It’s fall, and here in the U.S., that means pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING. Seriously, Trader Joe’s October Fearless Flyer is about 90% pumpkin stuff. One of their seasonal pumpkin products includes these Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels.
The box described the caramels as “dark chocolate with a smooth pumpkin spiced caramel filling sprinkled with real Hawaiian sea salt.” Each shiny dark chocolate square was covered with a little squiggle of milk chocolate, then topped with a generous sprinkle of rust-colored sea salt.
That dark chocolate shell shattered as soon as I bit into the caramel, revealing a limpid viscous caramel center. The chocolate had a thick melt and lots of caramel notes.
The smooth caramel looked liquid but didn’t quite flow. It had a slight grain to the texture and a strong pumpkin spice flavor that was nutmeg dominant. Though the caramel was sweet, it was nicely countered by the saltiness of the crystals it was topped with.
These were tasty, but I don’t think they needed the extra pumpkin spice hit. If you’re a pumpkin spice fiend, however, you’ll love these. An OM.
When I saw The Impulsive Buy‘s “Spotted On Shelves” feature on these Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups, I had to zip out to Trader Joe’s and get some to try for myself. I had previously loved the chocolate bar version of these, so I was excited to try them in cup form.
The cookie butter cups came in a plastic tub of about 27 cups (I only have an approximate count because I’m not sure how many cups my boyfriend snuck after I opened the tub). Each was individually wrapped in gold foil, which was good. I needed something to slow me down so I wouldn’t plow through them all at once.
The dark chocolate shell was stiff and of an uneven thickness around the edges. It melted smoothly and fattily in my mouth, with a barely sweet dark chocolate duskiness to the flavor.
The speculoos cookie butter paste in the center was dry and lightly cinnamony. It took, had just a hint of sweetness with a strong oat-y cookie flavor. It tasted more like the imported speculoos cookies I bought once, rather than like Biscoff’s or Trader Joe’s sweeter, more crumbly version.
I loved these. They weren’t too sweet and had lots of flavor complexity, with the cinnamon oatiness playing off the dark chocolate. I’d take them over a traditional peanut butter cup any day. An OMG.
I bought this box of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Caramallows last week. I was super excited to think that I’d caught a new product that resembled my beloved See’s Scotchmallows, but it turns out that they were around last year as well.
The long, skinny box described them as “pillowy marshmallow bites with a layer of rich, silky caramel, enrobed in dark chocolate.” There were 10 Caramallows in the box all lined up in a row.
While most were rectangular with a vertical line across them, some were more irregularly shaped. Each had a bottom layer of caramel topped with a square of marshmallow and all covered in a dark chocolate shell.
The Caramallows were far softer than Scotchmallows and squishily yielded to my bite. The dark chocolate shell was quite nice, a high quality chocolate that was lightly sweet with a fruity finish.
The bottom layer of caramel was softy chewy and sticky. It tasted sweetly buttery rather than scorchy or burnt, and it had a mild butterscotchy flavor.
The marshmallow was squishy and foamy in texture. It had a sweetly mild flavor with a light vanilla airiness.
These were tasty enough, but they aren’t a suitable Scotchmallow replacement. The fact that they were so soft throughout made them seem insubstantial compared to Scotchmallows, and Scotchmallows have much more complexity of flavor. An OM.
To be honest, these Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites didn’t sound that tasty to me, but my local Trader Joe’s was promoting them all over the store, so I picked up a bag.
Why not? I like chocolate-covered coconut, and I like mangos. Mangos and chocolate and coconut all together could be good?
The resealable stand-up bag described them as “soft, chewy coconut candy bites with a tangy mango addition, covered in rich, dark chocolate.” The bag smelled incredibly fruity and sweet, almost cloyingly so.
The candy bites were 1.5 inches by 1 inch rectangles that were just over half an inch high. The center was a yellow-hued smoosh of moist, shredded coconut.
The dark chocolate shell was mild with a hint of sweetness and a dryly fruity, bittersweet finish. While it tasted great by itself, it was totally overwhelmed by the coconut mango center. Also, it melted into my fingers as I held it, which was a little annoyingly messy.
The center had the squeaky texture of shredded coconut and the piquant tartness of dried mango. The mango flavor was bright and sweet and dominated the treat; I didn’t get any coconut flavor notes, just texture.
While I liked the chocolate in isolation, and I liked the flavor of the mango, the whole thing just didn’t come together for me. I think it was the texture of coconut without any coconut flavor that threw me off. I have no desire to finish the rest of the bag, so an O.
Cookies? Why am I reviewing cookies on my candy blog? Because these Laceys Cookies are more or less made out of almond brittle and chocolate, so they’re basically candy. Plus they’re freakin’ delicious.
The Laceys were two rounds of thin almond brittle cookies, about 2.5 inches in diameter, sandwiching a generous layer of bittersweet chocolate. Flour was near the end of the ingredients list, and I really couldn’t tell that there was any flour in these at all in terms of texture or flavor.
The cookie portions were sweet and crisp with a solid crunch. I’d guess that they were about 50% chopped almonds and 50% butter toffee/brittle.
The generous proportion of almonds brought a wonderfully roasted nuttiness, and the cookies finished with a toasted butteriness from the toffee. That toffee cleaved and crumbled without any hint of doughy cookieness.
The bittersweet chocolate center had a great duskiness to it and a light sweetness that didn’t overwhelm the cookies. Instead, it complimented the nutty butteriness of the toffee cookies.
A delicious, quickly disappearing treat – OMG.
