Google Tag

Search This Blog

Showing posts with label snacks and desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label snacks and desserts. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Trader Joe's Gingerbread Ice Cream


I'm definitely an ice cream-all-year-round kinda guy. Most of my life, I've lived in places with four seasons. Ice cream in December might make sense to Southern Californians, but it might not be the norm for folks in the Mid-Atlantic or Upper Midwest. 

Actually, I take that back. In my hometown in central Pennsylvania, there'd be folks in line for ice cream at The Igloo all throughout the winter months. And the Berkey Creamery at Penn State never closed even in the freezing cold. I guess it's just part of the culture when you live in places surrounded by dairy farms.


At any rate, we never shy away from newfangled ice cream from Trader Joe's even if it's cold outside, so let's dig in. The actual ice cream here is gingerbread flavored. There are also nice big pieces of ginger cookies and a molasses-esque "gingerbread swirl." I think a vanilla base would have worked a little better here than the spicy brown base they used. A bit more creamy and sweet would have helped put the ginger spices in check, in the manner of Cookie Butter Ice Cream.

Still, this is a decent ice cream flavor, particularly if you love gingerrific ginger snaps. Every few bites or so, we got a piece of powerful, sinus-clearing raw ginger. I didn't really mind it since it wasn't in every bite. There were enough sweet and desserty elements that the raw ginger bits helped to balance them out, and they blended well with the molasses, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors.


$3.79 for the pint. In summary, this ice cream is a festive, high quality, specialty dessert. It'll hit the spot for folks that absolutely love ginger. For other folks like Sonia and me, it was fun to try just once, but we'll return to vanilla-based ice creams that balance out the ginger spices a little better in the future. Three and a half stars a piece from the beautiful wifey and me for Trader Joe's Gingerbread Ice Cream.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Trader Joe's Pretzel Bread Pudding


Neither Sonia nor I grew up with bread pudding, but we've reviewed a couple versions from Trader Joe's throughout the years. See: pumpkin and salted caramel varieties.

This hot new product looked buzzworthy, so we decided to embark on another bread pudding adventure. After a bit of full-contact Christmas shopping over the weekend, Sonia and I were both getting hangry and teetering on the verge of a full blown verbal sparring session as we arrived at home, so we took the shortest path to raising our blood sugar back to normal-ish levels by yoinking this product from the freezer and popping the little desserts in the microwave.


The results? Quite decent. Forty-five seconds never tasted so scrumptious. A few bites of the sticky sweet concoction had us laughing and smiling like our normal, good-natured selves again.

The bread pudding is glazed in a pleasant amount of a salty caramel sauce that keeps the product sticky and syrupy. The flavor is sweet and buttery. The texture: soft, wet, and doughy.


The product wasn't even a bit chewy or rubbery even after a spell in the microwave. The bread does seem a bit firmer and puffier than your average bread pudding bread—perhaps because it's bread from actual pretzels. Has this been a thing for a while? Why didn't anybody tell me about this?

$4.49 for two very filling dessert cups. Good stuff here. Worth a purchase. Would eat for dessert after Christmas dinner. The beautiful wifey is on board for four and a half stars. Put me down for another four and a half and a thumbs up for Trader Joe's Pretzel Bread Pudding.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Trader Joe's Cheddar Cheese Sticks


"Cheese sticks." Hope nobody got a pay raise or promotion for coming up with that creative product title. Why not cheese swords or cheesy rods or cheese branches or cheesy trees? Oh wait. They already did that one. The packaging is lackluster at best, and these crispy little do-dads don't even have a listing on traderjoes.com as far as I could tell. Oh well.


Thanksgiving week tends to be the slowest time of year in terms of blog traffic, so I often throw out kind of oddball generic reviews of boring-ish products during that time because, hey, what have I got to lose?

What's working here: the texture is nice and crispy, crunchy, but not overly hard. The sticks are brittle but even my sensitive teeth and gums aren't irritated even after gnawing on a few of these sourdough sticks. They pair great with almost any kind of soup, especially tomato-based ones, and who needs croutons for a salad when you have these? The sourdough flavor is pleasant, as well, but not overpowering. 

