I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things (those flyers they send out are the best marketing ever) and ended up with more than just a few things. But, I did try some new items, and I like them, so here they are. I was also going to break it up into multiple posts, but I’m kind of lazy, so they’re all going in this one.
A while ago, my mom told me about something she bought for my sister from Trader Joe’s that was surprisingly good for being non-meat (my sister is a vegetarian of sorts). I must have been distracted, because all I remember is something about edamame. I saw these Vegetable Shumai with Edamame (possibly not the official name on the package) and thought these might be what they were talking about. Also, it is dangerous to shop at Trader Joe’s before you’ve had dinner. I rarely microwave foods, but these turn out pretty good microwaved and, as a bonus, they’re ready to eat in a jiffy! They come with a ponzu sauce, but I saved the packet for when I eat the rest of the shumai and just ate these with Som Good Sauce. They have a texture similar to shrimp shumai, but these are all vegetarian. They aren’t bland, either – I like them! Ironically, these are better than the shrimp shumai I’ve bought from Trader Joe’s. Don’t eat the whole package in one sitting, though. They have an oddly high fat content.
Sea salt, chocolate, and caramels are the new trendy thing. Or maybe they’re an old trendy thing and I’m just now getting with it. When T and I were in Seattle, we tried Fran’s smoked sea salt caramels and weren’t terribly impressed. Perhaps the caramels were too chewy for the combo to work. I made a note of these after reading the review on Baking Bites (whose pictures are also way better than mine).
Sorry, Fran, but these are way better than yours. The caramel is soft, but not oozy. The chocoalte is crisp, but not waxy. Everything is balanced so it’s not too sweet and then you get a crunch of salt and that wraps it all up. Like eating a chocolate caramel covered pretzel, but without the actual pretzel. These are delicious and I may go buy another box before the season is over.
HeatEatReview reviewed the Trader Joe’s cookie dough, as did Consumer Reports. The consensus was that it was the closest-to-homemade cookie dough available, beating out Whole Foods. I routinely make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, portion it, and the freeze the dough. Then I can just take out a few pieces and bake them, getting fresh-baked cookies on a moment’s whim. I love fresh cookies, warm from the oven, with gooey chocolate chips and a cold glass of milk. But, sometimes I just don’t want to make a batch of cookie dough and wash mixing bowls. Hence, I was curious if these cookies really did capture the homemade touch. The ingredients (listed on HeatEatReview) are the same as in my cookie recipe – no preservatives to be found. So I baked 4 cookies to test them out.
See? They came out a little thinner than my recipe makes them, which means they tend to bend in half when you’re eating them warm. They are also a tiny bit less buttery than my cookies (I used the recipe from Alton Brown’s baking cookbook, which I think is like this one). But, they have no funny aftertaste and they are wonderful and easy. Now, the $3.50 price tag is a little much for 16 balls of cookie dough, but it is extremely convenient. If I didn’t have cookie dough in the freezer and I was at Trader Joe’s, I’d probably pick these up again.