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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

Among all my many allergies, food and otherwise, I was never cursed with one to peanuts. But I truly sympathize with those of you who have. The other day I was walking past a Burger King inside a Walmart and noticed a sign next to the counter that said something to the effect of "any and all of our food may be contaminated with peanut residue." Really? They're cooking burgers and making fries on the same equipment they use to cut slices of peanut butter pies? Probably not. They're just covering their behinds. They might as well put up a sign that says, "Hey look, people with peanut allergies—if you die in our restaurant, it's not our fault." All that to say, you folks have my pity.

Not long ago, sunflower seed butter cups were one of the most buzzed-about new items at Trader Joe's. In my review of them, I compared them to classic Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, because, you know, you have to have a reference point for these things, right? So now, I'm tempted to compare these almond fellows to their sunflowery counterparts.

First of all, are these even new? I feel like they've been there on the candy shelves for years, mysteriously eluding a review on our blog. I know they have multiple different kinds of peanut butter cups and cookie butter cups, but why do I feel like almond butter cups have been there, too? The sunflower dealies were so obviously new, with their bright yellow wrappers and Reese's-esque presentation. But these guys? They just sorta blend in with all those myriad Trader Joe's brand candies that come in a tub.

Price-wise, we're looking at $3.99 for "about" 18 pieces versus 99 cents for the two sunflower cups. They're being marketed less as a "buy this at the checkout and eat it on your way home to curb your immediate craving" kinda snack, and more of a "buy this for your family with peanut allergies and have them on stand-by at all times" sorta treat—either of which is fine by me. 

As far as vegan-ness goes, this option definitely contains milk products. We had several readers indicate that the sunflower cups were indeed vegan because, despite the presence of dark chocolate, there was no dairy. Not so here. They don't taste any more milky to me. I just wonder: if you can make decent dark chocolate without milk, why include it? If anything, I slightly prefer the chocolate in the sunflower cups.

Nut butter-wise, I think I prefer the sunflower seed variety to the almond one. Sunflower seems just ever so slightly sweeter, and possibly a bit thinner. In the case of these dark chocolate covered cups, I feel like the almond butter is not as consistently creamy. It's still nutty and works with the chocolate, but I feel like it lacks a certain pizzazz just ever so slightly. Also, I think there's just a bit more dark chocolate here. The chocolate to nut butter ratio is off by a bit, favoring chocolate too much.

The overall effect of these cups is still sweet, dessert-like, and relatively satisfying. I'm certainly not hating on these puppies. I just prefer the sunflower seed butter cups in the end. Sonia thinks they taste basically the same. It's been a while, but I remember being wowed by Justin's brand almond butter cups a little more than this TJ's offering.

In the end, this is a perfectly valid desserty treat from Trader Joe's, particularly for those with peanut allergies, but I'd generally go with another choice over this one, personally.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. Just be careful if you have severe peanut allergy. They might have traces of peanuts in it. Better off having the sunflower cups to be safe since they are completely nut free.

    1. Omg. Yeah. I didn't even notice that. May contain traces of peanut.

  2. I liked the sunflower cups better too. Am hoping they come out with a mini variety.

  3. Allergy-wise, there’s not much to compare. The sunflower cups are made to be allergy-friendly; these are not. Also, the milk ingredients in these is in the almond bark (fake white chocolate) used in the filling, not the chocolate.
    I haven’t tried the sunflower cups yet, but these cups have grown on me. I’ve come around to almond butter in general, though, so that helps.

  4. It’s weird that TJs mini pb cups and these have such a thick chocolate layer since they’re obviously meant to be like reese’s.
    Justin’s brand makes almond butter mini cups that are awesome, they have thinner chocolate and of course that amazing justin’s almond butter inside- actually found them at Target! Like $5 for a bag of minis.


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