What's not working here: there's definitely some cheese flavor, but I think they could have packed them with a bit more. I guess too much cheese would reduce the shelf life of the product and make it more prone to spoilage, but doesn't all that salt help with preservation?

$2.99 for approximately a dozen cheese sticks. I guess we'd buy this item again just to have it in the back of the pantry to serve with tomato soup in lieu of grilled cheese or something more elaborate. Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Cheddar Cheese Sticks.



Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Trader Joe's Brigadeiros


A Brazilian girl I once knew told me that they often eat dessert first in Brazil because it makes them feel fuller sooner, so they wind up eating less of the main course—one of the many reasons, she explained, that Brazilians tend to be more fit than Americans. She also told me that Brazilian culture is all about having fun, more so than American culture, which focuses on career and work too much, and that Brazilians go out every day to clubs or parties, dance, and walk a lot, while Americans stay home and watch TV.

But nobody ever told me about brigadeiros. Maybe my Brazilian friend knew I'd just sit on the couch catching up with my Star Wars shows on Disney Plus shoveling them into my mouth box by box like a typical obese American. I bet that was it. She was looking out for me.


But Trader Joe has no scruples about selling me Brazilian bonbons and watching me grow fatter and fatter, do you Joe? Something something something about self-control and all that. Sure. Whatever. Actually, the box says they're Portuguese. But Google says they're Brazilian. I guess they're both..? I'm all over the place today.

Well, at any rate, these brigadeiros are delicious. They're uber-chocolatey. Fudgy, like it says on the box. They're dense, creamy, thick, and they deliver a massive blast of sweet milk chocolate.


Texture-wise, they're soft and they do indeed melt in your mouth. They're not chewy or crunchy or crispy at all. They're slightly squishy but solid when you remove them from the little tray, but as soon as they hit your tongue, it almost feels and tastes like you just tilted your head back and squirted a bunch of chocolate syrup into your mouth.

$3.79 for nine little chocolate bonbon things. Not available at TJ's anymore. I think they came out right when that first round of fall goodies got released this year. Not sure if we'll ever see them again, but my vote is: bring them back, please. Very tasty. Double fours from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Brigadeiros.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Trader Joe's Onion Confit Swirls


I guess if I were a real foodie, I'd know what the word "confit" meant without having to look it up. I've heard the phrase "duck confit," but that's about the only context in which I've ever actually noticed the word before. And to be honest, I have no idea what duck confit is.


I'm quite familiar with and fond of onions, however, so I thought I'd give this product a whirl. I looked at the packaging and saw a sort of dark brown swirl on these crackers. My brain immediately made the connection to caramelized onions since that's the first place my mind goes when I think of onions in a dark brown format.

And...yeah...no. That's not what these are. Apparently confit is anything cooked for a very long time at a low-ish temperature in grease or oil. Even if I had been aware of the meaning of the word "confit," I still don't think I would have imagined the taste of these swirls even semi-accurately. I would have imagined something, you know, greasy and oniony.

These crackers are dry as can be, if but maybe a tad oily...and they don't really taste like onions, sadly. Onion powder is the third ingredient after wheat flour and butter, and I guess there's a whisper of oniony essence, but not much more. I thought they'd be similar to those crispy onion chips, which were freaking amazing, but with maybe a bit more breadiness to them.

I don't know how I'd eat these things other than tossing them into savory soup of some kind. Honestly, I don't know if I'd ever reach for these puppies over classic croutons or even saltine crackers. They just need more onion flavor to be worth it. And they're extremely tiny. I wouldn't have minded if they were, you know, bite-sized...instead of half-bite-sized.

$2.49 for the 2.5 serving box. We will polish off the box within the week with the help of some tasty bisque or stew, but we probably would not buy again. Three and a half stars from Sonia. Three from me for Trader Joe's Onion Confit Swirls.



Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Fig Slices


A good freeze-dryer will run you in the ballpark of $2.5K. It wouldn't be a bad investment, honestly. I'd love to be able to make snack packs and meals that last a couple decades to throw in the fallout bunker (AKA the basement). Or I'd put together freeze-dried hiking packs that are super lightweight and compact. Fun fact: freeze-dried food weighs about 90% less than fully hydrated food.


But still, freeze-dryers are at least double or triple the size of a modern microwave. And preparing the food and storing it properly can be a lot of work. Two and a half grand isn't exactly cheap, either. So until we decide to shell out the big bucks, at least there's stuff like Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Fig Slices.

They're like circular pieces of styrofoam that look and taste like real figs...because they are real figs. They're crunchy and sweet, and they make you feel like an astronaut.

"Houston to Eagle. Have you touched down on the moon yet? Eagle, come in. I repeat, Eagle, come in. This is Houston requesting response. Over."

"Sorry, Houston, I couldn't hear you over the sound of these figs crunching. I can't stop eating them. They're so good. Over."

Sonia likes them even more than I do. Would buy again. $3.69 for the resealable single serving bag. Unsweetened. Unsulfured. Kosher. Just one ingredient. 

Four stars from me. Four and a half stars from the beautiful wifey for Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Figs.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Trader Joe's Mini Maple Marshmallows


After 14 years of marriage, I thought I knew all the culinary tricks my wife had up her sleeve. As I popped a couple of these maple-flavored marshmallows into my mouth, Sonia scolded, "Don't eat too many or I won't have enough to make rice crispy treats."

"You know how to make rice crispy treats?" I asked, dumbfounded.

"Literally everybody knows how to make rice crispy treats. It's SO easy," she replied.


I've mentioned it on this blog before, but I got a bad grade in home ec class. My little group couldn't even get rice crispy treats right. I mean, we had to repeat the assignment multiple times and we still couldn't produce edible food. We actually had to stay after school to chisel the charred remains of our project out of the pan. Basically, that whole episode scarred me for life and I haven't even attempted to make them since.

But Sonia whipped up a batch in like 10 minutes. She made it look so simple. I mean, neither of my parents ever made rice crispy treats, so I figured it must take some kind of wizard-level kitchen skills. Most of the ones I've had were the store-bought, pre-made kind. I've had homemade ones at potlucks and group picnics and such, and I always marveled that anyone had the talent to turn simple marshmallows and puffed rice into such a spectacular dessert treat.

But one thing I've never had: MAPLE rice crispy treats. So good! On their own, these marshmallows are super mapley and sweet. They're pretty much what you'd expect maple marshmallows to taste like, except maybe even better. They don't taste fake at all and there's no weird aftertaste.

When they're used in rice crispy bars, the maple flavor gets diluted just a tad, but there's still that sweet, nutty, caramel-esque maple goodness in the background. Combined with crisp rice, butter, and whatever else you baking geniuses put in those things, it's a delicacy you're sure to want next fall and every fall after that.

So, yes, we'd buy these again next year. Sonia wishes they sold them in a much larger bag. $2.99 for this 6 oz package. Four and a half stars from me. Four from Sonia for Trader Joe's Mini Maple Marshmallows.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Trader Joe's Celebration Cake Gelato


Sonia and I are celebrating our 14th anniversary this week, so among other things, we decided to break open this Celebration Cake Gelato since neither of us got to try it around our birthdays.

It's pretty obviously just a birthday cake style frozen dessert: vanilla with colorful sprinkles. It has the dense creaminess of gelato, the indulgent sweetness of cake and icing, and the fun, festive colors you'd associate with any type of celebration.


But here's the best part and the worst part: there are real cake pieces throughout the mix, and the bites that contain some are superb and scrumptious, but they are way too small and far and few between—so most bites, unfortunately, do not contain any luscious birthday cake.

Eating straight from the pint container becomes a mining errand, with each cakeless bite causing more and more frustration and each cakeful one propelling the consumer to dig with renewed fervor in search of that motherlode of legendary cakey goodness.


Alas, there was no giant cache of cake at the bottom of the carton. There were maybe a dozen paltry whispers of baked confection in the entire product. It almost would have been better to include none so we'd have been ignorant of what we were missing.

