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Friday, November 21, 2014

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter Cheesecake

I was wrong. The next fiendish play in Trader Joe's diabolical plan to take over the world/make me fat (or fatter, depending on your perspective) wasn't Cookie Butter and Cocoa Swirl Ice Cream. It was cheesecake. We shoulda seen that comin'. But man. This stuff blindsided me like an 18-wheeler at a complicated New Jersey intersection with "jughandles" and no left turns and such.

Except way more awesome than getting T-boned by a semi. WAY more awesome. Apparently, this stuff showed up at the Marlton TJ's just last night, and like half the staff has already tried it. I'm lucky there were any packages left. Really lucky.

Because this stuff tastes like heaven. Imagine cookie butter. But cheesecake. I know that's not particularly informative. You've probably already gathered those two bits of information by now. actually tastes like what you want it to taste like. It's basically really amazing plain cheesecake crowned with a cookie butter spread on top. And the crust is made of speculoos cookie material! It's cinnamony, it's creamy, and it's just about perfect.

It better be. Because it's seven friggin' dollars a box! But as a once-in-a-while or whenever-TJ's-can-keep-it-in-stock treat, it's worth it. Seriously. I speak the truth.

And, well, truth be told, I didn't wait the full two hours for thawage to occur for my first piece. But it was still amazing. Just as amazing as my second piece, which was fully thawed. The only difference was how cold and firm the first piece was. I'm pretty sure I'd be happy eating this stuff straight out of the freezer. Or off the blistering concrete on a hot summer day. I don't mean to sound desperate. It's just...BECAUSE COOKIE BUTTER CHEESECAKE.
The only thing I can think of that would be meaner than offering another incredible cookie butter product right now before the holidays would be something along the lines of Trader Joe's getting together with Big Pharma and offering prescriptions for cookie butter I.V. bags.

It's been a while since a perfect score, and Sonia and I are both on board this time. This is an incredibly delicious product. Even in light of its price tag and its not-so-much-for-folks-on-diets style nutrition info—this puppy gets a perfect 10.

Bottom line: 10 out of 10.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Caramel Sauce

We're just gonna slip in one more pumpkin product review before Thanksgiving comes, and then I think we'll be good until next October or so. We've taken a two week break since our last pumpkin product, but I suspect I'm still in that pumpkin-overload zone. Both Sonia's and my skin is a little more orange than usual, and we need to go ahead and move on—which we will. Soon. I promise.

Back when the Shelly household was only two members strong instead of four, they tried a fleur de sel caramel sauce that impressed Russ well enough. So just imagine dumping a decent amount of pumpkin butter in that caramel sauce, and that's pretty much what we have here. Also, we ate this pumpkin caramel with the same French vanilla ice cream reviewed alongside the fleur de sel. I can't imagine this stuff going well with anything other than vanilla ice cream, but maybe I'm just not using my imagination.

To cut to the chase, we both enjoyed this ice cream topping, but Sonia definitely liked it more than I did. It's sweet and it tastes like, well, pumpkin and caramel. Imagine that. I felt that the pumpkin spices burned my throat on occasion. And I don't mean they burned my mouth like hot sauce might. I really mean that they tingled excessively in the back of my throat...all that ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I found myself coughing while eating this after a number of sauce-rich spoonfuls. But I think the takeaway here isn't necessarily that this product is too pumpkin-spicey—it's that you should use it sparingly. A little bit goes a long way. Sonia is always wise in that regard, and she rarely overdoes it with sauces, icings, or frostings. Maybe that's part of why she liked the product more than I did. But even when I used it in much lesser quantities, it sat very heavy in my stomach, and it just wasn't my favorite ice cream topping. It's unique, seasonal, and it certainly doesn't taste's just that it's not what I would go for in terms of pumpkin ice cream. I'd turn to the Pumpkin Pie Mochis—and I'm still anxious to try the elusive Ginger Pumpkin Mouthfuls—before I'd pick up another $3 jar of this sauce.

I always try to pick out my score for these products in my head before I know Sonia's score, so as to keep my opinion unbiased. In this particular case, I was shocked that her score was an unexpectedly-high 4.5. I had decided beforehand that I would give it 3.5 stars, but after I heard Sonia's score, I was tempted to give it even less, so as to pull it down out of the "really darn good" category, because in my opinion, it doesn't really belong there. But there it shall stand nonetheless.

In the comments below, let us know what you've done with this product other than put it on vanilla ice cream!

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

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