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Monday, February 14, 2011

Trader Joe's Old-Fashioned Donut O's

I don't know if donut holes came in molded plastic containers like this one back in the olden days, but the ingredients list for these little guys is certainly a throwback to the days that pre-date hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and other deadly garbage...there are a few strange chemical type words farther down on the list, but the main ingredients are all simple things I recognize.

In fact, the main sweetening ingredient is grape juice. It's an interesting choice for a pastry, but it works. I was a bit wary at first because of the grape juice, and because the front of the package declares that the batter is made from sour cream. Again, an enigmatic choice for a donut hole ingredient.

When I first looked at these donut o's, all covered in powdered sugar, I thought they resembled Munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. So my habit-driven brain primed my tongue for the sweet, familiar taste of a Munchkin. Initially, I was disappointed.

But after walking away from the donut o's for an hour or two, I realized that what I had tasted was something both classically delicious and brand new. Trader Joe's made no attempt to copy the taste of Dunkin Donuts or Entenmann's or Krispy Kreme. They aimed for sophisticated palates and created something inspired by the bakeries of yore. They made a simple, subtle dessert delicacy, the likes of which I have seldom had the opportunity to enjoy.

I went back for more, and so did Sonia. We polished off the box in a little over a day. If you're wondering, they do NOT taste like sour cream, or grape juice, or any common donut. They have a unique flavor that's difficult to describe, and an incredible texture that would rival many fresh-baked pastries. They're relatively low calorie and low fat.

If you really want a sugary-sweet, lard-laden donut, go to Dunkin. If you want to try something different, definitely check these out. Sonia rates them a 4.5 out of 5. I agree. 

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.


  1. Hi guys! I found your website through the Daily Meal and love it. Great idea, and very helpful.

    Might I suggest you take a look at revising your labels, though? The list is too long and includes everything. Why not lump all the tea reviews under "tea"? All the beverages could be listed under "beverages" or "drinks" (including tea). Other labels could be "Indian Food", "Chinese Food", "fruit", "vegetables", "soup", etc. It would make it easier for readers and have the added benefit of when we click on a category we get more than 1 result, i.e., the naan bread and other Indian dishes show up on one page instead of the reader needing to go back to the label tag and read over hundreds of titles.

    Just a suggestion, but it will make the website better.

    Keep up the good work and best wishes,

  2. Hi Dean,

    Thanks for the suggestions! That might be something we look at ... both Nate and I are kinda novices at the whole blog design thing (myself in particular) but what you advise makes a good deal of sense. We're still very much in the development stages of this so we may be implementing this in the near future!

    - Russ

  3. I use Blogger for one of my blogs as well. It's easy to relabel the posts if you decide to, just go to the Edit Posts page and you can delete all labels to start with, then go and assign new labels in bulk. If you are going to actually do it, I would suggest you do it before too long just so it doesn't take several hours to get it done.

    Best wishes!


  4. Cool. Thanks for the "how-to."

    Excellent suggestions. And thanks for reading!


  5. Going back to the donuts, these are apparently only available on the east coast, according to our correspondents in Los Angeles. Thanks for the info, Suzana and Darryl.

  6. Great review (and great site!)-- I saw these my last trip to TJ's and just couldn't decide whether to get them. Maybe I'll pick them up next time I'm there.

  7. Sandy and I just got these yesterday. There's one left. She's not here right now. Seriosuly debating whether to save it for her or not ...

  8. I found your site while trying to prepare for my first trip to Trader Joe's. I bought these donuts today because of your review & just wanted to say THANK YOU! I never would have found them if I hadn't been looking! They are delicious! Even my picky daughter was eating them! I also bought the chocolatey cats cookies and they are delicious too (another one that my daughter couldn't get enough of!) I'll be checking out your blog a lot more before making the 40 minute drive back to Trader Joe's so I can be a little more prepared next time. I wish they would open one closer to my home!

  9. Kim, glad we could be of help! Lots of good things, and for some of the best you got to know where to look. Whereabouts do you live? If you're a Facebooker, there's lots of groups set up like "Bring TJ's to Chattanooga" or "Hawaii Needs Trader Joe's NOW" that have been mildly succesful in the past in luring a TJ's to the neighborhood. If there's not a group for a town closer to you, maybe you can start the revolution!

  10. I just got some in San Francisco. Why are they called O's? The are not in any way O's.

    1. Hehehe, I guess they should of added "VALS" after the O.

  11. I really enjoyed the Old Fashion Donut O's at Trader Joe's. I am trying to eat more healthier. Instead of going to Dunkin Donuts, I was able to get a sweet treat without all the sugar! I would recommend anyone to try them : kids, adults and senior, very good treat!


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