Our final score would have been at least one and a half stars higher had there been adequate quantities of cake in this product. As is, Sonia will still throw out a generous four out of five. I'll go with three and a half. Trader Joe's Celebration Cake Gelato with Cake Pieces & Rainbow Sprinkles is good, but it needs more mix-ins to be considered great. $3.79 for the pint.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Trader Joe's Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies


I know, I know. Pumpkin triggers some of you. It seems to be especially bad when it's "pumpkin spice." I think "pumpkin spice latte" is the epitome of fall fare trigger phrases. With that in mind, "petite pumpkin spice cookies" probably isn't exactly music to some of your ears, but hey, I know you're not going to want to hear this: you pumpkin-haters are a distinct minority.

Repeatedly, routinely, across all social media, people taking polls about pumpkin spice respond positively to PS products and say they do want pumpkin and pumpkin spice reviews. It's just under 25% that seem to despise the stuff. So until those polls hit 51% anti-pumpkin sentiment or higher, I'm gonna keep buying and reviewing these products.


Now I certainly don't love every pumpkin spice product I try—not by a long shot. Nor do I hate every pumpkin product I try. I do get tired of it each and every year by the end of the autumn season, but then I'm always ready for some more 9 or 10 months later. This is only our third new pumpkin item of the season from Trader Joe's, so I'm still more or less in pumpkin spice mode and Sonia most definitely is, too.

That said, these cookies are pretty much what I expected them to be. The only thing on the packaging that threw me off a little was where they describe these cookies as "shortbread." I'm not saying they're not shortbread, but I think "gingerbread" would have been more accurate in terms of flavor.

Sonia likes them a good bit more than I do. They remind her of Mother's Circus Animals, but with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. She likes them a lot with coffee, and she thinks they'd be fun for kids or office parties.

There are white pumpkins with orange nonpareils and orange pumpkins with white nonpareils. They're yogurty on the outside and crunchy and bready on the inside. Like I said: no surprises here. The pumpkin spice level is fairly well balanced with the sweet coating and the wheat cookie flavors, but these little treats are still just garden-variety autumnal snackage by my estimation.

$3.99 for the 10 oz box. Sonia would buy again next year. Four stars from her. I'd eat a couple out of Sonia's box, but I would not feel the need to purchase my own. Three out of five stars from me for Trader Joe's Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies.



Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Trader Joe's Maple Flavored Fudge


Butter and maple syrup: the two best parts of the pancake, together at last, without all that pesky bread getting in the way.

If a charming block of English Butter Fudge decided to cross the pond and have a torrid love affair with a Canuck named Maple Sugar Candy, they might conceive a child named Maple Flavored Fudge, and he'd look and taste something like this...although phrasing it that way sounds a little weird.


This candy is quite mapley. Some of you might have guessed as much, but considering there are about four different types of sugar as well as butter, milk, and cream all listed in the ingredients above maple syrup, I didn't take it as a given. It's just like traditional maple candy except much more buttery. The butteriness is a good thing in my book.

I like maple candy okay, but I tire of it after just a piece or two. I don't really tire of the flavor of these dealies quite as quickly, but I do stop in relatively short order anyway for fear of the enamel on my teeth being replaced by a glaze of maplicious sugar and a resident brood of bone-boring bacteria taking up residence in my mouth.

Seriously, though, I can feel this stuff on my teeth after just a single piece, and I'm overwhelmed with the urge to chew gum or gargle Listerine almost immediately. On the plus side, it's not nearly as hard as toffee. The texture is nice and soft with just a bit of graininess. It feels firm enough in your fingers, but it absolutely melts in your mouth.

Sonia's a fan, and she isn't as concerned with oral hygiene as I am, apparently. So, you know, if you've got a sweet tooth and good dental insurance, have at it...

