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Monday, December 7, 2020

Trader Joe's Trail Mix Crackers

This has been a year of curveballs and surprises—mostly unpleasant ones. That's been true for the world at large and very much true in my own personal life, as well. So I decided to do a surprise review of a non-Christmas item right in the middle of the Christmas season. Crazy, right?

I've got a sinking suspicion that this year isn't done with big surprises just yet, either. Be prepared for anything. Hopefully this review of Trader Joe's Trail Mix Crackers is a more pleasant "surprise" for most of you than what the remainder of 2020 has up its sleeve.

I mean it's not unheard of for us to look at "normal" products in December. And this one definitely deserves a looksee, as it slipped through the cracks review-wise for the past month and a half or so, and it's pretty darn unique and tasty. How many Trader Joe's products have we seen that prominently feature mung beans? Not many.

Combining all the best properties of crispy, crunchy, salty, cheesy crackers and the satisfying snacktasticality of a typical trail mix, this fun bag of munchy morsels is right up Trader Joe's alley. Each cracker is studded with cashew nuts, raisins, sesame seeds, and fried mung beans. All I really know about mung beans is that they're in a lot of Asian snacks and desserts. It's hard to isolate their flavor here because they're surrounded by so many other ingredients, but I believe they're slightly sweet and a little nutty.

And they work quite well with the nuttiness of cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. A bit of extra sweetness from the raisins helps balance out the mixture of flavors. There's also a "sugar syrup" listed in the ingredients, which I'm guessing served as the "glue" that attaches the trail mix pieces to the crackers.

Surprisingly, most of the crackers were fully intact when we first opened the package. A few broke into smaller shards. No biggie. The bag isn't resealable, which in larger families probably wouldn't be a problem. Since it's just Sonia and me, we didn't finish ours in one sitting, so we broke out the chip clips to preserve the freshness. Again, no biggie.

$2.49 for the 4.5 oz bag. Good for curbing hunger and pretty tasty. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Trader Joe's Decked Out Tree Cookies

Most normal years right around now, my lovely bride and I are busy as all heck, cleaning up the house and baking cookies for what we call our annual Holiday Cookie Potluck. It's...basically what it sounds like it is. Cookies, friends, family, gathering together, hanging out...but not this year. Not sure if you've noticed, but 2020 isn't exactly what any of us would call "normal" except if you're a weirdo. 

Anyhoos, we're adaptable and doing a smaller thing this year and taking it on the road. Yup, still making cookies, and gonna deliver to some folks this weekend, so we've still been busy with making cookies..and storing them...and smacking away each other's hands so we have enough for the cookie tins...and kids (myself included) still want to eat cookies while staring at them all day, literally within arm's reach, as we're doing work and school from home. 

So if we wanted to get some Trader Joe's Decked Out Tree Cookies to help hold us over this week, who can blame us? 

Look, there's nothing absolutely magical here. Really not. No offense. Take your basic cookie, add a little chocolate, then a little more, add some spirit fingers  I mean "festive sprinkles" and that's about what it is. I'm pretty sure we could easily make a homemade replica pretty easily here. 

But that doesn't mean these tree cookies aren't any good. Nah. They're downright delish. That cookie base isn't quite a shortbread - it's not as crumbly - but not exactly a sugar cookie - not crispy enough - either. Nah. it's like a nice little marriage of the two for texture, with a little hint of sugar. That's all that's needed to serve up the milk chocolate filling, of which there is plenty. The cookie itself even seems a little indented so to have a reservoir to have a little scooch extra filling, which, let's be honest, should be okay with literally everyone reading this. Gotta love the milk chocolate. I usually side more towards darker, but if this were a dark chocolate, it'd likely be too rich a cookie with the amount of filling/frosting slabbed atop. That white chocolate drizzle is a nice little touch, as is the sprinkles. Do they literally meet the definition of "decked out"? likely not, but the cookies are kinda cute, kinda snazzy, and definitely tasty, and what else does one need from a Christmas cookie really?

While not worthy to be the centerpiece of a holiday cookie tray, there's not a thing wrong with them either. Kids will likely love them. Mine sure did. And heck I don't really mind them either. And at like $3 for a tray of 8 cookies it's not a bad deal either. While not blown away, we are quite happy enough to give them a good score. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Decked Out Tree Cookies: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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