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Trader Joe's

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trader Joe’s Belgian Chocolate Fancies

Trader Joe's Belgian Chocolate FanciesTrader Joe’s has a bountiful selection of candies for the holidays, great for hostess gifts and of course serving in your own home. One of 2009’s new items are the Belgian Chocolate Fancies.

The box sports a modular and moderne design created by someone who liked to show off their typesetting skills. They’re:
Decadent & Stylish Chocolates
with
Rich Chocolate Fruit Infused Ganache
No Artificial Flavors. No Preservatives

On the back it goes on in all caps:
Our Belgian Chocolate Fancies are sophisticated hemispheres of flavor! Five delicious natural fruit flavors - raspberry, cranberry, pomegranate, cherry and orange., make up a sweet selection. These Belgian beauties are a wonderful gift or a perfect treat to serve at parties and gatherings!

I had a headache from all the shouting and exclamations.

Trader Joe's Belgian Chocolate Fancies

The chocolates are quite pretty to look at, like a selection of gaudy bakelite coat buttons. The five flavors are naturally colored domes with a similar construction. Inside is a ganache with a little dollop of fruit jelly. The top is a shell of chocolate or white chocolate and the base is sealed up with more chocolate of some sort.

They’re one inch high and about one inch and a quarter in diameter. For the most part they’re one bite, but of course I did a lot of biting in half and peeking so perhaps I wasn’t eating them the way those fancy Belgians intended.

Cranberry (white chocolate) - a white chocolate shell with red blush filled with a milk chocolate ganache and a cranberry jelly all sitting on a white chocolate base.

You know what I think about when someone says cranberry jelly? I think tart. I think cheek drawing tartness. What I got here was something a little less startling. The milk chocolate ganache was a rather dairy, which is not a flavor I think goes particularly well with cranberry, I think a dark chocolate would join with the acidity and berry notes better. It was sweet and set off well by the slightly tart cranberry jelly, but the white chocolate shell & base just made to far too sweet in the end.

Trader Joe's Belgian Chocolate FanciesPomegranate (white chocolate) - a white chocolate shell with an orange cast filled with a white chocolate ganache and a pomegranate jelly all sitting on a dark chocolate base.

This was another bland floral jelly with no real note that came through the white chocolate, it was all overshadowed by the dark chocolate base. Not that it was a bad thing, but a pom white ganache truffle sounded pretty good.

Cherry (milk chocolate) - a milk chocolate shell with brownish red hue filled with a white chocolate ganache and a cherry jelly sitting on a milk chocolate base.

The scent on these is an overwhelming woodsy-cherry with some medicinal maraschino thing. It’s quite distracting and swamps the box every time I open it. The jelly itself is rather mild and sweet with an authentic flavor of cherry. The sweet milk chocolate has a little dairy going on, a little creamy party that’s actually rather good. So though I didn’t like the bad influence the cherry had on the box, they were one of the better cherry chocolates I’ve had in a long time.

Trader Joe's Belgian Chocolate FanciesOrange (dark chocolate) - a dark chocolate shell with an orange blush filled with a white chocolate ganache and an orange marmalade all sitting on a dark chocolate base.

It seemed like the orange ones got a more liberal heaping of the jelly, so the flavor was more intense right away. The jelly is tangy and zesty, smooth and not a trace of grain. I would buy a whole box of these.

Raspberry (white chocolate) - a white chocolate shell with red/brown stripes filled with a white chocolate ganache and a raspberry jelly all sitting on a dark chocolate base.

The ganache is soft, creamy and sweet, a little fluffy and generally unflavored. The raspberry jelly does nothing, not even a tangy bite or a floral note. The dark chocolate base actually does a lot of heavy lifting here with a bittersweet overtone in an otherwise “cherry infused” piece.

So my ultimate reaction to these was that I was torn. They’re good quality, I appreciate that they’re beautiful and have some uncommon flavors. The ingredients may be all natural (including the colorings) but there’s also canola and palm oil in there (good quality ganache is made with butterfat). In the end each piece wasn’t distinctive enough and the colors weren’t well defined so I couldn’t even tell what I was eating. They just didn’t satisfy any craving within me for either chocolate or creamy.