$2.99 for about 5 servings of 3 fudge pieces each. Four stars from the beautiful wifey. She'd buy again. I really do like the rich maple taste, but my dental hangup might prevent me from buying again any time soon. I'll throw out three and a half stars.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Trader Joe's 12 Mini Pumpkin Ginger Scones


My dad used to make pumpkin muffins with barley flour back when I was a kid. I got sick of them pretty fast, but I didn't have the heart to tell him, and my mom would request them quite often.

"I made pumpkin muffins again, Nathan!" I'd hear him declare from the kitchen.

"Oh grrreat...I'll, um, I'll come grab one as soon as I'm done with my homework," I'd reply.

In a way, these pumpkin ginger scones remind me of my dad's pumpkin muffins, probably because they both contain barley flour and pumpkin puree, although these are much better, flavor-wise. The texture is a tad different, of course, but the insides of these scones were a little muffin-esque, at least to me.


They came out much flakier and scone-like on the outside. I kind of liked the subtle difference in textures. I was also surprised at how much larger the scones got after baking. I mean, I knew they were going to expand a bit, but I'd say they at least doubled in size while heating, if not tripled. It doesn't look like a whole lot of food while frozen, but it's way too much bread for two people for one sitting, even if Sonia and I are carbivorous pumpkin gluttons.

I could see these becoming dry or even coming out undercooked if you don't nail the baking time and temperature exactly. The instructions offer an option to brush the pastries with milk or cream, so I used half and half. Can't tell if it helped much or not, but I guess it couldn't really have hurt. The scones really wanted to stick to the parchment paper after heating, but other than that, they were really nice and flaky, buttery, and flavorful.


They're surprisingly not that sweet. Uncharacteristically, Sonia was the one pining for a glaze or icing of some kind. I can see where she's coming from, but I was fine with them plain. The pumpkin spice blend was pleasant and well-balanced, with a particular emphasis on ginger—but it wasn't an exaggerated raw ginger explosion, either.

$4.99 for a dozen scones. I think we're looking at double fours here. Would possibly buy again next year.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Trader Joe's Maple Spiced Nut Mix


I think Trader Joe's had a whole bunch of rosemary and rosemary-laden nuts left over from that Rosemary's Baby mix or whatever it was called, so they just added a bit of maple flavor, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds to make this fall-themed nut mix.

And everything about this mix is stellar...except the fact that there's way too much freaking rosemary. I seriously feel like they were unable to procure the requisite quantity of normal almonds and pecans to maplify so they simply used what they had left from the Nuts About Rosemary version. Like, why does this mix need rosemary? Also, red and black pepper? This mix is oddly spicy, and there's an unexpected heat that actually tingles the tongue, particularly after munching a handful or two.


I've never encountered rosemary maple nuts before, but apparently, they're a thing. I don't dislike the combo. I guess I was just hoping for more mapley sweetness and not necessarily any of the aromatic woodsiness of rosemary or the bite of black pepper.

But hey, now that I know it's not just sweet, it's kinda growing on me. There's an unexpected intensity to the mix that just takes a bit of getting used to. If you're into rosemary and pepper, you'll probably love it.


$5.99 for 8.5 oz of spicy, mapley nuts. We're on the fence about a repeat purchase, which generally translates into not a repeat purchase just because there's always way too much new stuff to try at Trader Joe's. This is a quality product and will surely find its fanbase, but it's not exactly what Sonia and I were expecting. Double three and a halfs on this one.



Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Blondie Brownies


When I was a kid, I got called "Blondie" quite a bit. It was usually old people using the term. Out of respect for my elders I refrained from calling them "geezer" or "old bag" in turn since, in my head at least, those monikers were about on par with calling a young boy "Blondie." It felt way too feminine, even if it was accurate. Why not call me "He-Man" or "Viking"? That would have been way cooler.

But yeah, I was a towhead back in the day—you know, back when I actually had hair. If you go back to our earliest YouTube videos, you can see I was still very blond, even if my hairline was receding like the ocean at low tide.


And while I'm waxing philosophical about names, why even call these "brownies"? Wouldn't it have been more accurate to simply call them "pumpkin blondies"? There's no actual chocolate in them as far as I can tell. Bah. Whatever.

