Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel BitesSeveral readers have emailed me telling me that I must try Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites. I usually avoid the tubs of TJ’s chocolate goodies in the summer, but things have cooled off and I was hot on their trail.

The tub describes them as Crispy, crunchy, salty pretzels covered with rich dark chocolate and natural sprinkles. Okay, I’m curious what natural sprinkles are. A peek at the ingredients shows that they’re, well, sugar, corn starch and confectioners glaze. I’m guessing that unless sprinkles have some sort of artificial colors, they’re all natural.

The 7 ounce tub sounds generous, but let me just say right now, it’s not enough.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites

Many of my bites were fused together (enough in different linked chains that I wondered if I could create a Tetris layout). Instead of being panned (tumbled in a drum and coated with chocolate and then a sealing glaze) these are simply dipped so they have a flat spot on the bottom. This is helpful, as it keeps them from rolling around when I pull out a handful and put them on my desk. Each little bite is about the size of a plump garbanzo bean or hazelnut.

The chocolate looks especially dark and the ingredients shows that this is pretty good stuff; it even has real vanilla in it but does have some milk fat (sorry vegans, the confectioners glaze already spoiled this as a treat for you).

The tub smells smoky and sweet with a little hint of malt from the baked pretzels.

The chocolate melts easily and is smooth and creamy but has a dry and slightly bitter finish. The pretzels are crunchy and have a liberal dose of crunchy salt on them that’s echoed by the sweet crunch of the nonpariels.

At first I thought the sprinkles were silly, that they got in the way of the simplicity of the crunch and creamy components. But then I picked out some that had fewer crunchies on them and didn’t find them as satisfying ... maybe it’s just the little extra bit of sugar that puts it all together. Something about hitting a little crunch in your mouth and having this anticipation - will it be sweet or salty?

I love chocolate covered pretzels and this format is great. The issue I have with larger pretzels covered with chocolate is biting into it can make a mess, the pretzels make crumbs and the chocolate can crack and flake off. These go straight in the mouth whole, either one at a time or two or three even to make a mouthful. As a chocolate treat for someone who’s minding calories, the fact that there’s a large pretzel component there keeps the calories per ounce much lower than most chocolate candies.

My only major misgiving here is that it’s easy to eat the whole tub at once, so mind your portion control - maybe put a small handful in a little baggie or else you’ll find yourself mystified that there’s an empty tub sitting on your lap at the movies. (But is that really Trader Joe’s fault?)

Other thoughts: GiGi Reviews, Baking Bites and It’s Sweet & Savory.

UPDATE 2/9/2009: Trader Joe’s has stopped carrying these but I tracked down the manufacturer. They’re at Chocolate Potpourri and called Chocolate Pretzel Balls and are available in milk, dark and white.

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Name: Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Emeryville, CA)
Price: $2.99
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 127
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, United States, Trader Joe's, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:03 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Oooh, these do sound good. Have you had TJ’s dark chocolate almonds with turbinado and sea salt? They’re fabulous, and because of the protein, completely satisfying.

    I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that Trader Joe’s is within walking distance of my house.

    Comment by Liz/pdx on 9/18/08 at 9:28 am #
  2. These ROCK!  I agree, there’s not enough in the tub, but just imagine the damage that could occur if these came in a bigger bag/package.  They should make these in individual sized bags - that would be great.

    Comment by Michael on 9/18/08 at 9:30 am #
  3. I need to try these again.  I wasn’t impressed the first time I ate them.  The pretzel was so hard I was scared I’d crack a tooth.  Maybe I got a stale tub?  I’ll give them another go.

    Comment by Sheri (Cookingmom) on 9/18/08 at 3:46 pm #
  4. Great Review, I told you they were awesome!  Anyone who has a trader joes near them must pick these up and try em.

    Comment by Michael Perlman on 9/18/08 at 4:49 pm #
  5. well crap.  now i’ll have to pick some up.  haha.

    Comment by emma on 9/18/08 at 5:00 pm #
  6. these look nice,  the kind of candy I love smile

    Comment by Marco Pesenti on 9/19/08 at 2:53 am #
  7. I love TJ’s. I haven’t seen these there yet though. I WILL be looking for them! Yum.

