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Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe Slims

Posted in Cookies by

I don’t know when, but at some point in my recent life I swore off Oreos. Now, don’t get me wrong, Oreos are great, Oreos are life. But when you’re in your thirties and you need to make a decision between a couple of cookies for a big calorie count and maybe just not having them, we know what wins. …and then you’re eating half the pack of Double Stuf telling yourself “just this once” yet another time. No. Nope. Swore off Oreos.

But then, I was in Trader Joe’s, Land of the Snack, Home of the Mandarin Orange Chicken. At my local Joe’s, the cookies and candy are stocked above their frozen goods, except when the crackers used to be, but this year they extended the cookies on one side and the candy on the other. Over time, it seems like their Joe Joe Collection(the really delicious knock-off Oreos) have been gaining more and more flavors. They have vanilla, mango, neopolitan and even a gluten free version(NO. DO NOT. THEY ARE DISGUSTING.). And now. Now they have slims. Joe-Joe Slims.

…sometimes we crave things we shouldn’t have, and have told ourselves we weren’t going to eat anymore. Chocolate Coconut Almonds, Oreos, Coke. And it’s easy enough not to buy those items, but something about the time, the place, the white box and cute, fun— I bought them.

Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe Slims come in a fun white box with cute lettering and a plastic sleeve with two rows of cookies. They look delicious, and despite being stacked like maybe the crew member doing the work really wanted to empty that box, none were broken.

The slims are majority chocolate cookie with a very thin layer of white creme in the middle. The chocolate cookie disks are so thin it seems like somebody took a normal Joe-Joe, sliced it in two, squeezed the bare minimum of creme inside and slapped it back together. Kinda like filling your parent’s liquor back up with water when you were a teenager.

Unlike watered down vodka, these cookies taste great. Although light on creme, the chocolate cookies themselves are amazing. Good snap, minimal crumble. They feel almost yesterday-made and today-ready, with such a toothsome feel and response, it’s hard to say that maybe they weren’t. That maybe, just maybe, somebody made them, let them cool, and packed them up yesterday, just for me.

They’re magical.

Found at Trader Joe’s.

July 22, 2020

Twix Cookies and Creme

Posted in Candy by

There’s something about a Twix, with its golden wrapper and brilliant red letters that has dazzled me since my youth. Not one, but two cookie and caramel wafers lovingly draped in milk chocolate. The imperfection of their smooth, softly-dried natural ridges and valleys a testament to taste. This is obviously my favorite candy bar, and over the years Twix has come in an assortment of various varieties including peanut butter, dark chocolate and white and even ice cream. Among those variants comes Cookies and Creme, a returning Twix flavor from the 90s.

Twix Cookies and Creme come in a dazzling electric blue wrapper, in regular, sharing size and mini-bar sharing size. They’re unmistakably eye-catching, and upon opening the package, you’ll be pleased to see two Twix essentially the same as usual. But they’re… they’re not. They’re a smidge darker, and one could very well mistake them for dark chocolate. Biting into one feels odd. Twix’s unmistakable snap and CRONCH are gone, with an odd hollowness taking it’s place.

The cookies and creme flavor feels lost, as the creme is light, but lacking in flavor and easily mashed into everything else to be forgotten. The cookie has a slight residual mouthfeel. Most disturbing of all, the outside chocolate, that I described on the original Twix as delightfully draped, drizzled and enrobing two cookie caramel bars? That chocolate is waxy, brittle and flakes off quite easily.

To the tooth, the bars break to the slightest pressure without a true, hard-earned snap. The creme feels like sticky tak and tastes vaguley better. It’s not sweet. They feel stale. They taste stale. And the sweetness that used to come from a mix of chocolate and caramel and smooth, harmless cookie is now carried on the back of the waxy, dollar store level chocolate it’s encased in.

Sadly, Twix Cookies and Creme are dissatisfying in a big way. I’d buy them once(I bought them twice, at two different stores), but wave the purchase off thereafter.

Worth a try, but for the Twix lover, these miss the mark.

Found at Walgreens.

July 17, 2020

Trader Joes’s Buffalo Style Chicken Poppers

Posted in Appetizers by

Summer holds a particularly special place in my heart, and even though it’s sweltering, I hope you’re having a good one. Seasonally, it seems like Trader Joe’s changes things up more than any other store, and it’s true, ask them about Roasted Pecan Blue Cheese Dip now and a member of their crew will direct you to the later fall months. But that doesn’t mean the Joe doesn’t have a jam-packed summer selection of goodies.

Case in point: Trader Joe’s Buffalo Style Chicken Poppers. Frozen, and hopefully stocked somewhere you won’t have to ask a team member where they put them… and what else they’ve moved since you’ve last had a chance to visit. And you know, if they’re just out of Fried Rice today or if they’ll have more on the— oh, there it is, thank you.

These come in a rectangular box, glued at the ends(thankfully, because TJ’s has a problem with soft cardboard and easily opening flaps on frozen goods), laid out so that each individual popper looks like part of a triangle-only tessellation. Only delicious, and not math-based.

The instructions dictate 375F for about 20 minutes(I’ve done a perfect 20 and I’ve done 18, and like that better). The poppers take on a deep, dark golden brown coloring that makes them look like fried chicken skin paper footballs. Since they’re cheese based and hot cheese turns into hot grease, I chose to drain them on a paper towel for a couple of minutes. One of them popped, oozing buffalo chicken and cheese onto my baking sheet. No lie, they look good.

Flaky, crunchy, crusty chicken poppers plated with sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

On first bite, these are unbelievably flaky, extremely crunchy and delightfully crispy. Despite probably being fried and then flash frozen for at-home reheat, there’s very little grease absorption in what is offered. These are basically Trader Joe’s Buffalo Chicken Dip stuffed into beautifully crafted isosceles triangles of flaky delight. They have a kick, though, and if you aren’t a flamechaser, maybe sit these out. These are not a children’s party food, cute as they are. Do not let these bite back at you unaware. I’d rate them as a medium heat, on par with hatch chile or on the spicier side of vinegar based hot sauces.

Lastly, these aren’t a meal. Despite a high calorie count for a small portion(these friangles are big, two or three TJ’s samosas would rival them in size) the majority of their insides are air. Flaky, flaky, crispity-crunchity air. The phyllo puffs up in size, hiding a well-portioned amount of filling.

Enough to tease, enough to tantalize, but not enough to feed.

Found at Trader Joe’s.

July 15, 2020