Posts Tagged ‘Trader Joe’s


Trader Joe’s fudge-filled chocolate chip cookies

This is one of the rare desserts from the Trader Joe’s freezer case that I haven’t tried. But I’m glad I did. The soft chocolate chip cookies are slightly salty, which helps these from being over-the-top sweet. The “fudge” filling is actually ganache (chocolate + cream). My only beef is that they’re tiny like French macaroons, so you’re not quite sure what constitutes a serving. I’m thinking 3-4 would do the trick but according to the back of the box, 1 serving is 2 cookies. Um, not for this hungry girl.



Trader Joe’s mango sticky rice

I exercised unusual restraint yesterday by only getting one box of this new Trader Joe’s dessert, figuring that I should at least try it before making a bigger commitment.

Well, I regretted just buying one box, because they were sold out when I went back this morning. Apparently Mr. X-sXe and I weren’t the only ones who loved the Trader Joe’s version of this Thai dessert. We were both impressed with the balance of sweet coconut milk, fresh mango, salty-sweet sticky rice, and fried mung beans (packaged separately to stay crispy). At $3.29 for two servings, you’re paying less than what you’d pay at a restaurant for one serving. It’s made in Thailand, and actually better than what I’ve had at some Thai restaurants in DC (with the exception of Kanlaya’s version, which is unrivalled–they always get their sweet/tart mangoes perfectly buttery-ripe. It makes our Best of DC list:

I was also amused by the packaging, which reads:

“A bed of rice + half a perfectly ripe, sweet mango = intrigue. Intrigue + coconut milk = desire. Desire + crunchy mung bean = pure delight.”

Also, it’s pretty cool when the actual product looks just as good in real life as the photo on the package! BTW, this is vegan-friendly. The ingredients are mango, sticky rice, water, coconut milk, mung beans, and palm oil.


Trader Joe’s macaroons, my latest food obsession

One of the reasons I love this time of year is Trader Joe’s holiday products. There’s always an impressive selection of cookies, cakes and chocolates. I’m not sure whether these macaroons will be a holiday-only dessert, but I sincerely hope not. They’re definitely in the running as a freezer staple.

When I read about these in the holiday flyer, I was initially disappointed there were only two flavors (vanilla + vanilla cream filling and chocolate + chocolate ganache filling). Now that I’ve tasted them, I’m even more sad about the limited flavors. They’re good enough to deserve a product extension.

First, this box of a dozen is a pretty decent value, at $4.99/dozen (macaroons are usually at least $1 each at patisseries). Second, they’re just as tasty as what you’d buy at the patisserie, if not better. Even though I was initially worried that they’d lose their crisipiness in the defrosting process, you’d never know they came from the freezer. The cookie portion of the sandwich is crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside (it’s a combination of egg whites and ground almonds, so it eats like a meringue).

The real clincher was the filling. The vanilla cream is lightly sweet and fragrant; the chocolate ganache, the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. (Try the chocolate macaroon before it’s completely defrosted if you prefer a chewy center.) I was so impressed that even I texted a girlfriend, a fellow macaroon fiend, to stock up on these before other Trader Joe’s cutomers get their hands on them.


Trader Joe’s dark-chocolate covered pretzel slims

Trader Joe’s has been offering chocolate-covered pretzels at a great price forever. These are a variation on that product. There’s more surface area covered by chocolate on the slims than their regular pretzels, so these might be  a better option for chocolate lovers. Be prepared for the large grains of salt on these, which contrast nicely with the sweetness of the chocolate.

This bag was 6 ounces for $2.99. My guess is that ounce for ounce, the regular chocolate-covered pretzels are a better value. I’ll have to verify that next time I’m in the store, though.



Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix

If you haven’t noticed from all the other Trader Joe’s posts on this blog, I’m a sucker for trying their new products. So it’s no surprise that this mix ended up in my cart.


I tested this by making pancakes, which was easy–just add egg, melted butter and milk. (Soymilk’s fine as a substitute.) The pancakes turned out nice and fluffy with crisped edges. Make sure to butter the pan before putting the batter in to attain crispiness. Flavor-wise I could taste the pumpkin-pie spicing, but not so much the pumpkin. That might be something that could be solved with adding a bit of canned pumpkin to the batter (?) 