Belgian Chocolate Fancies are marked gluten free and say that they’re processed on equipment with tree nuts & eggs (and of course contain dairy and soy). So it may be a lovely hostess gift for a chocolate-loving peanut-allergic pal.

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Cranberry Raisinets
  2. Kohler Chocolates Garden Ganache & Toffee Mountains
  3. Trader Joe’s French Truffles
  4. Trader Joe’s The Art of Chocolate
  5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels
  6. Green and Black’s White Chocolate
Name: Belgian Chocolate Fancies
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Third & LaBrea)
Price: $4.99
Size: 7.05 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Chocolate, Jelly, White Chocolate, Belgium, Trader Joe's, All Natural, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:38 am     Comments (4)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Crisps

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate CrispsThese new Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Crisps aren’t exactly a holiday item. They look like an all-year round treat and perhaps more appropriate for an upscale football watching party than a Christmas get together.

The package says: We’ve got a delectable sweet treat. Our Dark Chocolate Crisps are wisps of rich, Belgian chocolate, curved for visual interest, and infused with crunchy bits to add some texture. These Crisps are definitely in! (Honestly, I don’t know what they’re talking about, it’s like the regular Fearless Flyer crew was on vacation and they let some word-mashing robot put this together. Curved for visual interest? Just to make it interesting? That’s one of those politically correct ways of saying “compelling but not attractive”. Infused with crunchy bits? Ever try to infuse something with a crunchy ingredient ... that’s not how infusing works.)

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate CrispsThe tall package holds a strange little tray (tipped up on its side for the upright box) sealed in cellophane. It has three sections that cradle the three servings of the crisps (12 in each slot).

I found the tray odd because it doesn’t sit level very easily. Also, for some reason it reminds me of little amusement park train cars. I want to take a series of them and hook them together and put them on some HO Scale train tracks. Make of that what you will.

Even without wheels, I enjoyed driving the tray around on my desk, it did a great job of protecting the candy in question. All of my chips were in great condition. Not only were they whole, but they were barely scuffed by rubbing against each other in transit. The only issue I had with them was putting them back in the cellophane and then into the box ... which went fine initially, but sometimes when I pulled it out of the box it was upside down or I got it turned around. This known as a chip loss level event in the HO Train Candy Train world.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Crisps

Each little flick is two inches long and an inch and a half across, so a bit smaller than a Pringles potato snack. They smell fantastic, like deep cocoa, smoke and a little like dried mushrooms. The little crunches of rice cereal make the surface a bit bumpy, not quite as much crisp as I was hoping for, but still of interest. The chocolate itself has a nice snap and melt. It’s quite dry and a little bitter as it’s 57% cocoa solids but the malty and crunchy rice bites add a little mouth interest.

They’re quite rich so even though a full stack was the supposed serving, I found five or six was quite enough for me. (Well, then about an hour later I’d want some more.)

Oddly enough, these Dark Chocolate Crisps aren’t such a bad choice as a snack if you’re going to compare them to actual Pringles.

Pringles Serving Size: 1 oz (approx 14 crisps); Calories: 160, Total Fat: 11g, Carbs: 14g, Protein: 1g
Dark Chocolate Crisps Serving Size: 1 ounce (approx 8 crisps); Calories: 148, Total Fat: 8.75; Carbs: 15g, Protein: 2g

The price difference between Pringles and Dark Chocolate Crisps isn’t even that big. They’re a fun item to snack on, I like how they make a portion seem so large. Dieters may find it helpful when they want a treat and want to make it seem huge. Six chips are just 110 calories. I also thought they were pretty cute and would make excellent garnishes for ice cream, cupcakes or even a creme brulee.

Dark Chocolate Crisps are all natural and appear to be vegan (though made on shared equipment with milk products). However, they’re not Kosher. They also come in a Milk Chocolate Crisps variety.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Delights
  2. Trader Joe’s PB & J Bar
  3. Trader Joe’s French Truffles
  4. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites
  5. Daffin’s Candies Factory & World’s Largest Candy Store
  6. Trader Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups
  7. Idaho Spud
Name: Dark Chocolate Crisps
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (3rd & LaBrea)
Price: $2.49
Size: 4.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Belgium, Trader Joe's, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:07 pm     Comments (14)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Delights

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Hazelnut DelightsIt’s that lovely time of year when Trader Joe’s trots out oodles of holiday candies and treats.

