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?"

Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trader Joe's Brownie Crisp

It started off innocently enough last week, and devolved pretty quickly from there. Who knew the question of "Is a Fig Newton a cookie or not?" could be hotly debatable? Generally, we try to avoid controversy and be some lighthearted fun here, but...In my review last week of Trader Joe's Fig Bites (basically, Fig Newtons), I referred to them once or twice as "cookies" which a few readers didn't agree with that classification.  Now, granted, when I think of the word "cookie," Fig Newtons aren't the first thing that comes to mind....maybe it's something like these or these, but if the word "cookie" can encompass decadent treats like these, well, there's room for a Fig Newton or two, too. I was about to laugh about it with some coworkers when I found that there's nearly a 50/50 split at my workplace, with those disagreeing with cookie classification agreeing more towards "pastry bar" because they were akin to NutraGrain bars, just smaller. This was despite the fact that Fig Newton packages say they are "fruit chewy cookies" and the Nabisco website even states that Fig Newtons are, in fact, cookies. I'm glossing over a lot here. This is how we make it through our nearly 50 hour weeks every week. Just glad we weren't called into the principal's office for all the ruckus this caused.

Well, if a Fig Newton could cause so much controversy, what can be wrought by Trader Joe's Brownie Crisp? God only knows.

These can be classified easily as a brownie based solely on their taste. To be honest, it's fairly surprising how much rich flavor gets packed into each bite - these are some powerfully chocolatey bites, in both the batter and the chips that are fairly sprinkled throughout. In fact, Sandy and I though we'd be clever and spread a little knockoff Nutella on them, and the brownie flavor completely overpowered it. Fierce cocoa here. But isn't part of the brownie experience texturally based? Whether cakey and dry or a little wet and smushy (the way I prefer), there's a little somethin'-somethin' to make a brownie a brownie, which these dry, crunchy, crispy critters just don't have. They're not even like the slightly burned edges you invariably get in a brownie pans - it's more like every drip of anything moisture related got slurped off, leaving behind only a crunchy, hard shell. That makes them lean more towards cookie but I'm not quite comfortbale calling them that, nor would I called them "crisps", per se. Crisps imply to mean thin crispy-crunchy bites, like a potato chip, while these are decidedly thicker and crunchier.

So...I don't know what I'd call these brownie-ish bites, except good. Really darn good. There's some added bonuses which kick them a few notches on up. First, check out the nutritionals: That's not that bad for such a decadent treat! Just one or two crunchy cookie crumbles get me my chocolate fix. Plus, these are both vegan and gluten-free, meaning even more folks can enjoy them. Fairly inclusive, mostly guilt free, and pretty tasty? Yes please! These facts make me happy enough to rate them a little higher than I would otherwise.

We've gone to TJ's a few times a week, and thus far it seems like these fellas may have the nasty habit of mysteriously jumping into our cart. Sandy's enamored with them enough to give them a perfect five. I'm close to that. The chocolate, although pretty good, seems a little one note on repeated bites, so I wish these had a little more variation, or had some nuts or mint or sea salt or some other kind of flavor put on in. Also, the brownie flavor was enough to make me wish I were eating an actual slightly goopy moist brownie, and I just couldn't shake that.

So are these brownies? Or cookies? Or crisps? Something else? Let's discuss this below in the comments. Much like the second package we got this week, I'm open for a good time.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Brownie Crisp: 9.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons





  

24 comments:

  1. I don't care what Nabisco's websites says, everybody knows Newtons are "fruit and cake."

    No idea what these things are, though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like Sheila's Brownie Brittle http://browniebrittle.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheila's is not gluten free and vegan. So it has to be a small company or a brand new company.

      Delete
  3. Yup.... exactly like Sheila ' s Brownie Brittle but less expensive. Wish TJS had Sheila ' s variety though - Mint Chocolate Chip, Toffee & Salted Caramel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But Sheila's is not gluten free and vegan. It has to be a smaller company or a new baking company.

      Delete
  4. I have a recent addiction to Brownie Brittle, and have a package coming with their three other flavors to try =) How much are the TJ's version? I got my original bag at Costco, so not particularly expensive for a full pound of brittle...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I live in Seattle and I think it was under $3 for 5oz.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Huh. And I thought the taste was...."off."

    It seems like I should like these. So after a day or so, I'd try another one.

    Nope, still yuck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brett-spread some Nutella or peanut butter on one piece and place another piece on top of it to make a sandwich.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have not seen these yet at TJs. I am not sure where they would be stocked as this TJs has a confusing set-up. They're only starting to shift it around to be more logical but it's still a hassle to find everything. I tend to stick to what I usually get because it's a hassle to try something new.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I bought two bags as soon as I saw these at the store. The first bag was great--crispy, not too sweet, really good with milk. The second bag from the moment it was opened seemed stale and had that weird stale cookie texture that's not chewy but not crispy either. Not sure what happened between those bags.

    ReplyDelete
  10. We got the last bag at our store (after devouring the first). I find that they do get a little crumbly towards the bottom - but all the better to use as an ice cream topping.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is exactly the amazing solution I came up with for the Brownie Brittle crumbs I had left. Didn't want to throw away that deliciousness =) I mix them up with vanilla ice cream. Delish =D

      Delete
  11. I agree with another commenter... has a strong off flavor. I'm 99% sure it is the chickpea. It gives the crisps a musty, almost burnt flavor. Also adds a chalky after-texture. Would love to try a wheat flour version, but props to TJ for gluten-free and vegan products. I could snack on the chocolate chips in this thing straight up though LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Must be the chickpea content and I don't like 'em and I love everything chocolate. Still in my cupboard weeks later, and I thought they wouldn't last the evening.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a poor comparison to Shiela's. I am usually ok with the TJ version of products but these are a weird burnt chalky chocolate concoction. I am a chocoholic and I could only handle three of these before I gave up. The Brownie Brittle by Shiela's is worth shelling the extra bucks for. What a tease!

    ReplyDelete
  14. These are really dang good! As a vegan I appreciate being able to buy a cookie (that I didn't have to bake myself) which I can dunk in some almond milk. P.S I'm 99% sure these are Lucy's brand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes. I just tasted the lucy's brand. the ingredients and taste are the same.

      Delete
  15. I like them, I don't love them. They are a nice taste of chocolate but not overpowering. Texture is a bit off. Lots of breakage in my bag. Lot of crumbs at bottom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The crumbs are amazing on top of vanilla ice cream =)

      Delete
  16. Oh dear, oh dear, I thought they were horrible. Threw them out. :(

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh dear, oh dear, I thought they were horrible. Threw them out. :(

    ReplyDelete
  18. I will never understand how people can throw out perfectly good food. Take it to work or give to a friend =P

    ReplyDelete
  19. Old post, but these are horrible. I'm going to return them.

    ReplyDelete