Our week of decadence continues with Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Cream Cheese. On Tuesday we had a look at Trader Joe’s overwhelming burrata and prosciutto flatbread. The excess of rich cheese and meat on that was literally too much of a good thing. It’s easy to image that a cookie butter infused cream cheese might stumble into the same pitfall. Luckily for us, that’s not the case, as this heavenly cream cheese balances its two decadent elements in harmony.
|What it is:||Cookie butter flavored cream cheese.|
|Price:||$3.29 for an 8 oz. tub|
|Worth it:||Yes. Cookie butter is always worth it.|
In hindsight, it’s only natural that Trader Joe’s would introduce a cookie butter flavored cream cheese. After all, they already have a Cookie Butter Cheesecake and Cookie Butter Cheesecake Bites. The next natural step is to just release cookie butter cheesecake directly to the populous so we can start mainstreaming it directly into our arteries.
TJ’s takes a straight forward approach to creating this delicious stuff. Realizing there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here, Cookie Butter Cream Cheese only has four ingredients: cream cheese, speculoos cookie butter, crushed speculoos cookies, and brown sugar.
The result tastes like a 50/50 (or maybe 60/40) mix of cream cheese and cookie butter. It start out with the mild, cool and creamy flavor of a smooth cream cheese, instilled with the flavor of warm and yummy and ever so delicious speculoos cookie butter. In terms of intensity, the flavor is similar to the gingerbread and pumpkin spice cream cheeses that show up in grocery stores around the holidays.
Essentially, it tastes like a thicker, more mild version of everyone’s favorite cookie-based condiment. That may not make it a household necessity, strictly speaking, but it does give you yet another way to incorporate cookie butter into your diet. Sure, we already have the cookie butter cheese cakes, cookie butter spreads, cookie butter ice cream and cookie butter filled cookies, but now we have a way to eat it for breakfast too.
The obvious applications are to serve it up on nice slice of toast, or golden-brown bagel, but there’s nothing to stop you from going wild and using it as a fruit dip, as the basis for amazing cream cheese frosting, or even making your own cookie butter cheese cake from scratch.
As for me, I already fall pray to the siren song of cookie butter too often as it is – scooping illicit spoonfuls into my mouth when my willpower breaks down. This cookie butter cream cheese may not be quite as rich and tempting as the original version, but odds are I won’t be able to keep it in my fridge for long.
Would I Recommend It: Yeah, you should definitely try this.
Would I Buy It Again: Not if I want to loose any weight.
Final Synopsis: Cream cheese with a mild cookie butter taste.
Yowza, cookie butter is back – this time in bite-sized cheesecake form! Let out the angelic choir and ring the church bell until it cracks – happy days are here again!
Or wait a minute. Am I being too hasty?
After all, didn’t Trader Joe’s full-sized Speculoos Cookie Butter Cheesecake fall a little short of the mark? And isn’t it true that while Speculoos Cookie Butter is, by itself, the finest achievement humankind has ever produced, that most of Trader Joe’s cookie butter spin offs have suffered from the difficulty of living up to the bar set by their near-perfect progenitor?
Yes, as we’ve seen time and time again, speculoos cookie butter, when mixed with other things, is almost never as good as cookie butter by itself. Yes, these cheesecake bites are delicious – delicate, decadent and the perfect size to indulge on without feeling guilty. However, while they succeed as cheesecake bites, they don’t actually taste like cookie butter.
This probably isn’t the end of the world. Any cheesecake is better than no cheesecake, and certainly speculoos cheesecake bites are much better than no cheesecake bites at all. They only real problem I have is, if you’re going to sell me on cookie butter, I expect the cookie butter to be there. In this case, despite the mouthwatering nature of each pretty little bite, there just isn’t any cookie butter taste to speak of.
Even though the top of each bite is swirled with a little smear of cookie butter, that taste doesn’t come through. There’s some magic something in cookie butter that is lost as soon as you start blending it into other deserts, and in this case it’s lost almost completely. Compare these to the Trader Joe’s full-sized cookie butter cheesecake. That whole cake was layered with a thick schmear of delicious speculoos, and it still lost something in the execution.
