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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Podcast Episode 5: Favorite Summer Products

In this episode we share the products that have helped us tolerate the Dog Days of Summer. Visit us on iTunes and Stitcher. And if you like this podcast, be sure to also check out The Nosh Show and Candyology 101

Download: MP3 (23.1 MB)

Show Notes:

Opening Music:

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trader Joe's Brownie Crisp

It started off innocently enough last week, and devolved pretty quickly from there. Who knew the question of "Is a Fig Newton a cookie or not?" could be hotly debatable? Generally, we try to avoid controversy and be some lighthearted fun here, but...In my review last week of Trader Joe's Fig Bites (basically, Fig Newtons), I referred to them once or twice as "cookies" which a few readers didn't agree with that classification.  Now, granted, when I think of the word "cookie," Fig Newtons aren't the first thing that comes to mind....maybe it's something like these or these, but if the word "cookie" can encompass decadent treats like these, well, there's room for a Fig Newton or two, too. I was about to laugh about it with some coworkers when I found that there's nearly a 50/50 split at my workplace, with those disagreeing with cookie classification agreeing more towards "pastry bar" because they were akin to NutraGrain bars, just smaller. This was despite the fact that Fig Newton packages say they are "fruit chewy cookies" and the Nabisco website even states that Fig Newtons are, in fact, cookies. I'm glossing over a lot here. This is how we make it through our nearly 50 hour weeks every week. Just glad we weren't called into the principal's office for all the ruckus this caused.

Well, if a Fig Newton could cause so much controversy, what can be wrought by Trader Joe's Brownie Crisp? God only knows.

These can be classified easily as a brownie based solely on their taste. To be honest, it's fairly surprising how much rich flavor gets packed into each bite - these are some powerfully chocolatey bites, in both the batter and the chips that are fairly sprinkled throughout. In fact, Sandy and I though we'd be clever and spread a little knockoff Nutella on them, and the brownie flavor completely overpowered it. Fierce cocoa here. But isn't part of the brownie experience texturally based? Whether cakey and dry or a little wet and smushy (the way I prefer), there's a little somethin'-somethin' to make a brownie a brownie, which these dry, crunchy, crispy critters just don't have. They're not even like the slightly burned edges you invariably get in a brownie pans - it's more like every drip of anything moisture related got slurped off, leaving behind only a crunchy, hard shell. That makes them lean more towards cookie but I'm not quite comfortbale calling them that, nor would I called them "crisps", per se. Crisps imply to mean thin crispy-crunchy bites, like a potato chip, while these are decidedly thicker and crunchier.

So...I don't know what I'd call these brownie-ish bites, except good. Really darn good. There's some added bonuses which kick them a few notches on up. First, check out the nutritionals: That's not that bad for such a decadent treat! Just one or two crunchy cookie crumbles get me my chocolate fix. Plus, these are both vegan and gluten-free, meaning even more folks can enjoy them. Fairly inclusive, mostly guilt free, and pretty tasty? Yes please! These facts make me happy enough to rate them a little higher than I would otherwise.

We've gone to TJ's a few times a week, and thus far it seems like these fellas may have the nasty habit of mysteriously jumping into our cart. Sandy's enamored with them enough to give them a perfect five. I'm close to that. The chocolate, although pretty good, seems a little one note on repeated bites, so I wish these had a little more variation, or had some nuts or mint or sea salt or some other kind of flavor put on in. Also, the brownie flavor was enough to make me wish I were eating an actual slightly goopy moist brownie, and I just couldn't shake that.

So are these brownies? Or cookies? Or crisps? Something else? Let's discuss this below in the comments. Much like the second package we got this week, I'm open for a good time.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Brownie Crisp: 9.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


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