Aside from a few hangups about the product title, I really don't have any major problems with these pumpkin snacks. They were way fresher than most Trader Joe's baked goods we've sampled throughout the years. I mean, ours were super moist and soft. They almost had a fresh-baked vibe.

Both the pumpkin puree flavor and pumpkin spices were subtle, but there. The white chocolate chips were a nice touch, adding some extra sweetness and a more solid texture. Likewise, the pecans were perfect. I only wish the pieces had been larger and more ubiquitous.


This dessert wasn't too sweet, nor too rich. There was almost a carrot cake quality about these blondies. If anything, they could have used just a tad more pumpkin and pumpkin spice, but they're plenty satisfying as is. I'd buy 'em again next year. Sonia likes them even more than I do.

$4.49 for the 8 serving container. Four and a half stars from the beautiful wifey. Four stars from me for Trader Joe's Pumpkin Blondie Brownies with White Chocolate Chips and Pecans.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Trader Joe's Apple Cinnamon Buns


Ah, the very first NEW fall product of the season. You can just taste the anticipation in the air with a knife. Er, wait. That's not right. I'm sure there's some idiom that sums up what's going on here, but can't think of it right now because I'm too hungry.

Apple. Cinnamon. Buns. Any one of those three elements is enough to make my mouth water. All three together? Shoot. How could Trader Joe's possibly go wrong?

Well, first off, there are no heating instructions on the box, which I thought was weird. I mean, sure, there are plenty of baked goods you can just snatch right out of the packaging and go to town on. These seemed possible candidates for such a situation, and the lack of preparatory directions reinforced that assumption.


However, the buns were decidedly unimpressive at room temperature. Sonia described them as "hard," whereas I simply saw them as "stale." We consumed them a full three days before the best by date, in case you were wondering.

So we mused whether we'd nuke them for a spell or air fry them. We opted for the former at least partially out of impatience, but also because 12 or 15 seconds in a microwave posed less of a risk of drying out the product than any number of minutes in an air fryer.

After heating, the product was markedly improved on several fronts: the texture was wetter, softer, fresher, and even the cinnamon flavor seemed to pop a little more than it did prior to the pastry's ride in the radiation robot. I slathered my share with butter which gave it a bit more of a comfort food vibe than the product provided just on its own.


Still, there's not nearly enough apple in the buns to make them magical or memorable. There's a shallow, paltry pool of minced apples in a sugary sauce right on top in the middle of the buns, but that's about it. For these to get our enthusiastic seal of approval, that apple filling would need to at least quadruple or quintuple in quantity.

As is, we're looking at about three and a half stars from Sonia and three from me which, honestly, I think is being a little generous. Heated, with some added butter, these buns make a passable dessert treat, but they're a far cry from legends like the Rustic Apple Tarte in terms of appliciousness and overall purchase-worthiness.

$4.49 for two buns. Probably wouldn't buy Trader Joe's Apple Cinnamon Buns Crumb Topped Danish Pastries with Apple Filling & Cinnamon again.



Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Watermelon Sticks


Wait a minute. This isn't a fall food. Watermelon is more summery than autumnal. True. We're still doing non-fall food reviews on this blog right now for a number of reasons: (1) many if not most of the fall items at Trader Joe's right now are re-releases and have already been reviewed on this blog. Go ahead. Use the "Search This Blog" bar up top to look up the products you're curious about. (2) It's not fall yet. September 23 is the first day of fall. (3) It's still too warm for autumn products, though it's markedly cooler than it was just last week. In short: patience, young grasshopper. All in good time.


Does anybody remember the chocolate raspberry sticks? Are they still around? Well, these are basically the same thing, but watermelon flavored. I guess I got fooled by the packaging. These watermelon dealies come in a bag while the raspberry version came in a plastic tub. I must say I think the watermelon flavor works better than raspberry for some reason, but even this product doesn't really do it for me in the end.

They're just a gelatinous fruit-flavored center surrounded by a thin layer of dark chocolate on all sides. I guess they're pretty good for a blood sugar picker-upper type situation. The watermelon flavor is more in the direction of like a watermelon lollipop rather than, like, actual watermelon or watermelon puree. It's very candy-esque—not very authentic to my taste buds.