I like to cruise the aisles and look at all the great new and returning items. This year my eyes lit on the Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Delights.

The box describes them as a crunchy hazelnut treat surrounded with praline, crispy wafer and milk chocolate. While I assumed that they are like Ferrero Rocher, the image on the box didn’t quite show whether they were flat or round (maybe the wafer is just that, a little disc). The box is also rather deep, and though it holds 7.05 ounces, I wasn’t sure how the items were packaged. Were they individually wrapped and just tossed in there? How many came in a box? Were they in a tray or just stacked up?

When I got the box home and opened it, most of my questions were answered.

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Delights

Inside the trapezoidal box are two trays. Each tray is sealed in cellophane and has eight sections. (16 candies total in the box.) Each little spot holds a Hazelnut Delight. At this point I confirmed that there were a heck of a lot like a Ferrero Rocher. They’re also made in Germany, which is one of the locations that Ferrero has manufacturing facilities.

The ingredients are impressive at first. The first item on the list is hazelnuts. After that it gets a little less enchanting. Ingredient #2 is sugar, which is absolutely expected in candy. #3 is vegetable oil (palm, rapeeseed and sunflower) and only after that do we get to the cocoa butter, wheat flour, chocolate liquor, whole milk powder, nonfat dry milk and cocoa ... then a bunch more stuff including more oils.

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Delights

The pieces are slightly larger than one bite. It’s a lumpy, bumpy ball and most had a little drizzle of white chocolate across them. What’s nice is that they’re not individually wrapped in foil, so it smells amazing, like roasted hazelnuts and hot chocolate.

Biting into one, the construction will seem similar. It’s a milk chocolate shell covering crushed hazelnuts stuck to a hollow wafer sphere. Inside is a chocolate and hazelnut paste ... somewhere in there is a whole hazelnut.

The amazing part though is the hazenuttiness. It’s just packed with them. It’s a sweet treat, but there’s both the whole hazelnut at the center plus the crushed hazelnuts then that hazelnut paste in the middle. There must be the equivalent of three or four hazelnuts in there.

The chocolate coating is sweet and melts easily. The paste in the center is, well, pasty. It’s sticky and has a good cocoa flavor but not much on the hazelnut side, not a problem there, because the whole hazelnut pretty much takes care of that at some point. (In the photo cross-section I obviously hadn’t found it yet.) The wafer is crunchy and has a light caramelized sugar note to it, like good ice cream cones do. The crushed hazelnuts steal the show though, so crunchy and with such a distinctive roasted nut flavor I was quite enamored of these little delights.

The price is a bit steeper than Ferrero Rocher (which I’ve seen on sale at drug stores for less than 1/2 the price from time to time). But there are far more hazelnuts here and of course they were extremely fresh. I might buy them again as a hostess gift for someone I was certain is a hazel-nut. I think I’d prefer a dark chocolate version for myself.

Other items returning for 2009:
Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Joe Joe’s
Trader Joe’s French Truffles
Trader Joe’s Irish Cream Chocolates
Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark White Chocolate Bar
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels (different box this year)
Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels
(I’ve also picked up their Belgian Chocolate Fancies, Dark Chocolate Orange and the Dark Chocolate Crisps to review in the next few weeks. Brandy Beans are also back this year, I didn’t pick them up when I was in Oakland - the first place I’ve seen the this year - but I’ll try to find them again.)

Related Candies

  1. Hachez Edel Vollmilch Nuss (Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts)
  2. Doulton Liqueur Chocolates (Cointreau & Teacher’s)
  3. Short & Sweet: Hazelnut Bites
  4. Ferrero Prestige (Ferrero Garden)
  5. Ferrero Rocher
  6. Ferrero Mon Cheri
Name: Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Delights
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (LaBrea & 3rd)
Price: $3.99
Size: 7.05 ounces
Calories per ounce: 164
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Cookie, Germany, Trader Joe's, Christmas, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:36 am     Comments (12)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trader Joe’s PB & J Bar

Trader Joe's PB & J BarLast year Trader Joe’s introduced what I think was their first original candy bar. The Lumpy Bumpy Bar did not live up to my Trader Joe’s expectations (and they rarely disappoint me).