    Comment by Dicentra on 9/19/08 at 5:20 am #
  8. hahaha emma…. that is exactly the same thing i thought!

    Comment by jess on 9/21/08 at 12:15 am #
  9. We have these here now and they’re just as you described—we love them. Our first tub is very close to being an empty tub!

    Comment by Maura on 9/21/08 at 12:33 pm #
  10. I bought these just because you recommended them. and OMG they are AMAZING. thank you so so much!

    Comment by emi on 9/21/08 at 2:28 pm #
  11. Yurei's avatar

    How much do these go for? When I get paid next week i’ll have to go pick some up. And look for some other goodies while i’m at trader joe’s.

    Comment by Yurei on 9/21/08 at 3:59 pm #
  12. Tricia's avatar

    Man, I was just at Trader Joe’s today - too bad I hadn’t read this review yet! Next trip…

    Comment by Tricia on 9/26/08 at 5:41 pm #
  13. I was finally at TJ’s this week after reading this review. And you are not welcome for introducing these little pieces of bliss into my life. I’m absolutely addicted to them now, and if it wasn’t for you, I would have just ignored them.

    Comment by Lauren on 10/12/08 at 4:27 pm #
  14. Well, I picked some of these up to try given the high reccomendation, and because Cyble has yet to steer me wrong on something with her reviews. I have to say i’m rather dissapointed in these.

    The dark chocolate and pretzel are both of very good quality, but I find when I chew them up immdiately I don’t like the resulting mix of flavors, they clash too much for me. I enjoy them better by slowly melting off the dark chocolate and then munching the pretzel by itself. Mine are a tad bit hard I think, and so thus probably a tad bit stale.

    I think I would have liked these better if they were semi sweet or milk chocolate. After 2 weeks I still have over half of the tub left. And at $4 or something a tub, not impressive enough to buy again on my limited budget.

    Comment by Yurei on 10/14/08 at 6:36 am #
  15. These are sooooo good! I just discovered them today! I WILL be picking more up! YUM!

    Comment by Backbaygirl on 12/05/08 at 4:00 pm #
  16. FYI: Trader Joe’s has a similar holiday themed item this year: Snowflake-shaped pretzels dipped in a yogurt covering. They are much sweeter than the pretzel bites but equally addictive.

    Comment by Lauren on 12/10/08 at 4:37 pm #
  17. Aha!  After reading Lauren’s comment, I think I know why I can’t find the choco covered pretzel bites now.  My Trader Joe’s haven’t had them for a month or so. I saw those snowflakes, but didn’t realize they were pretzels.  But yogurt covering is not the same as chocolate covering.

    Comment by candyann on 12/18/08 at 8:19 am #
  18. I looked at 2 different TJ’s today & was told at the second one that they’ve discontinued carrying them due to poor interest.  Oh, how bummed I was to hear that!!  At least I got to try them once…

    Comment by Pam on 12/18/08 at 2:47 pm #
  19. Where can one find the Trader Joe’s dark choc pretzel bites??????  Can one call somewhere to get them shipped???

    Comment by sandra hukill on 2/09/09 at 5:47 am #
  20. I had been so totally hooked on these darn little things that I finally had to back off a bit.  Now, I’m going on a vacation out of the country and decided that I wanted to take some with me to share (ha,ha.)  Well, I have bad news ~ they’ve discontinued them due to “low sales!”  I couldn’t believe it.  Now, I’m on a quest to try and find out who puts up all the candy for T.J.‘s to see if I can buy directly from them.  If anyone has any leads, I would really appreciate the info.  I tried asking the store manager & he acted as though he didn’t have a clue ~ maybe he didn’t. Wonder if I could apply for that job? 
    Thanks much,

    Comment by Sally on 3/26/09 at 12:57 pm #
  21. Cybele's avatar

    Sally - I think you missed the update at the bottom of the post - I found the manufacturer, called and you can buy them online.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/26/09 at 1:01 pm #
  22. I’m so irritated that TJ’s doesn’t carry these anymore, I really wanted to try them.
    The site you linked is charging 9 dollars for 10 oz (triple the price of TJ’s for only 50% more) plus $7 for shipping. :(

    Comment by Maya on 2/08/10 at 6:51 pm #
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