These chocolate covered sea salt butterscotch caramels are the last of my weekend Trader Joe’s candy finds. They came in a stand-up bag with a resealable zipper top.
The description on the back was loquacious: “intense and creamy, deeply flavored butterscotch caramels are tinged with sea salt and enrobed in dark, slightly bitter chocolate to offset the sweetness. That about says it all.”
The caramels were of the shiny, panned spherical variety, similar to Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels. The dark chocolate component was divine – fruitily sweet with a dusky bittersweet finish.
The caramel centers definitely tasted of butterscotch, with butterscotch’s distinctive sour tinge to the caramel sweetness. The caramel’s sweetness finished with a salty hit.
I thought the caramel centers were too sweet on their own, but when chewed together with the dusky chocolate shells, they became perfectly balanced to create an addictively chewy sweet and slightly sour and salty treat. An OM.
I had been eyeing these trapezoid-shaped boxed of chocolate-covered marshmallows at Whole Foods, but I’d never pulled the trigger. When I spotted a similarly shaped box of dark chocolate covered marshmallows at Trader Joe’s but for a dollar less than Whole Foods’s version, it was enough for me to add the box to my cart.
The box promised “light and fluffy marshmallows drenched in smooth, dark chocolate.” The marshmallows were boulder-shaped domes (not the flat squares depicted on the Whole Foods box).
They smelled sweet and a bit earthy from the chocolate. There was just a thin layer of that dark chocolate, and it cracked when I bit into it.
It tasted sweet for a dark chocolate, with a flavor that I found reminiscent of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. There was also a light graininess to its melt.
The marshmallow centers were foamy with an intense squishiness and a decent chewiness. Their sweetness was bright and had a hint of golden syrup‘s amber sweetness to it.
The dark chocolate covered marshmallows were a tad too sweet for my taste. Other than that, they were decent but on the boring side, and I have no desire to buy more or even finish the rest of my box. An O.
I made a Trader Joe’s run over the weekend, so this week will be all about some new candies I spotted there. We’ll start with the PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar, which Trader Joe’s has smartly positioned as a $1 impulse buy at the cash register.
After Hammond’s PB&J Sandwich bar took a top prize at last year’s Sweets and Snacks, it seemed logical that the trend would eventually trickle down to Trader Joe’s. I’m fairly sure the Trader Joe’s was not an unbranded version of Hammond’s take, as the two bars looked and tasted quite different.
The 1.75oz bar was subdivided into 6 segments that readily broke to reveal a thin sliver of peanut butter that ran through the segment divisions. The jelly component was a red/purple translucent gel that sat on top of the peanut butter layer in the segments themselves.
That goo tasted brightly fruity with a slightly seedy finish. I noticed that seediness because the wrapper promised raspberry jelly, but I’m not sure if I would have noticed that it wasn’t a standard grape jelly.
The peanut butter was perfectly smooth on the tongue and tasted nicely roasty and nutty with a salty hit to the finish. I would guess that it was the same peanut butter from the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles, though who can be sure since Trader Joe’s sources their wares from all over the place.
The chocolate was fine but unexceptional. I didn’t really notice its contribution much, as the peanut butter was the dominant flavor here.
This bar was okay, but I wasn’t super wowed by any aspect of it, and I wouldn’t bother to buy it again. If you’re a peanut butter and chocolate fan, your mileage may vary, and Cybele gave it an 8/10. I give it an O.
Every time I go to Trader Joe’s, I end up spending more money than I mean to. They’re just so good at suckering me into making impulse buys, like this bag of their Dark Chocolate Honey Mints.
The bag was cutely decorated with drawings of bees and beehives. It also boasted that the Honey Mints had just three ingredients: honey, chocolate liquor, and oil of peppermint (and the potential for traces of milk as an allergen warning).
My 7 oz bag had 20 Honey Mints disks inside, each individually wrapped in shiny turquoise foil. They all smelled strongly minty with a sweet undertone.
Each disk was about an inch and a half in diameter. They had a lightly golden peppermint fondant center covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate.
The smooth fondant was effervescent and minty throughout. It started off with a bright burst of initial sweetness and finished with a slightly bitter astringency from the chocolate.
I think this treat could have benefitted from a little tweaking to that chocolate. It was slightly gritty, and the astringency was off-putting when I ate the Honey Mints slowly enough to notice it. A little cocoa butter in addition to the cocoa liquor would have helped with the texture.
Still, Trader Joe’s should be commended for a minimalist, fairly tasty treat that provides a less processed alternative to York Peppermint Patties (in which corn syrup is a big player). An OM.
I’m so terrible about impulse buys at Trader Joe’s. Everything looks awesome! Like these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles.
What a mouthful of a title! Which came with a mouthful of a blurb on the box: “our three most popular flavors combined to create a sensational, sweet, salty bite. Rich, melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate truffles with a creamy peanut butter center, layered with buttery caramel and a subtle salty finish.”
Each truffle came individually wrapped in shiny copper mylar. They were gorgeously shiny domes, the shape of giant gumdrops.
The chocolate at the bottom of the dome was much thicker than the chocolate of the upper shell. That chocolate had a nice snap and a smooth melt with an incredibly deep cocoa flavor.
The caramel was liquid and runny and left a light grain after most of it had melted away. It tasted of sweet butterscotch, with an especially buttery finish.
The peanut butter was smoothly creamy with a dry nuttiness. The nuttiness was noticeable even against the chocolate and caramel, but I wish it had been nuttier.
The truffle was a delicious mix of sweet and salty and nutty. I think the peanut butter flavor could’ve been turned up more, but it was still a darn good mass-produced truffle. An OM.