This year they have the new PB&J Bar which features peanut butter, milk and dark chocolate and raspberry jam.

The box is hot pink with eye-numbing blue & orange text. It in no way reflects my expectations for what’s inside. Again, I think it’s some sort of medicated soap or analgesic.

Trader Joe's PB & J Bar

Like the previous bar, it’s much smaller than the box (well, I can’t name a candy bar that isn’t smaller than the volume of the packaging) - the box is 4.5” long and 1.5” high & wide. The actual candy bar is about 3 inches long and about 1 inch high. But then, you know, it was easy to get back into the box after taking the picture.

But still, what is it?

PB&J are sandwiched between milk and dark chocolate then sprinkled with crushed potato chips. Potato chips? Yes, crisp, delicious potato chips. This means you have it all - sweet and salty; smooth and crunchy. Lucky you!

Trader Joe's PB & J Bar

The bar is quite interesting to look at, though I couldn’t figure out where the dark chocolate is ... maybe there’s a slim layer between the jelly and peanut butter.

The peanut butter is quite dark and has a deep roasted flavor. It’s not terribly sweet and of course is not only salted but has little bits of potato chips in there for additional texture and salt.

The bite of the bar is interesting. The peanut butter has an easy give, but the jelly bottom layer is quite firm. However, it is very jelly like in that it doesn’t stick to the teeth like gumdrops do. The flavor doesn’t come out right away, there is a berry note, but it isn’t until I chew it up that I got the nice, deep jammy raspberry flavors (seedless).

Trader Joe's PB & J BarWhat I learned about the potato chips is that they provide crunch, but they’re gluten free!

The two ounces felt like quite a lot of food, and I actually ate the bar in two sittings - 1/3 when I took the photo and the other 2/3 while doing the review. The calorie total is 300, a smidge more than I like in a single portion.

Since there are no other readily available bars like this, I give it high marks for filling a niche. I’m definitely more likely to pick it up over the Lumpy Bumpy ... but there are so many other items at Trader Joe’s that I prefer, I’m not sure it’ll ever happen.

Related Candies

  1. Limited Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms
  2. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps
  3. Trader Joe’s Sweet Story
  4. Trader Joe’s Espresso Pillows
  5. BonBonBars: Malt Ganache & Scotch
  6. Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark White Chocolate Bar
  7. Theo Confections
Name: PB&J Bar
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silverlake)
Price: $1.99
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie (potato chips), Peanuts, Jelly, United States, Trader Joe's, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:41 am     Comments (17)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Trader Joe’s Gummy Tummies

Trader Joe's Gummy TummiesThe idea of a liquid burst inside a gummi candy is nothing new, but seems to have made a bit of a comeback lately. (Starburst GummiBursts & LifeSavers Fruit Splosions.)

Trader Joe’s has a twist on this in their new Trader Joe’s Gummy Tummies Penguins. The flavor array in the package is pretty small: Strawberry, Lime and Cherry. They’re made with natural flavors, have no preservatives and no artificial colors. (They also state that it’s pork gelatin in them ... so they’re safe to eat for non-vegetarian Hindus.)

They’re much larger candy pieces than other versions and are made in such a way that you can actually see the goo inside their tummies.

       Trader Joe's Gummy Tummies

Oh, I’m sorry, did that scare you?

Scared me.

These things are freaky looking, and what’s worse, they smell. For a couple of days I thought there was an old apple core hiding somewhere in my office (I even crawled under my desk looking for it), turns out that’s what the combination of cherry, strawberry & lime Gummy Tummies smells like.

Trader Joe's Gummy Tummies

The shapes are nicely defined, though I wouldn’t call them nicely designed. I didn’t really get the whole “penguin” thing. I asked around and everyone pretty much agrees they look like Grimace from McDonald’s or one of the lesser ghost characters from Casper.

They’re very soft and have a bulbous belly that’s even softer to the touch. They remind me of blisters ... the cherry one (on its side up there) is even worse, because the gummis rather uncolored (like my skin) but has a dark red filling (like a blood blister). I’ll spare you the graphic photo of that and let you just imagine it instead.

Lime is easy to tell from the others, as it’s transparent yellow. The flavor is rather mellow, just a light touch of lemon/lime zest and then a mix of tangy & sweet. The filling is smooth and sticky and just a repeat of the above flavors in a form that needs no chewing.

Strawberry is the pink bellied one. (Though I had to hold them up to the light to tell them apart from the cherry.) The flavor is floral and tangy. The goo doesn’t do much for it and that’s probably a positive.

Cherry has the darkest belly and smells like wild cherry LifeSavers. The liquid center is a lot more flavorful, like a dense syrup of cough suppressant or Cepacol.

This whole tasting has made me realize that I don’t like goo filled gummis.

For those of you who have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you may enjoy this little video.

Related Candies

  1. Haribo Saure Dinosaurier
  2. Big Bite Gummy Bear
  3. Lemonhead Fruit Snacks
  4. Organic Zootons
  5. Albanese Gummi Butterflies
  6. Upscale Hollow Chocolate: Michel Cluizel & Hotel Chocolat
  7. Organic Surf Sweets
Name: Gummy Tummies
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silverlake)
Price: $2.49
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Gummi, France, Trader Joe's, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:03 am     Comments (35)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Mint Round Up

I’m buried in mints! So here’s a huge roundup of all the mint items in my queue that I wanted to get through before Christmas.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate MintsLike the Trader Joe’s Espresso Pillows I picked up a few months ago, Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints come in a cute round tin and hold 2.45 ounces. Unlike the Espresso Pillows, these are not a very original product.

Inside the tin is a fluted liner that holds a large handful of soft, white candy-shelled mints. Each is about the size of a kidney bean. The tin says that there are no artificial flavors or preservatives. I think they shy from the “all natural” part because the white shell is created with titanium dioxide.

They reminded me of the classic Dutch Mints and luckily I had some of those around for comparison.

image

Jelly Belly makes a large variety of Dutch Mints. They come in different colors, these are all hot pink and individually wrapped, though you can also get them in the stark white, pastel mint colors or right now in the Christmas assortment of red, green and white. (And they’re Kosher.)

The Dutch Mint is the size of a garbanzo bean but my guess is the same mass as the TJ’s.

They’re both the same construction, a soft mint fondant with a thin layer or dark chocolate then a crispy candy shell.

Both are lovely and addictive. The Trader Joe’s retails for $1.22 an ounce. The Jelly Belly can go for anywhere from $.70 an ounce for the small 2.9 ounce bag to $.56 for a one pound tub (check out Cost Plus World Market).

Jelly Belly Dutch Mints get a rating of: 8 out of 10
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints get a rating of: 7 out of 10 because they’re so expensive.

These also closely resemble the York Mints that also come in a tin.

Divine After Dinner MintsThe previous are great for toting around and especially nice if a restaurant gives you a few with the check. But if you’re entertaining, you might want to provide some other more chocolatey mint morsels.

I’ve always loved After Eight Mints, which are a flowing mint fondant in an ultra thin square. I used to love how they came in individual glassine envelopes, like a little file box of deliciousness.

Of course After Eights are made by Nestle now and not nearly as good as I remember them on top of the controversies that they’re made from questionably sourced chocolate. The Fair Trade movement has been working to bring families and communities out of poverty through fair payment for goods & services.

Divine Chocolate has been doing this since 1998 in the United Kingdom and recently expanded into the United States. Not only do they have tasty bars they also have addition treats like these Divine After Dinner Mints.

image

The mints are nicely sized for two bites at about 1.5” square. The mild semi-sweet chocolate is crisp and cracks well. The mint fondant center is creamy and minted only slightly so as not to overpower the chocolate. The dark chocolate has some berry and fruity tones that combine well with the cool peppermint flavors.

I’ve seen these at Whole Foods (at an endcap display for hostess giving), so they should be pretty widely available this season.

Divine After Dinner Mints get a rating of 7 out of 10.

Creme de Menthe Altoids

Creme de Menthe Altoids have been out for a few months, though it took me a while to find the variety that isn’t covered in chocolate. I realized that I might have seen them before, the green of the package is only slightly lighter than the Spearmint boxes. These were on sale for $1.50 to boot!

Basically the flavor of these is like a Peppermint TicTac. It has a powdery vanilla scent, softer than a harsh peppermint and perhaps just a hint of licorice.