Random fact: when you see maple syrup looking all amazingly thick and gooey in ads, it’s really Karo dark corn syrup. I had to double-dose this stack of pancakes with maple syrup just to get this shot.

***Update: The second time we made these, I added bittersweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips (better than Nestle, I’ve noticed). So good, and the chocolate chips aren’t cloyingly sweet. In fact, they get a bit burnt during the cooking process, but it tastes good like that.***


Something for the snack drawer at work

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These are like Nestle Crunch meets Pringles by way of Belgium: high-quallity Belgian chocolate wafers with rice crunchies. The Pringles shape is a nice touch, as if ergonomically designed to melt on your tongue. They’ll run you $2.49 for a pack of 36 at Trader Joe’s.

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Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe’s

I know that there’s no comparison when it comes to say, the quality of produce or product selection–Whole Foods wins, hands down. But when it comes to other categories like frozen foods, Trader Joe’s whoops some serious WF butt. This tart was $5.99, what you’d pay for just a slice at a restaurant or patisserie. At Whole Foods, the nearly identical made-in-France tart was $9.99 over the summer. Ouch.

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Trader Joe’s Sutter’s Formula Cookies (PB chocolate chip)

Y’know, I might like these even more than the oatmeal-raisin Druid Circles (see post below). They’re moist, soft, the peanut butter isn’t overwhelming, and the chocolate chips are big and chunky.

Having said that, I’ve got mixed feelings about peanut butter. What else is so uniquely American, and so often found in places it doesn’t belong (cakes, pies and the open fields of Afghanistan via misguided relief efforts)?


Personally, a PB&J sandwich has never felt like a true meal to me. For one thing, it’s super sweet. For another, there’s nothing solid in the middle, just goop. I just don’t get the national obsession, and find myself automatically dismissing anything on a dessert menu made with peanut butter.

But, I’ve had both English and French friends ask me to bring them Reeses’s peanut butter cups from America, so maybe we as a country are really onto something.

These cookies have me seriously reconsidering my stand on the peanut butter.


food-to-sweets ratio in my freezer

At the risk of looking like a crazy person, here are the contents of my freezer.

I know what you’re thinking. Is she one of those OCD hoarders, with an apartment knee-deep in trash? Why is everything just crammed in there? Can’t she even place stuff in there upside-right?


My dysfunctional grocery shopping habits were exposed one day when Mr. X-sXe suggested that I eat what I have before buying anything else. A light bulb went off. It was such an obvious but alien concept.

I’m analyzing the contents of my freezer for two reasons. One is that I was curious what the ratio of desserts to real food would be. The other is that all too often when I open my fridge or freezer, something falls out. Most of the time it’s just annoying, but sometimes it’s also a huge pain in the butt, like when a jar of spaghetti sauce or salad dressing shatters all over the floor.  This has happened three times in the past year and needs to stop. I really should repeat this exercise for my fridge too, but that’s too daunting a task right now. So let’s start with the freezer.


Turns out I had more food (non-dessert) items in there than I thought. There were only a couple of things that I had to throw out: the baguette and unidentifiable green sauce. I wasn’t sure how old the Drumstick was, but it was a mistake to dispose of it in my stomach. The ice cream part was full of ice crystals and the cone, completely soggy.

After taking stock of everything in there, I did re-organize a bit, which helped prevent the food avalanches that would happen every time I opened the door. So that’s good. And it looks like there’s almost a 2:1 ratio of food to dessert. Also good. Most important, nothing has ended up broken on the floor for a while. We’ll see how long that lasts.


PS: I forgot to include the package of frozen berries. I think that would go in the food column.


more from the trader joe’s dessert case

This chocolate ganache cake (left) was oddly disappointing. How can you go wrong with that much ganache icing, chocolate cake and a chocolate-mousse center? The cake may have been the downfall of this dessert. It was dry and didn’t bring much to the party.

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Luckily, their lava cake (right) makes up for the inadequacies of the ganache cake. A fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth cake filled with rich chocolate goo. It takes less than a minute to warm up in the microwave. All it’s missing is some fresh whipped cream with orange zest.