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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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Trader Joe's Kettle Corn Cookies

I like kettle corn ok, but I'm not a fanatic. I like crispy cookies ok, too, but again—not really a fanatic. However, there's something about these cookies that makes them just slightly more than the sum of their parts—It could simply be the novelty of having popcorn inside a cookie. But let's explore that possibility, shall we?

In the past, we've reviewed Trader Joe's White Cheddar Popcorn and Trader Joe's Popcorn with Herbs and Spices, both of which garnered average-ish scores. But when they played it safe and simply offered plain organic kernels, they pretty much nailed it. So TJ's track record with gimmicky popcorn-things is not particularly noteworthy for good or ill, and yet if TJ's offers us something unique with popcorn, then we, intrepid TJ's taste-testers that we are, will go right ahead and buy it. We're always up for something new. And purchasing these colorfully-packaged snacks is rather like attending a cheap circus in a parallel universe where children snack on popcorn-filled cookies rather than on cotton candy or peanuts.

I'm not sure what I meant by that last statement, either. But rest assured, it has deep significance and needs to remain in this blog post. I think what I meant to say was that these cookies are new and novel, and yet there's something quite classic about them, too—there's a familiarity about them that makes them seem as if they could be an integral part of America's snacking culture, as common as hot dogs or bubblegum. Maybe they will become a new classic. I don't know.

They combine the buttery goodness of sugar cookies with traditional kettle popcorn. And the popcorn not only adds to the look and texture of the cookies, but it also adds a surprising yet welcome twist in the flavor department. You can actually taste corn. And it blends in very well. Someone should try making sugar cookies with corn flour. Trader Joe, I'm looking at you, buddy. I think they might turn out to be quite tasty.

On the down side, they're very crumbly. I hate getting crumbs everywhere. And you can forget about eating these in the car or on the couch. Unless you have mad crumb-catching skills. Which I definitely don't.

Sonia is on a diet of sorts, so I had to force her to eat a few of these cookies. I reminded her that she helped pick them out, so she was obligated to eat some. She couldn't argue with my profound logic, so she quickly ingested one. "They're pretty good I guess, for what it is," she said. "I prefer, like, regular cookies."

She gives them 3 stars. I give 'em 3.5.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

10 comments:

  1. Tried these, not bad... btw if u have tried the Pistachio cookies be careful.. I bit down on what I thought was a nut and it wasn't!! it was a frickin' seed!.. almost broke my tooth...I am leery about tj's cookies that have 'nuts'... they aren't kidding when they have that disclosure about certain foods being processed in certain equipment.

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  2. Lol, KBF! We will be careful with TJ's nut cookies. Thanks for the heads up. And thanks for always commenting first on our posts, too!

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  3. I tried the kettle corn cookies a while back and i think i bit down on an unpopped kernel and got a similar unpleasant surprise. I just know a general negative image lingers in my mind when i think of these.

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  4. New to your blog and have enjoyed the reviews. Anyway you could add a photo of the actual food to your reviews? Curious as to what one of these cookies looks like! Thx

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  5. Hope I'm not the 50th person to ask. I love your blog, but please post pictures of the product inside the wrapper! Makes all the difference. Thanks so much for trying everything so we don't have to :)

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  6. My husband and I love these cookies! I brought them to work (along with Trader Joe's chocolate shortbread ones) and my co-workers said they were in heaven.

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  7. I am open to most things TJ but Kettle Corn Cookies sounds very unpleasant to me. If you had given these a top score I might have tried them but since you didn't, I am off the hook.

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  8. I hear ya, bentley. There are some TJ's products I can virtually guarantee people will like. This isn't one of them, although I can't guarantee you wouldn't like them either...

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  9. I love these cookies, but not enough people like them as much as I do. Trader Joe's discontinued them this month :-(

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  10. I love this cookie too, and was sad to discover they have been discontinued.

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