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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Trader Joe's Mini Pumpkin Ginger Hold the Cone! Ice Cream Cones

Oh September, you sneaky, sneaky month, you. Every year, it's the same, or so it seems. A little after Labor Day, depending on your mood, you linger in the cooler temps and breezes of the fall. It's still pleasant (to me, the best time of the year!) but it's time to reach for a hoodie and a warm beverage. the leaves are turning before getting all crunchy, football is around, crockpot dinners sound like a good idea once more. Heck, even a guy like me can start getting into pumpkin spice for a little bit....

...but then. WHOMP. Back to the 80s, or even 90s. Humidity. Sweltering heat. That autumnal tease is over, making all the heat seems 10 times worse than it actually is. Seems to happen every year, this year no exception, but every time....every. time. .... I get fooled again. Drives me crazy.

So when it's hot but you still want a small taste of fall, why not some seasonal ice cream?

I'm really not sure if I'm relaying the name of this product correctly - look at the packaging, it's confusing - but I'm gonna go with Trader Joe's Mini Pumpkin Ginger Hold the Cone! Ice Cream Cones. We've reviewed some of their brethren before, as well as one or two other pumpkinny ice cream dessert type deals, but here they are, together as one, in a tiny, handheld blissful unity.

I'd say they're decent. As before, it's a good sized treat, with a small dollop of ice cream atop a fairly nondescript typical cone, with the ice cream filled almost all the way down to the very bottom. It's a few bites or a small treat for an adult - a serving size is three of them, for goodness sake - or about perfect for the kids. There's also a crispy candy coating atop the ice cream and plugging the bottom of the cone - no drips!

The candy shell is bit basic. Nothing too special, tastes maybe vaguely gingery. At least it's not as sickeningly sweet as the candy melts you get at Michael's or wherever. Inside the the sugar jacket is the ice cream. Maybe it's the same as the aforementioned Pilgrim Joe's pumpkin ice cream...maybe it's not. It's been a while. But whatever it is, it doesn't taste all that pumpkinlicious...or even pumpkin spicey. Nah, it's mostly ginger, but not nearly to the extent of, say, triple ginger snaps or anything. It's super mild ginger. While perfect for folks who like the idea of ginger but not all that much, it leaves me wanting more.

In the end, they're a bit too much in the middle for me. Not gingery enough to be a sraight-up ginger snack, not anything else enough to be anything else. I like that I can eat two of them and not feel guilty - there's a certain pleasure in eating these with kids and pretending to be a massive giant overlord. Kinda weird that if serving size is three, that only eight are in the box...makes for wonky math. Sandy likes them enough, as do the kids, and as do I, I guess. Kids gave them perfect scores, as they would most anything with sugar, so take that as you will. Pumpkin treat to beat the heat.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Mini Pumpkin Ginger Hold the Cone! Ice Cream Cones: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, September 22, 2017

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Marble Mousse Bar

Ah, the first day of fall is finally here. Sure doesn't feel like it yet, though. It'll be nearly 90 degrees here in New Jersey for the next few days. I'm eagerly awaiting temperatures cool enough to wipe out the local mosquito population—or at least temperatures cool enough that I can spend some time outside with long pants and long sleeves on so the little jerks can't bite me as readily. You should see my legs. It looks like I have some bizarre skin disease...but I'll stop right there since this is a food review blog and talk of skin disease and mosquito bites isn't particularly appetizing.

Know what is appetizing? Pumpkin pandemonium at Trader Joe's. We can just stay inside, crank the AC, eat fall foods, and pretend it feels cool outside. Fun stuff.

Pumpkin cheesecake over a fudgy brownie base? Yes, please! Looks delicious!

Except once you bite into's not terrible...but really? That's cheesecake? I tried just the top part of the product by itself—the "mousse" section. It's nothing like cheesecake in my humble opinion. It tastes and feels like pumpkin pie filling. And that, of course, isn't a bad thing in and of itself. But I was promised cheesecake. Also, the fudgy brownie part isn't very fudgy. It's just...there.

There's a vague chocolatiness to the brownie base and an even more vague pumpkinniness to the crown, but overall, it's not particularly pumpkin-spicy or creamy or chocolatey. It's just an orange and brown dessert that, again, isn't terrible. It's just not terribly good or unique, either. The product's name makes it sound super gourmet, but the taste and texture just don't quite live up to our expectations—especially in light of the $6 price tag.

On the plus side, the presentation is stellar. These would look great on the dessert table at a fall party or something. The bars are very simple to prepare: just thaw, cut, and serve. And as Sonia pointed out, all of the constituent parts are quite moist and soft.

We'll easily be able to finish these bars over the course of the next few days, but if you're excited about Trader Joe's pumpkin products, this is not the first six bucks you should spend there.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

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