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Trader Joe’s Soft Baked Snickerdoodle

Trader Joe's Soft Baked Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles!…?

Trader Joe’s offers many cookies, but aside from the occasional Joe-Joe, I don’t usually bother to review them on this blog. A cookie is, in general, a cookie. There’s no need for a reviewer to tell you how Trader Joe’s big bucket of animal crackers taste – you can imagine that pretty well on your own. The intent of this blog, as stated so long ago, is to review those products that are so strange/weird/interesting that you just have to wonder what the hell is up with them.

Trader Joe’s Soft Baked Snickerdoodle cookie is one such product – promising soft, from the box snickerdoodles that are also gluten-free and vegan. How could such a thing be possible, short of selling one’s soul to Satan? I can’t imagine, and I’m not necessarily even going to rule out that possibility, because somehow those magnificent bastards have managed to pull it off – an amazingly soft and chewy, and very tasty, vegan, gluten-free cookie.

Just don’t call it a snickerdoodle.

The traditional snickerdoodle is a basic sugar cookie that has been dusted in cinnamon sugar – originally a New England creation, and named in the whimsical fashion those folks share for baked goods (see also Raspberry BramblesTangle Breeches, and Kinkawoodles. It’s a simple pleasure, but a good one.

In the course of making their soft baked, vegan, gluten-free snickerdoodles, Trader Joe’s necessarily had to leave out the core ingredients of the sugar cookie – namely the flour, butter and eggs. In their place TJ’s has leverged such ingredients as evaporated pear juice, date paste, and sorghum wheat.

The resulting cookie is still very good, but it just doesn’t quite taste like a sugar cookie or a snickerdoodle. The replaced ingredients result in a very dense and moist cookie, a delight to chew upon, but with a subtly fruity (almost fig newton like) undertone.

Even more unusual, these snickerdoodles don’t taste very much like cinnamon. Whether this is because too much cinamon would have thrown off the delicate balance of the vegan ingredients or what, I don’t know – all I can say is that there’s not so much a “cinnamon sugar” taste to the cookie as there is a hint of cinnamon that hangs around in the aftertaste.

But honestly, this is just splitting hairs. The cookie is a good one – rich and tasty and, most importantly, delicately soft – without involving any artificial preservatives, gluten, animal products, peanuts, or tree nuts.

If you’re looking for an amazing snickerdoodle, you can look elsewhere. If you want an amazing cookie that meets all your nutritional requirements and still stays soft, look no further.


The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Yes, especially if you live a gluten free or vegan lifestyle

Would I Buy It Again: Honestly, I probably won’t – I scarfed these down much to quickly. Not a diet safe purchase.

Final Synopsis: Excellent, soft and chewy cookies that aren’t actually snickerdoodles.

Trader Joe's Soft Baked Snickerdoodles - Nutrition Facts

Trader Joe’s Soft Baked Snickerdoodles – Nutrition Facts

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Trader Joe’s Partially Popped Popcorn!

Trader Joe's Partially Popped Popcorn

Coming soon, Trader Joe’s Just Watermelon Seeds!

Trader Joe’s Partially Popped Popcorn? Trader Joe’s Partially Popped Popcorn! Not only has TJ’s brought us a new product that sounds absolutely insane, but judging by the exclamation marks, they’re very excited to being doing so.

Trader Joe’s Partiall yPopped Popcorn is, astoundingly, exactly what it sounds like. Ever tried to pop a bag of popcorn in a microwave? You know htose partially popped kernles that are lawys left on the botto? That’s what this is. An entire bag of nothing but popcorn rejects. Essentially, Trader JOe’s has hit on the idea of selling you some of the trash you would normally throw out.

But wait. Is it trash? After all, who among us hasn’t found themselves idly trying to munch on some of the half-budded misfit kernels when all the good popcorn is gone. Is it true that not only have you tried to eat these kernels, but that maybe, every now and then, you have found one that was semi-popped in just the right way, formed just enought that it crunched beneath the teeth with an enjoyable, salty little crunch?

Friends and readers, I’m shocked to see myself write this, but Trader Joe’s Partially Popped Popcorn is not just good, but strangely addicting. –addicting in the weirdly compulsive way that leads you to repeatedly chawing on those partially cooked kernels in your own Pop Secret bag. The difference here is that the kernels in this bag are all precisely cooked as to be half-popped, fully roasted and pleasantly  chompable, without any molar-busting, underdone seeds in the mix. The result is more like a roasted Corn Nut than anything else. They have about that same level of sturdy, hard-shelled integrity, that gives way to a crunchy, salty core after a brief moment of tense, inter-dental resistance.

