Trader Joe's Chili Onion Crunch, meet peanuts.
I'm just gonna assume everything worked pretty well between those two, because here, a couple years down the road from their first potential meeting, here's Trader Joe's Crunchy Chili Onion Peanuts.
Peanuts have never been high on my list of nuts of choice. Cashews, pecans, walnuts and even almonds regularly rank higher. And while I had to look back to remember, I wasn't overly fond of the chili onion crunch when first debuted. Maybe the hint we haven't repurchased was a hint.
So, then, for this new spicy peanuts to be the offspring of a perfect marriage of two otherwise kinda lackluster in my mind ingredients...wow.
I don't think I can get enough of them. There's a near 99% chance I ate the whole bag myself, I have no shame, and I cannot wait to go back for more. Sure, would it be even better as a cashew or almond? Almost absolutely! But this combination is almost perfect as is.
All it is, almost obviously, is some roasted peanuts with aplenty chili onion crunch dried and presumably all roasted in, perhaps in the oil itself. This process seems to transform both nut and crunch mix. Most notably, the overly stanky garlickyness I previously associated with the chili onion crunch is gone. Sure, there's still enough garlic to ward off alliumphobes and vampires alike, but it's actually pretty pleasant this time around.TJ's bomba sauce being the high end (which is as much as I can not-painfully tolerate most days any more). That's higher than most items out there, for sure, and gets even more intense the closer to the bootm of the bag with all the spicy crunchies at the bottom. Deelish.
The one thing I'd say though is this: really, added salt? There's enough going on here that added salt isn't a necessity, at least to the degree that above everything else I can taste some strong saltiness. A little sprinkle to help boost all the flavors? Sure. Enough to leave me thirsty and not all because of the spice? Nah, fam.
Regardless, here's to a snack I hope to routinely stash away and enjoy. A couple small handfuls definitely do the trick, and at $3 or $4 for the half pound bag, it's a decent enough value. Highly recommend. It's really nice to see something together being greater than the sum of its parts - wish there was more of that around. Double fours.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Crunchy Chili Onion Peanuts: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons