gives them 3 stars.

Bottom line: 5.5 out of 10.


3 comments:

  1. Ever try there carrot cake muffins? I know what u mean about the cream cheese icing... I've learned u have to be cautious when it comes to TJ's desserts.I think they emphasize the less sugar and overkill w/the substitutes... substitutes aren't all that great for ya any how...butter is a lot better than margarine.. at least butter bakes up better and not full of crap that margarine is.

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  2. Well, here is an instance where our opinions diverge drastically... i LoVe these cupcakes!

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  3. KBF, agreed about sugar substitutes and butter!..no, I have never tried the carrot cake muffins.

    Justine, I know, a lot of people like these a lot...maybe I was just in an anti-peppermint mood...

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