A nutty crunchy, salty, snack – that’s what these really are at the bottom of it, despite their strange origins. Maybe Trader Joe’s isn’t peddling us their rejects, so much as they’ve discovered a previously untapped resource.


The Breakdown:

Would I Recommend Them: It’d be hard to, without being laughed at.

Would I Buy Them Again: Yeah, I would. I love Corn Nuts.

Final Synopsis: Basically smaller, off-brand Corn Nuts.

Trader Joe's Partially Popped Popcorn - Nutrition Facts

Trader Joe’s Partially Popped Popcorn – Nutrition Facts


Trader Joe’s Soy Yogurt – Strawberry and Peach Flavors

 

Trader Joe's Soy Yogurt - Strawberry, Peach

It’s amazing that you can get so much sugar in something for such a low price.

The cavalcade of gluten free, vegan food continues! My stars, but aren’t we having fun? Trader Joe’s Soy Yogurt is yet another entry in their huge wall of yogurt variations. This one leaped out at me in particular for it’s soy nature. After having such a good time with the non-ice cream, Soy Creamy, it seemed like a natural follow up. The results were similar – tasty, if you’re willing to accept a certain level of soy bean aftertaste.

You may have noticed that I review a fair number of yogurts. The rather mundane reason is that I habitually have one for breakfast, Monday through Friday, and have done since before I can remember.

In fact, my yogurt habit is rather more than habitual. A not insignificant part of my life is run off of what I like to call the “yogurt clock”. As the most modular food in my diet, I use the yogurt clock as a fail safe to remind my stupid bachelor self that I have to go buy more food on a regular basis. Every time I go to Trader Joe’s, I buy six yogurts. I eat one yogurt a day, Mon – Fri, and when I run out I go shopping again. The extra, sixth yogurt is my emergency back up yogurt so if a friend asks if they can have a yogurt, I don’t have to say, “No, those yogurts are a precision instrument, and only I can eat them.” This situation has never actually occurred, but I’m ready for it.

Planning out a good shopping trip, given the crazy state of life that is modern city living, is more than a trivial consideration, requiring numerous harrowing encounters with all sorts of biological and mechanical foes. As such, the steady, daily ticking of my yogurt clock is probably the third or fourth most important consideration in my daily life – below the internet and my girlfriend, but above the car.

That brings me back, more or less, to Trader Joe’s Soy Yogurt. A yogurt that, like so much vegan food, is not legally a yogurt. Trader Joe’s is forced to concede this point several times on the packaging with the subtitle, “a yougurt-style non-dairy food”.

The last yogurt I reviewed from TJ’s, the European-style chocolate-infused yogurts, we’re strikingly off-putting in their zesty taste. There’s no such non-American trickery at play here. Despite the fact that no milk has ever gone into this soy yogurt, it tastes very very similar to your ordinary Dannon or Yoplait.

The yogurt is smooth and thick, with a heavy “whipped” style texture and nice bits of chopped up fruit in it. It’s a remarkably close approximation to ordinary, dairy based yogurt, and at first bite you’d never suspect it’s vegan. Both types of the yogurt are also very sweet – too sweet for me in fact. The peach yogurt has 18 grams of sugar per serving, while the strawberry version has a considerable 21 grams of sugar in it – the equivalent of 6-7 packets of sugar in each yogurt. Considering that you can polish off a yogurt in about 6-7 spoonfuls, that’s a serious sugar load for first thing in the morning. While this amount of sugar is certainly not unusual in the super sweet world of grocery store yogurt, it’s more than I like to eat over breakfast.

The other consideration, as I hinted at above, is the soy bean-y aftertaste you can expect. Trader Joe’s does their best to keep this under control, but once you’ve finished one of one of these pots you won’t have any doubts that you’ve just had some soy beans. The soy aftertaste is still mild, a gentle graininess of beans on the tongue, but slightly stronger than the Soy Creamy aftertaste. It certainly wasn’t enough to ruin the overall tastiness of the yogurt, but as a guy used to dairy it did give me pause from time to time.

Even if I was dedicated to the vegan lifestyle, I probably wouldn’t replace my yogurt clock with Trader Joe’s Soy Yogurt. Though tasty, there’s just too much sugar in guys to eat on a daily basis. I’d much rather swap in fruit or something else a little better for me. The yogurt is a fine and tasty treat, just not a particularly healthy one.


 

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend Them: Yes to vegans, but not in general.

Would I Buy Them Again: No, they’re too sweet for me.

Final Synopsis: A good yogurt, and a great vegan option, as long as you don’t mind a lot of sugar.

