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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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Trader Joe's Iced Pumpkin Scone Cookies

I recently took a look at some non-TJ's Pumpkin Scones. In the review, I mentioned that those scones were soft, fresh, and just a step or two away from homemade. That's the main thing Sonia and I liked about them. They had a freshness sticker on the container to let consumers know when their "best by" date expired. Beauty is fleeting, and apparently, so is fresh-baked pumpkin goodness.

But these scone cookies feel like they've been in the packaging for a while. And to be fair, they have. They're not meant to be super soft and have a significant shelf life. These scone cookies, in my humble opinion, are just a step up from something you might get out of a vending machine. Now, granted, I've had many a delicious and satisfying snacks from vending machines over the years, and one of my favorite purchases used to be Little Debbie's Donut Sticks. They get a "D-" for their nutrition information, and at first glance, TJ's offering would seem to be significantly less bad-for-you. But if you think about the relative serving sizes, I'm pretty sure two of these little scone cookies don't come anywhere close to one full donut stick. And anyway, the donut sticks are decidedly lacking in pumpkin spice goodness, although I wouldn't put it past Debbie—that saucy little minx—to offer us a pumpkinized version in the near future (if there isn't one out there already).

I must say, though, that texture-wise, that's what these scone cookies remind me of. There's a heavily-iced outer layer that's firm and sugary, and the bread within is dense and sweet—but not as sweet as the coating. Yes, the texture is similar to some other scones, but somehow I think the donut sticks analogy works better here.

Flavor-wise, they're not such a far cry from other pumpkin goodies in recent memory like the pumpkinny pumpkin bites, but the firmer texture of the scone cookies makes them a tad less palatable, in my opinion. They've got the pumpkin puree and signature spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) that we've come to know and love this time of year. But those spices, combined with the cookies' relative dryness, made me cough a bit here and there.

I wish I could give these a sparkling review, but during this autumn season, overwhelmed with Pumpkin Joe's pumpkinny pumpkin parade, only the true stand-outs will get anything close to perfect scores. And at this point, I do have to mention that I finally tried the Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls that Russ reviewed last year. Now THOSE are truly unique and delicious. In that case, ginger is the main attraction and pumpkin plays second fiddle, and I think that's one of the primary things that separates them from the pack, although there's still a uniquely autumnal, harvesty goodness about them. 

All things considered, these scone cookies aren't bad at all—and they're cleverly packaged in multiple sheets so you don't have to unseal the whole package at once—but they're certainly not the first pumpkin product I'd steer you towards in that ever-increasing ocean of orange.

Three stars from me, four from Sonia. She liked them significantly more than I did.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

4 comments:

  1. I had those last year and they're definitely a 8 or 9 in my book.

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    1. Agreed. I'm on my 3rd package this season. And in December they do a cranberry-orange version.

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    2. Hey, more for you guys then. I'd check out the cran-orange flavor...sounds interesting.

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