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, November 1, 2016

Trader Joe's Gingerbread Cookie Sticks

Happy All Saints' Day, everybody. Now that the Halloween season is over, it's time for something new. 

I must admit, I do think of gingerbread as a Christmassy kind of treat, but considering the decided lack of new turkey-related items at TJ's, as well as the fact that my last post made Sonia and I sound like ginger-haters, I feel this product is an appropriate follow-up, since we've got nothing to share but ginger-love in this case.

There's "ground ginger" in the ingredients here. And the product smells and tastes a lot like ginger. But in this case, the ginger is balanced out with other spices and plenty of sweetness, including molasses and big, square, crunchy sugar granules. It's almost a homemade gingerbread cookie kind of vibe. Maybe not just like mom used to make, but certainly better than any run-of-the-mill grocery store bakery offering.

And the cookie sticks are soft! Both Sonia and I assumed they'd be crunchy for some reason. But they're as moist and soft as you'd want them to be.

Despite an overall positive impression, we do have a few negatives to point out. First, the packaging: Not a huge fan of cookies in cellophane bags—especially when they're not resealable. The product comes with a red ribbon that must be untied and re-tied each time you open the bag—otherwise the cookies are just left in the open air. Obviously, you could solve the problem by putting the cookies in some kind of tupperware, or if you've got a five-year-old handy, you could have him practice doing his shoelaces by tying the red ribbon in a bow each time the package is opened.

Also, the spices are kind of potent. It's not so much the ginger this time, but the clove and nutmeg do build up on your palate, making it difficult to eat more than one cookie at a time. I guess that's not really a bad thing, since I shouldn't be eating more than one cookie at a time anyway.

Sonia is anxious to try these cookies dunked in coffee. She'll throw out four stars this time. That sounds about right to me, too.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

8 comments:

  1. Maybe if it stands up well to make cute pillars for Gingerbread houses or even "driveways" for the houses.

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    1. You always have the most interesting ideas, Alek.

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    2. To go along with Alek's idea, you could build a rustic gingerbread cabin. A la Little House on the Prairie meets Christmas spirit.

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    3. Nice. Or maybe like the cabin in The Hateful Eight...but made out of gingerbread! With vanilla icing for snow...

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  2. How about chopped up into pieces and mixed with some vanilla ice cream? that might temper some of the spiciness.

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    1. This would totally go with vanilla ice cream.

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  3. Okay now this is a little crazy..... or maybe not! A friend of mine took some pumpkin cookie butter & then chopped up some of these gingerbread sticks into it, heated it in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. Poured it over vanilla ice cream. Need I say more? Although Lipitor does come to mind.

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