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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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter Cheesecake Bites

If it isn't time to file a class action lawsuit against Trader Joe's for their obvious attempt to kill us all, then I'm just not sure what course of action to take. But we must do something. They could be spending their time and energy making more tasty fruit snacky things or bags of heroic kale...but it seems like nearly half of all their new products are cookie butter-oriented these days. Cookie Butter Cookies, for cryin' out loud! And as if it were necessary, they developed something that could be more easily shoveled down their customers' gullets than the original Cookie Butter Cheesecake—which was quite possibly the best-tasting item I've ever had from TJ's, or maybe anywhere.

I fully realize my own role in this sick scheme—bringing more fame to the fiendish cookie butter phenomenon and lavishing these indulgent products with perfect scores and glowing reviews, sending word about these addictive substances all across cyberspace. Believe me, I'm not proud. And why even review this product at all? Don't we already know everything we need to know about this sinister cheesecake?

Well, yes and no. Aside from the obvious size and shape difference, TJ's has found a way to dramatically reduce the calorie-count in each serving down to a measly 90. (Hooray! This is practically diet food!) But that's probably due to the fact that each serving is an extremely tiny square—a square that will do nothing but make you want to eat at least 5 more. The price has dropped from about $7 for the original cheesecake down to $4.49 for these bites at our local store—but there's less than half as much cheesecake in there (10.6 oz as compared with 22.5 oz).

The cheesecake bites still have the same signature speculoos cookie crust and the same amazing cheesecake base, but the cookie butter topping is significantly different. If you look back to the photo of the original Cookie Butter Cheesecake, you'll note that it was a firm, solid mass spread evenly across the entire crown of the cake. Now with these bites, you'll find a creamy cookie butter swirl unevenly applied across the top of the cheesecake. Honestly, I like the swirl a lot better. And because of that, I can't lower my perfect score. The value isn't as good, the size and shape is less practical—unless, as one reader put it, you're looking for "built-in portion control" (Good luck with that, my friend). BUT, if it were possible, I'd say the cookie butter swirl topping results in an even more pleasing taste and texture. Sonia prefers the original topping and will dock half a point for the drop in the cake:cost ratio. But still, I feel obligated to bestow this decadent dessert with Pantheon status. I've had some extremely delicious cheesecake bites in my day, but these Speculoos Cookie Butter Bites take the cake.

Bottom line: 9.5 out of 10.

13 comments:

  1. I just got back from TJs. I never check the dessert section, but I would have if I'd seen this review. *shakes fist* Maybe next time.

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    1. It's crazy they don't set up end caps or big store displays to promote new products like this in the stores...

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    2. That would be way too dangerous!
      I tried these at a friends place and even this gal, who's not the biggest cheesecake or cookie butter fan really liked em.

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  2. Replies
    1. Unless you're on a diet. In which case, it's a nightmare :)

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  3. Agh, this sounds absolutely delicious! I will have to give it a shot the next time I make it out to a TJ! Thank you for the review. :)

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    1. You're welcome, Julia. Hope you like them!

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  4. Never liked cheesecake, and a have barely made a dent in the speculum cookie cocoa swirl I got there (tastes like chocolaty motor oil). But enjoy, lol.

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  5. I was a bit disappointed compared to the incredibly delicious seasonal version (full cake). Here the cheesecake is sweeter and is vanilla-flavored. The cinnamon taste is stronger, when speculoos is supposed to balance several spices.
    It's still good and addictive, but I wish they had brought back the winter version instead.

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  6. (shaking fist) Darn you, Cookie Butter Crack House! DARN YOU!!!!

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  7. My favorite favorite thing I've gotten at TJs, and yes, incredibly hard ot just have one or two bites.

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  8. I'm super happy you shared this review because I've been looking for new desserts to try. I love the cute little pieces. My sister and I have pretty low cheesecake tolerance, so we always share a single bite. Hurray for portion control!

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