But these are Altoids. Though they might start out mild, they do pack a much stronger kick later on. I like the flavor a bit better than the straight Peppermint if only because of the mix of aromas.

Creme de Menthe Altoids get a rating of 8 out of 10.

King Leo Soft Peppermint BallsQuite a few folks have been lamenting that Trader Joe’s discontinued their English Soft Peppermints. I’m pretty keen on the generic & mild butter mints I find at the drug store, but those were some pretty good mints.

Around this time of year, however, I see a lot of these See’s Peppermint Twists in candy dishes around the office. It took me a while, but I think I found out who makes them. There were two contenders: King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy or Bob’s Sweet Stripes.

I saw this box of King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy at the 99 Cent Only Store and thought I’d give them a whirl. They were a dollar for 3.5 ounces.

image

I thought they were “butter mints” and read through this to see how I came to that conclusion:

For over one hundred years, King Leo has made delicious peppermint stick candy using only the purest ingredients and old-fashioned care. Now we’ve taken that same quality and care and created new King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy. The same great King Leo taste folks have come to expect, now in a truly soft new candy [emphasis mine] Thanks to a special process we’ve perfected, these bite-sized treats are soft from the moment you open the box. [emphasis mine] No wonder everyone loves King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy so much.

So I was expecting a soft mint. Either crumbly soft or mushy soft.

These were neither. They’re soft as in rounded and smooth, but after that they were not butter mints until I sucked on them for a while. Which is kind of the opposite of “soft from the moment you open the box”. Annoyance aside, they’re peppermint candies. They are airy and dissolve nicely and of course none of those hard candy sharp edges. They’re sweet and a bit less intense than a starlight mint and really pretty to look at. Like those English Soft Peppermints that were really made in the Netherlands, King Leo are made in Mexico. Kosher.

King Leo Soft Peppermint Candy gets a 6 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered GingersnapsI was tickled when I spied this tin of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps last week.

When I was in Pennsylvania visiting my brother he took me to the Lancaster County Farmers Market as one of the stops on a candy adventure. There I found Nancy’s Candy Corner (not really a corner as it was in a center aisle). This vendor has everything covered in chocolate. Their specialty seemed to be pretzels. Pretzels dipped in chocolate. Pretzels dipped in chocolate and then rolled in things (toffee chips, chocolate chips, Oreo bits, sprinkles). Lots and lots of pretzel options. There were more traditional options like peanut butter straws. I bought a variety including some Milk and Dark chocolate covered German Spice Cookies.

image

They were fabulous. The cookies were dense and crunchy, the chocolate was sweet and creamy and then they were gone.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered GingersnapsThis is why I was so pleased to see these at Trader Joe’s, something I could buy locally, even if only temporarily. At 5.99 for the 10 ounce tin, it was one of the pricier confectionery items I’ve bought at Trader Joe’s lately.

The decription on the bottom of the tin makes my mouth water.

Molasses, ginger, cloves and vanilla ... these aromatic ingredients are the hallmark of gingersnap cookies. We’ve taken it one step further by gliding tiny gingersnap cookies with dark chocolate. For a sophisticated treat that mixes the creamy richness of chocolate with crunchy, spicy cookies.

Inside was a cellophane bag of shiny chocolate nuggets:

image

They smell of cloves, cinnamon and chocolate.

The pieces are irregular, ranging in size from a garbanzo bean to a hazelnut in the shell. The chocolate coating is glossy.

The chocolate is creamy and sweet, really has a silky mouthfeel. The spices of the cookie are overpowering, so the chocolate flavors aren’t as forward, but the texture makes a huge contribution here.

The cookies are fabulous. The woodsy molasses sets the stage for the immediate clove flavor and then the warming spices really kick in. I found they warmed my throat after two or three with both a gingery kick as well as a black pepper burn.

Trader Joe’s doesn’t have clearance sales after the holidays, so there’s no way to get these cheap or regularly. I can only hope they’ll sell them in the little tubs all year round and I don’t have to create a collection of these tins.