 

Trader Joe's Soy Yogurt - Nutrition Facts

Trader Joe’s Soy Yogurt – Nutrition Facts


Trader Joe’s Unflavored Organic Coconut Milk Beverage

Trader Joe's Unflavored Organic Coconut Milk Beverage

Can this possible be as good as it sounds?

Nothing ever sounds so good to me as coconut milk. I don’t know why this is, because every time I have some I’m inevitably disappointed. I blame cultural indoctrination for my consistently high hopes – mainly Sesame Street.

As a child I remember watching one of the recurring animated segments that would run from time to time on that saintly old show, the simple story a little boy in Jamaica (or some such Carribean Island) who wants nothing but a nice glass of coconut milk before bed time, receives it, and becomes infinitely content. What was coconut milk, I wondered, watching this little drama unfold, and how good must it be? I supposed it to be something unearthly sweet and creamy and delicious.

Alas, I grew older. And as I grew older it came to be that I would taste coconut milk. And through tasting it I came to know the bitter world of disappointment that comes to claim us all. Coconut milk, I learned, basically tastes like water diluted with milk, nothing so exotic as I had dreamed.  And so I turned my attention to other things, and experienced much and forgot coconut milk, forgot it until today.

Trader’s Joe’s Unflavored Organic Coconut Milk Beverage lured me with that same exotic appeal from my youth, and while it does not redeem those lost childhood dreams, for what it is it is quite good. This coconut milk beverage, and note the addition of the word beverage here, is basically just a soy milk substitute. The taste is very close to the taste of ordinary soy milk (essentially undetectable to a regular guy like me), but is noticeably thicker and creamier, and leaves a mellow, lingering taste in the mouth.

This creaminess is due to the ingredients behind the coconut milk beverage, which is not actually coconut milk per se, but coconut cream mixed with water. To me, this would seem to be basically the same thing as coconut milk, seeing as that coconut cream is just coconut milk that has had the water simmered out of it. Evidently that’s not the way the truth in labeling division of the US Gov’t sees it though.

At any rate, the main audience for this product doesn’t seem to be me so much as it does those people whose stomach’s are quite prickly when it comes to milk and/or soy based products. I can’t speak for those fine people, but as someone blithely lactose tolerant I thought this product was a bit nicer than ordinary unflavored soy milk for my cereal, but still no replacement for the good ol’ cow.

 

Would I Recommend It: Only to those on the look for something other than soy milk.

 

Would I Buy It Again: Sorry, but it just doesn’t fill any needs in my life.

 

Final Synopsis: A good go to for the soy-sensitive, it not the childhood dreamers.

Trader Joe's Unflavored Organic Coconut Milk Beverage - Nutritional Information


Trader Joe’s Super Seeded Tortilla Chips

 

Trader Joe's Super Seeded Tortilla Chips

Doesn't the name suggest that this chip has already been outdone?

 

Okay, let’s get real here again – real about really delicious tortilla chips. Today’s delicious offering are the nuttiest chips you’re likely to find – nutty because they are chock full of organic seeds that make your chip’s crunch crunch. As the bag boldly proclaims – these chips are made with organic flax, hemp, poppy, caraway and chia seeds. That’s right, chia seeds aren’t just for growing afros on novelty porcelain busts anymore – they’re in your chips! Forming the substrate for the seeds you’ll find a mix of organic white corn flour and “expeller pressed” safflower / sunflower oil. Expeller pressing is simply a method of extracting oil from seeds and such by crushing the hell out of it in a big press, as opposed to the more efficient method of dousing it with poisonous chemicals (generally some sort derivative of crude oil derivitve). Healtheir? Arguably, but it definitely sounds better.

So this product gets full brownie points for being hippie-friendly as all get out, but are they good? In this case, the hippies win. The extra crunchy, nutty flavor the chips suits the tongue just right – a welcome change up to the entirely mundane plain tortilla chip. That said, these chips are as all-purpose and utilitarian as your ordinary sack of chips. The caraway seeds, organic or not, still pack that overpowering caraway flavor. Since you don’t taste one until you happen to crunch down right on it, it’s not a taste you can expect in every bite. Eat your salsa with these chips and every few bites it’ll taste like you’re eating salsa on rye bread. Limit these chips to heavier, savory tastes – hummus and guacamole.

 

Would I Recommend Them: Absolutely, but plan for the caraway seeds or you’ll be sorry.

 

Would I Buy Them Again: If I needed to casually impress a vegan.

 

Final Synopsis: Combine a good new taste with a clever pun and I’m sold every time.

Trader Joe's Super Seeded Tortilla Chips - Nutritional Facts