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.