On the other hand, this is Trader Joe’s very first foray into making cheesecake bites, and as an experimental product, I love it! It’s a cold, hard fact that cheesecake is the best damn desert a person can hope for – and it’s an equally cold, hard fact that if you eat more than a slice and a half of cheesecake in one sitting your heart will clog up and explode. These cheesecake bites allow you to indulge in a bite-sized square (or three) of cheesecake, satisfying that craving without blowing out all your fitness goals.
As a way to get people on board for bite-sized cheesecake squares, it makes sense to launch the product with that cookie butter name recognition. However, as a cookie butter product, they don’t really stand up to scrutiny. TJ, you should have more faith in your delicious cheesecake recipe – these are delicious by themselves, with or without cookie butter.
Would I Recommend It: Yup, as long as you aren’t hankering for a cookie butter fix.
Would I Buy Them Again: Yeah, the next time a cheesecake craving strikes.
Final Synopsis: Great as little bites of cheesecake, not so great as a cookie butter delivery system.
Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter
I have been remiss, criminally, criminally remiss, to have not mentioned cookie butter on my blog to this point.
What can be said about this marvelous paste. It has been said that, “(Cookie butter) is the best stuff on earth.” I have also heard that “The life is cookie butter, and cookie butter is the life.” Less esoterically perhaps, and certainly more to the point, cookie butter has also been said to “taste like Christmas.” But does cookie butter live up to these claims – this, a product hiterto unknown to all but the most deeply entrenched in the culture of European import food shop?
The answer is yes. This can brook no argument. Behind me in my apartment I have stockpiled a small but significant quantity of weaponry in case I’m called upon to fight for this belief. I know this is a hard sell to those of you out there who have not yet tried this strange-sounding substance. We’re all familiar with peanut butter, a good many of us even with apple butter, but cookie butter? The name resists our minds attempt to parse the taste. Can they even do that?, we wonder. Surely they’re not just smooshing an indiscriminate bunch of cookies together and then voila, into the jars it goes.
My best advice to you is simply don’t ask, just try it. All the questions will wash away in a flood of understanding that may be quasi-religious. For the skeptical, I’d put it this way. You know peanut butter? That amazing substance that goes good with everything – chocolate, apples, bread, raisins, ice cream – everything? Peanut butter that you’d never turn down a nice spoonful of just right out of the jar it tastes so good? Well once you try cookie butter you’ll never go weak in the knees for peanut butter again. Cookie butter not only out performs peanut butter in the taste department in a big way, it actually transcends the foods it goes on. Combining it with things actually detracts from the amazing taste of the cookie butter itself. It has no need to be weakened and debased through novelty alloys. It’s like elemental gold, pure in and of itself with no need to be weakened and debased through alloys. Consider this simple equation: peanut butter plus chocolate = delicious. Cookie butter plus chocolate = not as good as cookie butter alone. As shocked as I am to say it the math speaks for itself – cookie butter is better than chocolate.
We owe our thanks to the Belgians for this wonderful cream. As the label itself boldly states this cookie butter is “Speculoos”. Speculoos itself is the eponymous cookie used in the concotion. It originally hails from the Low Countries where it has been baked for the Feast of St. Nicholas for centuries. Though the word is Dutch, and likely the recipe for the cookie used as well, it was the blessed Belgians who first decided to blend cookie crumbs into a spread. In early 2007 a Belgian chef went on the blockbuster Belgian prime time hit De Bedenkers (The Inventors) with the creation and by November had risen from a crowd of over 2,000 entrants to the position of finalist. It is no wonder. Cookie butter was first marketed by the European company Lotus as Biscoff Butter. And though Biscoff butter is very, very nice, the food wizards at Trader Joes have improved over even it with a creamier texture and more nuanced blend of spices.
Please, if you disregard every other word I write until I shrivel and die in the cold and my soul drifts off to the void of a godless sky, do not disregard these. Try Cookie Butter.
Would I recommend it: Dur, I dunno – maybe.
Would I buy it again: I would fight you for the last jar if I had to. I would gouge your damn eyes out.
Final Synopsis: Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter is proof that man has at last surpassed God himself.