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, August 5, 2015

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter Cream Cheese

In a shadowy boardroom somewhere in Monrovia, California, a clandestine meeting recently took place. TJ's crack product development team had been gathered to formulate something diabolically delicious, cookie buttery, and hopelessly addictive.

"What we need is a cookie butter product that's spreadable," said Big Joe thoughtfully, thumbing the collar of his Hawaiian shirt.

There was an awkward pause. The product developers looked at each other with raised eyebrows. One young man timidly raised his hand and spoke with a squeaky, wavering voice, "Uh, sir, Original Speculoos Cookie Butter is spreadable. Same with the Crunchy Cookie Butter. Also Cookie and Cocoa Swirl."

Big Joe stewed for a moment, eyed his subordinates coolly, and considered choking the young man with a dark-side-of-the-force-like death grip. But then he mellowed.

"Alright then, Smitty. Since you're so smart, why don't you tell us what direction we should go in our next bold play for world domination," said Big Joe gruffly.

With every ear in the room anxiously awaiting Smitty's next words, he reached down into the most fiendish recesses of his culinarily-inclined imagination and spoke: "How about spreadable Cookie Butter Cheesecake?"

And that, my friends, is how Smitty got promoted to Grand Moff of Trader Joe's Corporate Offices, and more importantly, how Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Cream Cheese was conceived. It's been a while since the last new cookie butter product: Cookie Butter Cookies. And rumor has it that the product development team was leaning towards cookie butter made from cookie butter cookies rather than regular old Speculoos Cookies, and they were going to call it Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Cookie Butter. Oh well, maybe next time.

For now, we'll have to settle for this tub of spectacular cream cheese with real crushed speculoos biscuits. OMG. It's stupidelicious. It's not EXACTLY spreadable cookie butter cheesecake, but it's darn close. Sonia and I both think the cheesecake and Cheesecake Bites have a bit more cookie butter flavor bursting through than this cream cheese, but it's nothing to complain about in my humble opinion.

Sonia wishes there were speculoos cookie chunks floating throughout the product. I see where she's coming from, but normal cream cheese isn't exactly "chunky." A little extra texture might be nice in this case, though. Another tiny little teensy-weensy problem with this—that might keep it from our Pantheon—is that the flavor can easily be overshadowed by other ingredients. I must admit that it's not quite as potent as other cookie butter products. When I tried this spread on white bread, it was perfect. But with the non-Trader Joe's whole wheat bagels we happened to have on hand, I tasted more wheat than cookie butter. Which is fine, I guess, but frankly, I'd rather have a semi-healthy, hearty whole grain flavor OR a cookie butter "dessert-for-breakfast" kind of vibe. They sort of clash when they're competing for the collective attention of your taste buds. But our poor bagel pairing isn't really the fault of this product.

All in all, it's a delicious edition to the cookie butter family. If you ask me, it IS tasty enough to eat directly out of the tub, however, for the sake of your own self-respect and human dignity, I can't really recommend doing that. It's great when served with something neutral or complimentary, and it melts and spreads just like regular cream cheese, but you might find it to be slightly less versatile than original cookie butter. Now, for cooking, on the other hand...I can't wait to see what recipes people tell us about in the comments section, because this stuff has "Baker's Best Friend" written all over it.

Sonia gives Speculoos Cookie Butter Cream Cheese 3.5 stars. As the original cookie butter fanboy, I can't go lower than 4.5.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

22 comments:

  1. What hasn't TJ's come up with? lol... Haven't tried it, if its as sweet as their Cookie Butter Cookies, I will have to pass.. Can't handle the richness.. had to toss the whole box out... :-( and i rarely do that w/TJ products.

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    1. The only thing more blasphemous than a 3.5 vote on a cookie butter product is admitting to tossing out a box of cookie butter cookies. Sigh...you read so many terrible things online these days. ;-)

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    2. I second that! Blasphemous!!!

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    3. You shouldn't had tossed it out. Return it for a refund!

      I wonder why they haven't attempted cookie butter filled spectaloos yet?

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    4. No offense, the cookies weren't expensive.. the cost of gas wasn't worth the drive..

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    5. Or give it to someone else. I hate wasting food.

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  2. I got a idea!!! Cookie Butter lovers cheesecake! Use crushed spectaloos cookies with butter. Then use the cookie butter cream cheese as a cheesecake base. Swirl cookie butter on top of the mixture. Bake it off. Then serve with cookie butter ice cream and more crumbled cookie butter.

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  3. "Cookie Butter Cookie Butter" *head explodes*

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  4. On a pumpkin bagel?? I cannot wait.

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    1. They need to do a cookie butter bagel! Since it is a good pair. Bagel and Cream Cheese

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    2. I could totally get behind a cookie butter bagel!

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    3. Cookie butter bagel, my husband would faint.

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  5. Between two pieces of brownie brittle or swirled into a brownie batter before baking.

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  6. Within months, I feel like there will be cookie butter flavored EVERYTHING. I don’t mind though. ;) I definitely did a double take with this flavor, and was hesitant, but after this review, I am definitely going to it a shot!

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  7. I've been waiting for a new sweet cream cheese for my maztah come Passover. Yipeee!!!!

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  8. Yup Alek-Cookie Butter Cream Chz Swirl Brownies! And frost them with cookie butter.

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    1. Hey! Trader Joe's should come up with cookie butter frosting next. All they have to find a supplier that meets the standards then produce it. Whipped cookie butter frosting. MMMM.

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  9. Being deprived and living in an area with no TJ's, I will console myself by mixing regular cream cheese with Biscoff cookie butter.... Don't know why I didn't think of that before. Hmm, roll little balls of it into chopped nuts.

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  10. Hmm Whipped Cookie Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and a speculoos Cake mix (similar to a spice cake) with a separate packet inside with cookie butter So you can make a speculoos Cake with Cookie Butter Swirl frosted with a Whipped Cream Cheese Cookie Butter Frosting

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  11. Got it at the pantry. Now what when the pantry doesn't have it. I will have to go to piggy bank try to go to day labor with this really bad leg or something. Now I am certainly hooked. OMG?!

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