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Friday, June 25, 2021

Trader Joe's Vegan Cookies & Creme Vanilla Bean Bon Bons

After perhaps straying a little bit out of their lane with vegan pork rinds, here's a return closer to the TJ's wheelhouse for completely animal product free products with Trader Joe's Vegan Cookies & Creme Vanilla Bean Bon Bons. 

Seriously, "porkless" pork rinds? Still can't wrap my head around that. 

But hey, a tasty icy cold ice cream-like treat made from coconut milk? I am 110% behind that. 

That's the good part about this (new?) offering, from the same folks behind some other brilliant frozen non dairy desserts. That "ice cream" is on point - firm, not too melty, the right consitency, hits all the flavor marks without being too weird. There's a part of me that always expects coconut milk-based stuff to taste like, well, coconuts which depending on the prodcut can be either disappointing or inspired, but it rarely works that way. Even if there is a faint coconut taste here, the nice chocolatey enrobing adds a rich cocoa flavor, decidely on the darker side, with a good candy coat crunch. An informal survey of our bon bons revelaed that some of them even happened to have two distinct shells - all the more flavor and fun! Delish. Think of a pretty tasty Klondike bar, in somewhat of a dome form, and that's what we got here. 

Unfortunately, though, there's a couple shortfalls. If this product were simply named "Vegan Vanilla and Chocolate Bons Bons", I think that'd be a pretty apt description. But, alas, they're not. They're supposed to be "cookies & creme" and "vanilla bean." Let's look at those two alleged descriptors. First off, the easier one - vanilla bean. That says to me a richer, more decadent version of vanilla - not getting that here. It's decidedly a pretty basic taste here - nothing wrong, but not memorable either. Second, "cookies & creme'? Please. A few of our tidbits had nothing resembling any cookie in them. Like, it was just empty "ice cream" with no swirls ors crumbles or chunks. The ones with anything though? The cookie dough was soft and grainy and really nondescript for any sort of flavor - it was hard to taste them at all. Like, nothing, and it's not like cookies and cream is a difficult ice cream flavor to nail down. Bad execution there. 

But yeah, overall, we liked them, and the bon bons were about the right size for a small little cold treat, which will be great this summer. Even nonperfect sweets can be enjoyed, which is how I'll think we'll go with these. Would buy again for sure so let's just hit that bottom line. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Vegan Cookies & Creme Vanilla Bean Bon Bons: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Trader Joe's Organic Sugar Cones

This week marks the official astronomical start of summer, and that means it's ice cream season. Admittedly, Sonia is more of the cone aficionado, or "conehead," in our household. I'll usually opt to shovel the confectionery dairy right out of the pint container and into my mouth like a true ice cream glutton, although even I like to give it the cone treatment once in a while.

Eating frozen dessert from a cone feels more like you're at the fair or an amusement park—except you don't have to deal with crowds and wonder if someone will bump into you hard enough to knock the ice cream off the cone and onto the ground. It's a real bummer when that happens. Better to just eat the ice cream cone in your own home where there's fewer people. It's less expensive that way, too. There are also not as many roller coasters, which is unfortunate, because I like roller coasters. But I digress.

The cones are the perfect combination of structural integrity and brittle crispness. That is, they won't snap when you're pressing down a scoop of ice cream onto the top, but they crunch and break away nicely when bitten from an angle. They're pleasantly thick, but not to the point where they're difficult to eat.

Trader Joe's Organic Sugar Cones are lightly sweet, with "organic dark brown sugar" as the primary sweetening ingredient. There's an appetizing wheaty breadiness to them and notes of vanilla in the background. They have just enough flavor of their own that they could honestly be a stand-alone snack food, but they're also understated enough that they won't get in the way of your tasty ice cream, no matter the variety.

$2.29 for a product like this is a pretty decent bargain, considering you'll find non-organic cones in other grocery stores for upwards of $3. We wish they were somehow resealable, although they do throw you a bone and wrap them in two columns rather than one, so if you're not going to eat all 12 cones in one sitting, at least half the dozen of them won't go stale right away.

Apparently, these are seasonal, so pick some up before they disappear if you're interested. They have a fairly long shelf life, so you could probably stock up enough to last until next summer if you're a year-round ice cream consumer.

Looks like four stars a piece again for these organic sugar cones. 

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

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