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Friday, June 4, 2021

Trader Joe's Crisp Crunchy Crisps

Inflation is here, friends. I'm sure you've noticed your grocery bill going up lately. Even if you're buying the exact same stuff week after week, the prices keep rising, slowly but surely. Or, in some cases, the manufacturers simply put less of the product in the packaging and keep prices on an even keel. You know, like a bag of chips—they can fill it with fewer and fewer chips and then literally inflate the rest of the bag with air...which may very well be the case here.

I mean, I've never purchased this product before, and I'm pretty sure it's new-ish, but that's what strikes me first about the product before even opening the bag: it's barely even half full of crisps. For $2.29, these things better be good.  Made primarily of pea, potato, and chickpea flours, these chips are unique, if nothing else. At first bite, I thought they were a bit boring and maybe a little bland. I expected them to have a more pungent, earthy array of flavors, but found them to be more like plain rice crackers.

After shoveling a few more crisps down the hatch, I started to taste that pea-ish earthiness that I expected up front. It's there. It's just more subtle than I was expecting at first. They're moderately salty, as well. Maybe even a tad too salty. 

True to their name, they are indeed, crisp...and crunchy. Gosh, I mean, these would have been a complete failure if they had been soggy or soft or chewy. The bag says to try pairing them with your favorite dips. I did. They do go well with things like guac or corn and bean salsas. Their subtle taste lets the spiciness of the condiment shine through and provides a nice crunchy vehicle for consumption. Though somewhat airy, they're not as brittle as you might assume, so they can carry a dollop of dip without least not every time.

Sonia liked them un poquito mas than I did at first, but they definitely grew on me. By the end of the bag, I was pining for more. I do still wish they tasted a tad more like actual chickpeas. 

Four stars from the wifey. Three and a half stars from yours truly.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Trader Joe's Strawberry Shortcake Sandwich Cookies

 Ever take a bite of something and wonder how much butter is in it? It'd be easy to gauge if that something were an actual butterstick (which i may or may not have done in my youth), but, like, anything else?

That was my very first thought with Trader Joe's Strawberry Shortcake Sandwich Cookies. 

Holy moly. There's enough butter in there to make Paula Deen blush. And it's not even that the cookies taste all that buttery - they do, but no overly so - but in that each like crook and nanny of the shortbread cookies exude so much rich crumbliness or creaminess that there's only one possible culprit: butter. 

Take the actual cookie. As my lovely bride described perfectly, they're just the right amount of sandy and crumbly, with a little melt-in-your-mouth crispiness. The little "strawberry studs" interspersed through out do add a small element of occasional chewiness but it all melds together very tastefully. And, wow, the cookies are extremely sweet too - all that strawberry and "natural flavors" (c'mon now) in there, as if one of God's tastiest fruits needed any help. These cookies would be pretty spectacular even by themselves...

But then there's the filling. It's...very vibrantly pink. And super berryful. the frosting is rich and thick and creamy...and sweet. Very, very sweet, almost too much. It'd be pretty great by itself - it's a great buttercream. Super tasty. 

But there's the rub. Together, the cookies and buttercream go just a little too far when combined. It's a bit overkill. Personally, I would have preferred keeping the filling as is but using a more subdued version of a shortbread cookie. Something a little more reserved and toned down - the same texture, of course, but less rich and fancy and delectable. Sometimes taking off a little adds more, and that, in my one only vaguely qualified opinion, would be the case here. 

That being said, my kids loved them as we went for an evening stroll the other night. On a nice night, going on a walk to the local creek with a super sugary treat can't be beat, at least not with my crew. They're the perfect sized treat for a small hand, as long as it's attached to someone who ate a good dinner. And the richness strikes deep enough that truly one seems enough for a grownup too. 

And apropos of nothing, a key lime pie version of these cookies would be ABSOLUTELY KILLER.

When all said it done, it won't take much buttering up to make these cookies a repeat buy. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Strawberry Shortcake Sandwich Cookies: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


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