Related Candies

  1. Starbucks Chocolate: Eggnog Latte Truffles
  2. Molasses Pops
  3. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites
  4. Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
  5. Darrell Lea Licorice & Ginger
  6. Ethel Holiday Assortment
Name: Dark Chocolate Covered Gingersnaps
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silverlake)
Price: $5.99
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Chocolate, Ginger, Cookie, United States, Trader Joe's, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:43 am     Comments (10)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trader Joe’s Mint Joe Joe’s versus Mint Oreos

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe'sI’m not completely convinced that just because something is covered with chocolate that it’s candy, but I couldn’t resist a little roundup of these two chocolate covered cookies.

I first had Trader Joe’s Peppermint Joe Joe’s last year and thought they were tasty - a chocolate cookie sandwich with a mint cream filling, but like Hydrox. I had a bit of trouble with the fact that the cookie part wasn’t quite as good as the Oreo.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe'sTrader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s sucked me in this year. I mean, look, they’re covered in real dark chocolate!

The regular Joe Joe’s come in a one pound package, which is pretty dangerous in my house. Though I’m not a cake or baked goods fan in general, I do have a cookie problem. (If Candy Blog were to ever expand, it’d be into cookie reviews.)

The cute tray was sealed in cellophane and protected every single cookie from any damage in transit.

There are ten in all. Each is dusted with a bit of crushed mint candies.

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They smell very minty, to the exclusion of all other flavors, such as chocolate.

They’re also pretty hefty, clocking in at about one ounce each. (And 150 calories.)

The cookie is crumbly and has a dark toasted cocoa flavor. The chocolate is creamy and perhaps a little sweet. The cream filling is where this doesn’t go as well, it’s grainy, which is fine, but it’s also a bit greasy. If I eat it all as a sandwich together, it’s great. Eating just the filling is a disappointment.

The ingredients list was pretty clear. Real chocolate, no artificial flavors or colors ... the only item that gives some folks pause is palm oil. (But some of the sugar is actually organic evaporated cane juice.)

Overall, it’s super tasty and should be enjoyed like a candy and not a cookie. (If you’re wondering what the difference is, I’d say that a serving of cookies like Oreos is three, but for these, the serving size is one.)

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Milk Chocolate Covered Mint OreoI had Nabisco’s Pure Milk Chocolate Covered Mint Oreo Sandwich Cookies earlier this year. I found them in a little package at a drug store in Santa Monica while picking up some items for a beach picnic. I ate them in the car on the way there. It wasn’t until I was shopping at Target last week that I found them in a larger package.

This is a dangerous thing. I like them a bit too much.

Milk Chocolate Covered Mint OreoThe Oreos come in a tray with individual slots. There are 12 cookies in the box instead of 10 in the Joe Joe’s (but this box weighs only 7.5 ounces instead of 9.4). I don’t know the regular price on these, they were $2.50 on sale so were less per ounce than the Joe Joe’s.

As I expected the ingredients list wasn’t quite as wholesome, but I’ve got to give credit to Nabisco for not coloring the cream centers pink or green. The chocolate is real, but there’s palm oil in there and way down on the list is a bit of high fructose corn sweetener. All the other ingredients are pretty much the usual stuff.

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The tray protected the individual cookies well, each one was glossy and had wonderful little ripples of milk chocolate on top.

These also smelled strongly of peppermint, and a little bit of milk.

The cookie crumble of the Oreo is spectacular. It’s a little sandy and releases immediate salty and smoky cocoa notes. The soft crunch is punctuated by the smooth milk chocolate, which isn’t as sweet as I would have expected (especially after having the Joe Joe’s). The cream center is grainy, lightly minted but without any greasiness to the fatty cream.

Each cookie is 90 calories and weighs about .65 ounces.

They’re stellar.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Related Candies

  1. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  2. Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark White Chocolate Bar
  3. Asher’s Milk Chocolate Covered Things
  4. KitKat Mint Dark Chocolate Minis
  5. Hershey’s Cookies and Brownies
  6. Best Regards: Craves
  7. Head to Head: Cookie Joys vs Cookies n Mint
Name: Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe's & Milk Chocolate Covered Mint Oreos
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe's & Nabisco
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silverlake) & Target (Harbor City)
Price: $3.99 & $2.50 (sale)
Size: 9.4 ounces & 7.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 160 & 144
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Mint, United States, Trader Joe's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:50 am     Comments (20)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

-56 days

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Lindt Chocolate Cookie

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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