The candies need to stay cool. And I mean, if the temperature is above 72° at all, both the chocolate and the filling will start getting soft and melty. Keep napkins on standby or only consume in cool weather.

$3.49 for the resealable bag. Probably wouldn't buy again, but I can see how some folks dig 'em. Three stars from me. Three and a half stars from Sonia for Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Watermelon Sticks.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Trader Joe's English Toffee


The thing about toffee is that I don't like dentists.

I feel like every time I eat it that I'm tempting fate to snap off one of my teeth, or at least a section of a tooth, and then I'll be forced to either do some extraordinarily painful homespun remedy involving clove oil, pliers, and an ungodly amount of ibuprofen or go to one of those overpriced professional purveyors of pain.

No offense if you happen to be a dentist reading this. Nothing personal. Unless you're that horrible lady that removed my last wisdom tooth. Then you should definitely be offended.


Toffee. It's like hard candy that you're supposed to chew. There's a reason we don't chomp down on Jolly Ranchers or Werther's Originals or Dum Dums. Toffee is basically the same thing, but if you slap some chocolate and almonds on it, suddenly it's okay to bite into rocks made of sugar.

I'm exaggerating slightly of course. I mean, I'd simply suck on this candy like I do other hard candies, but the nuts make it kinda impractical to do that. It's not quite as a hard as a lollipop or whatever, but it's darn close. And it's sticky. Each bite leaves more and more crushed up toffee fused to the surface of your teeth.


I guess it's unfair to punish this toffee for, you know, being toffee. Compared to other toffee, it's quite good. There's a nice balance of caramel flavor, chocolate, and nuts, and it's buttery and sweet just like I'd expect it to be. I guess I just really want there to be a softer version of toffee—like a chewy, creamy toffee covered in chocolate and almonds. That would be great.

But this here is traditional English toffee. Fair enough. If you've got teeth of steel, you'll love it. $3.49 for the 8 oz tub. Three stars from me. Three and a half stars from Sonia for Trader Joe's English Toffee with Milk Chocolate.



Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Trader Joe's Cauliflower Crisps Snack


Some days I don't have any silly intro story or clever segue into the actual review, so I just reminisce about products from the past and link to them at the beginning of the post. That's what we'll do today. We won't remember every single product with cauliflower that we've seen over the years, but we'll look at the times when cauliflower has become a substitute for some other food staple. Ahh...let's look at:

That time cauliflower became rice.

That time cauliflower became mashed potatoes.

That time cauliflower became pizza crust.

That time cauliflower became latkes.

That time cauliflower became tortillas.

That time cauliflower became gnocchi.

That time cauliflower became jalapeƱo dip.

That time cauliflower became risotto.

That time cauliflower became cookie butter.

Okay, well, that last one might not have been a thing. But you get the picture. They can turn cauliflower into anything. So crispy little crackers should be a walk in the park for the versatile cauliflower, right?


In my book, not so much. These snacky circles are too dense, too rigid. If they were thinner, they'd be much easier to bite and chew. As is, they're like little cookies—more three-dimensional than I'd have imagined them to be. I thought they'd be delicate like rice crackers, but they're much more solid than that.

They taste a little like cauliflower. They're much more earthy and bitter than typical rice crackers. I think I'd be fine with the product if they used all the same ingredients and simply lost the cauliflower. I mean, brown rice flour is the second ingredient, and I never met a rice crisp I didn't like.


Sonia enjoys them. She thinks they have a very unique flavor, and I don't disagree. She's just a little more fond of that unusual flavor than I am. I'd try redeeming them with random toppings and dips, but I'm afraid it would just ruin my enjoyment of said toppings.

We paid $2.99 for the 2.5 serving bag. I wouldn't buy them again if it were just me. Sonia might I guess. Three and a half stars from the beautiful wifey. Two and a half stars from me for Trader Joe's Cauliflower Crisps Snack.



Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

You Might Like: