I tried 30 of Trader Joe's fall foods, and would buy at least 23 of them again
- I tried seasonal fall foods from Trader Joe's, including desserts, breakfasts, dinners, and snacks.
- The chain's pumpkin Joe-Joe's, pumpkin-spice batons, and pumpkin-bread mix were amazing.
- I probably wouldn't buy the caramel-apple-flavored granola or turkey-and-pumpkin mole burrito again.
As someone who can't get enough of these
Keep reading to find out which Trader Joe's fall products I would buy again, and which ones I'll skip next year.
The pumpkin tortilla chips were pretty bland, but they worked fine as a vessel for dip
These mostly tasted like an ordinary multigrain tortilla chip with a very subtle hint of nutmeg. I wasn't sure what to pair them with since they were seasoned with flavors I usually associate with dessert.
In the end, I found they were a perfect match for the fall-themed dips I purchased, like the pepita salsa. They were also quite sturdy and didn't break apart as I dipped them.
But on their own, these chips were bland and they depend on another
Verdict: Although the chips weren't amazing on their own, I would still buy them because they complement many of the fall-themed dips and dishes quite well.
The chain's apple-cider doughnuts are apparently best consumed immediately
Apple-cider doughnuts always remind me of fall, so I was excited to see Trader Joe's bakery selling them.
A healthy dusting of cinnamon-sugar coated every side of these doughy rings. Since these are old-fashioned doughnuts, they're denser and more cake-like than traditional ones.
Normally, I'm a huge fan of this type of pastry - sadly, these doughnuts tasted dry and stale. I also felt the apple-cider flavor wasn't as pronounced as I anticipated, which was disappointing.
I ended up zapping my doughnut in the microwave for 15 seconds, which softened its texture. Still, the doughnut seemed heavy and its apple flavor was incredibly mild.
It's possible that I bought a bad batch or that I waited too long to try them. I ate mine two days after my purchase date, and I assume these are probably best consumed the day you buy them because they're a bakery item.
Verdict: I kind of want to give these another chance, but if they need to be consumed right away to be good, I don't think I'd buy them again.
The pumpkin-flavored Joe-Joe's were delightful in every way
To say I loved these cookies is an understatement.
Had I not shared them with my roommate and placed them out of sight in my kitchen, I probably would've eaten the entire bag in a single day.
The creamy center had a distinct, pumpkin-spice flavor and lightness to it that tasted unlike any of the other pumpkin products I tried. The icing had pleasantly strong ginger and clove flavors.
The cookies themselves were soft and scrumptious. Basically, they're everything a person could want in a fall cookie, and I'm always happy when I eat them.
Verdict: If these aren't in your cabinet yet, immediately head to your nearest Trader Joe's and buy a box - or three.
These pumpkin bagels are a tasty breakfast option for the fall
If you were to ask me what food I will never get sick of, my answer is always the same: bagels with cream cheese. So, of course, I had to try these.
As far as taste goes, these bagels had a hint of pumpkin that wasn't super noticeable but was definitely present. I think if you blind taste-tested me I would probably guess these were cinnamon bagels.
Either way, these were quite good. The dough was chewy and crisped up nicely in the toaster, making the bagel the perfect vessel for any cream-cheese or nut-butter topping.
I didn't buy pumpkin cream cheese for these because I thought that might be overdoing it on the pumpkin, but it could actually bring out the fall flavors of the bagels.
Verdict: I would definitely add these to my regular grocery list.
The butternut-squash mac and cheese was surprisingly sophisticated
I've pureed butternut squash to make soup - but the thought of using it as a cream sauce to thicken a mac and cheese has never crossed my mind.
But I'm totally converted because this mac and cheese is amazing and may be my favorite thing I tried.
The squash puree and three-cheese mixture melted seamlessly into each other, forming a mouthwatering and decadent bechamel.
Rigatoni noodles turned out to be the ideal choice for supporting such a heavy sauce, giving every bite that gooey, cheesy goodness.
The dish had bits of fresh sage sprinkled throughout, which gave it a strong herbal aroma and slight bitterness that perfectly balanced out the sweetness of butternut-squash flavor.
Herbaceous, rich, and cheesy; I could absolutely devour an entire bowl of this.
Verdict: I will totally buy this again, no questions asked.
These pumpkin waffles were crispy and just the right amount of sweet
Delicious and convenient, these waffles hit all the right notes for me when it came to breakfast. Like other frozen waffles, they required minimal effort to heat up in the toaster.
The pumpkin flavor wasn't super strong, but it was definitely there. Adding a touch of maple syrup and cinnamon to these significantly brought out the sweetness, and I'm sure whipped cream or any sugary topping would do the same.
But I think they'd also taste just as good plain or with a small pat of butter.
Verdict: I will likely buy these again.
The pumpkin-butternut-squash bisque was a bit too simple
Since this is technically a bisque, the broth was thick and there were no large chunks of vegetables in it.
In terms of flavor, the squash and pumpkin were pretty much indistinguishable from each other, but together, they gave the dish a rich, earthy taste.
There was a mellow presence of nutmeg and garlic in every bite that made this taste like an elevated version of Trader Joe's boxed butternut-squash soup.
But although the soup hit the right notes, I still found myself wanting to add things to it - hot sauce, walnuts, tortilla strips, anything.
It was sort of lackluster and plain on its own, which is good for at-home chefs who want to upgrade it but not so much for someone who wants a quick lunch.
Verdict: I feel like this is a great option for those who follow a vegetarian diet, but I don't think I'll purchase this again.
The pumpkin cereal bars are a great snack for any time of day
My favorite part about Trader Joe's cereal bars is that they are always consistent - slightly chewy with a soft oat exterior and a fresh, fruity middle. These pumpkin ones quickly exceeded my expectations.
Each bar had a pleasant flavor that reminded me of a cross between brown-sugar oatmeal and cinnamon cereal. The pumpkin filling had a nice jellied texture that was seriously elevated by ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Even better, these bars didn't skimp on the filling - I got bits of gooey, spiced pumpkin with each bite. Plus they're made with real pumpkin, which gives them bonus points in my book.
Verdict: I will absolutely buy these again and eat them all. They taste a lot better than most cereal bars I've tried and are the perfect size for a midday snack.
The pumpkin rolls are perfect for perking up a gloomy Saturday morning
If you have ever wondered what pumpkin paradise smells like, it's these rolls.
These plumped up in my oven in less than 20 minutes and made my entire apartment smell heavenly.
At a glance, they have a doughy, texture, but are a bit thicker than your standard cinnamon roll because they're made with pumpkin bread.
After baking, these reminded me of something I would probably buy from a local bakery. These rolls also had a sticky cinnamon center that really brought out the pumpkin flavor in the dough.
The best part is the pack comes with a yummy, pumpkin-spice icing that you can drizzle (or, like me, pour in globs) over the top of each roll. Be warned - it takes great restraint to not lick every drop of this off of the bottom of the tray.
Verdict: I would absolutely buy these again so I can bake them and share them with others.
The Harvest Chili was delicious and filling
With a hearty base of cauliflower, black beans, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes, this vegetarian-friendly chili didn't even need meat to taste great.
Every ingredient was present in just the right amount, with none overpowering the other. And since everything was simmered in pumpkin puree and chili spices, there was a satisfying combination of spicy, smoky, and sweet that made this simply irresistible.
I ate my bowl slowly to savor every last bite. If you top this with crumbled pumpkin tortilla chips or a thick slice of cornbread and you can have an easy, delicious autumn dinner.
Verdict: I will absolutely buy this again.
The honey-roasted pumpkin ravioli could be the star of a solid fall dinner
Aesthetically, this honey-roasted pumpkin ravioli is an autumn dream with its orange and yellow colors.
Upon the first bite, I was impressed by the ratio of pasta to filling. I also noticed the noodles had a nice bite to them and didn't fall apart and explode like some other filled pastas I've tried.
The ravioli stuffing is on the sweet side because it's a blend of creamy, honey-roasted pumpkin and ricotta cheese, though it contains some noticeable fall-themed seasonings, like nutmeg and allspice.
I highly recommend adding sage, roasted onion, or salty cheese, such as parmesan, to give this dish some balance. I added goat cheese crumbles and a touch of browned butter to mine, which tasted good, but almost too sweet without an herb component.
I'm aware these are a cult favorite, and I wish I would've consulted someone who was a part of the pumpkin-ravioli fan club for some advice on how to sauce these babies before I cooked them.
Verdict: Overall, I enjoyed these ravioli but they weren't my favorite. I would buy them again and I would pair them with a more suitable sauce.
The pumpkin empanadas could be served as a sweet or savory snack
The outside of these was buttery and slightly flaky like a pie crust. On the inside, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger melded with a generous amount of smooth pumpkin puree to form a decadent filling.
To me, these tasted like warmed pumpkin pie that was slightly heavier on the spice.
I got the idea to add whipped cream to my second empanada and it was absolutely divine. But I can easily picture these pairing well a spicy curry or chutney as a pre-dinner snack.
A standard box comes with four empanadas, so there aren't quite enough of them to serve as a party appetizer. But they're the perfect amount if you're just looking to share them with your roommates (or gradually nibble on them over the course of a weekend).
Verdict: Overall, I enjoyed the flavor of these empanadas, but I don't think I'd buy them unless it was for a special occasion.
The pumpkin-spice batons had a light, creamy pumpkin center and paired well with coffee
I love any food that serves a dual purpose, and these tasty batons were great for stirring cream into my morning coffee. Each wafer was several inches long and quite sturdy. They held up well even after being dunked in hot liquid.
The cream center was pleasantly pumpkiny with a delicate touch of spice that instantly brought a smile to my face.
I limited myself to two batons with my coffee - but if left to my own devices, I'd probably devour them all in two days.
Verdict: These batons are an excellent way to integrate a bit of pumpkin into your day without being overly indulgent. I will absolutely buy them again - next time, I'll be grabbing more than one can.
These frosted toaster pastries reminded me of my childhood
I'm a huge fan of one-step breakfasts, especially ones that remind me of being a kid again.
These rectangular toaster pastries seemed like exactly what I needed to satisfy my yearning for simpler times. They had a simple, doughy exterior that tasted a bit like a pie crust, and a sugary, orange, pumpkin filling.
Although these toaster pastries could easily be consumed straight from the bag, I found they were best served warm. The pumpkin filling was incredibly tasty and the crumbly exterior made this an excellent treat to pair with coffee.
My only qualm was that the ratio of dough-to-filling could have been better. There was a lot more pastry than there was pumpkin, and some bites seemed to be a little inconsistent.
The icing on top was barely noticeable. Although the pastry would've been fine without it, I was expecting more icing especially since the box seemed to advertise an even layer of it.
Verdict: Although I would've preferred if these toaster pastries had a little more filling and icing, these minor flaws weren't total deal-breakers for me.
These are perfect if you're craving a sweet, not-too-decadent breakfast, and I can totally picture both kids and adults enjoying them.
The Fall Harvest salsa had an unusual sweetness that I didn't care for
Let's start with the good: I liked that the salsa was chunky and contained real pieces of squash, pumpkin, and apple. Even though this came out of a jar, the salsa's medley of different chopped ingredients gave it a fresh quality.
The addition of lime and tomatillos gave it some much-needed acid and as well as the quintessential spiciness that reminded me this was a salsa, not a fruit salad.
Still, the apples in this salsa really threw me. The texture and flavor of soft, cold apples will always remind me of applesauce.
Their presence in this salsa made it so that every other bite had tiny pockets of sweetness to them, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it seemed a bit out of place and inconsistent.
The same can be said for the pumpkin - it was pretty indistinguishable from the butternut squash. I also would've preferred a little more heat because this definitely leaned more sweet than spicy. I'd rather use this in a savory recipe than eat it as a dip.
Verdict: I probably wouldn't buy this salsa again for myself, but I can see it appealing to anyone who wants a dip that isn't too spicy.
The pepita salsa had a nice kick to it
This fall salsa won me over with its unique, complex blend of flavors.
It contains many typical salsa ingredients: garlic, onion, and tomatoes, but instead of using jalapeno as a heating agent, it delivers on the spice and smoke with chipotle powder.
It also contains red peppers, which added a sweetness that balanced out all of the acidity. I couldn't exactly distinguish the pepita taste in this dip, but that didn't make it any less tasty.
As someone who loves spicy food, I couldn't get enough of this. I ate the entire jar in less than two days
Verdict: I would absolutely buy this again and serve it at a gathering.
The cinnamon-bun spread was extremely sweet
When I was in college, I always had a jar of the chain's cult-favorite cookie butter on hand, so I was eager to see how this seasonal spread compared.
Texture-wise, it's a bit on the goopy side, which is to say it spreads quite well, but not as easily as a traditional peanut butter. To taste, I paired a spoonful of it with a simple, buttery wafer.
This spread had a slight saltiness to it, which initially threw me off because I anticipated it would have the sugary sweetness of cinnamon-bun icing.
This sweet spread tasted a lot like a butterscotch candy with its prominent browned-butter and vanilla flavors. The use of honey as the primary sweetener in this spread seemed to deepen those two flavors, which made it taste like something that was whipped up at a local creamery, not mass-produced in a factory.
I might be nitpicking here, but I think this spread was lacking cinnamon flavor. It's possible that if I paired this with something else, like a slice of brioche bread, I would've noticed it more.
Verdict: Although I was disappointed in the lack of cinnamon flavor, this spread would be a great addition to anyone's fall pantry due to its versatility. I can totally imagine dipping Granny Smith apple slices into it for the ultimate fall treat.
This caramel-apple-flavored granola didn't taste the way I thought it would
This granola didn't taste like a caramel apple - but it had a yummy, candied flavor coursing through every oat and peanut cluster.
The pumpkin-spiced pumpkin seeds were a nice addition, but the flavor was buried under the sweet granola.
The apple component came in the form of dehydrated apple slices, which I thought were chewy and not-so-great but my roommate totally loved. Perhaps I'm just not a big fan of apples.
Still, this granola was still a nice little treat to snack on throughout the day.
Verdict: I don't think I would buy this again for myself, but I recommend it to anyone who loves to try different granola combinations.
The turkey-and-pumpkin mole burrito was layered with complex flavors
Mole is a dense sauce that's popular in Mexican cuisine and it typically contains spices, dried chiles, and chocolate.
I've tried mole sauce before, but I'd never had it paired with pumpkin, so I was very curious about this burrito. It seemed kind of over-the-top.
The microwavable burrito consisted of a flour tortilla packed with roasted turkey that was well-seasoned and juicy. I was pleasantly surprised by this because turkey tends to dry out easily.
It also contained a hearty amount of black beans, roasted sweet-potato chunks, Monterey Jack cheese, and cilantro rice, which gave it a unique symphony of textures and flavors.
Overall, this was very spice-forward with a very subtle earthiness that was amplified against the roasted sweet potato. Of the many, somewhat indistinguishable seasonings, cinnamon stood out to me the most. In terms of taste, I couldn't find pumpkin flavor in the mole sauce at all.
I also found the amount of sauce to be quite inconsistent, overpowering the burrito with spice on some bites while not being present in others.
I think this could've used more mole sauce overall, or perhaps, less of another ingredient.
Verdict: I would eat this if it was given to me, but I wouldn't purchase it again.
I couldn't get enough of the pumpkin-spice Pretzel Slims
As a huge fan of Trader Joe's Pretzel Slims, I was beyond excited to try these. Fortunately, they did not disappoint.
Doused in a smooth yogurt coating that's infused with yummy pumpkin-spice flavors, this seasonal offering was a perfect blend of sweet and salty.
What really made these a winner was the delicate sprinkling of spiced pumpkin seeds on top.
It added that extra layer of texture and zing that seriously elevated these from "an ordinary snack with pumpkin added to make it fall" into a sophisticated, delicious treat that I would enjoy year-round if it were available.
I can easily imagine myself running through an entire bag of these while watching my favorite Halloween movies.
Verdict: I am absolutely going to buy several more bags of these this season.
The pumpkin-spice granola bark was thicker than I expected
I liked the idea of this pumpkin bark but I was disappointed by the execution.
The biggest flaw is that it's far more crunchy than chewy. I know there are almonds in the granola base, but this was straight-up hard to bite.
It's possible that this is due to the use of coconut oil and maple syrup as a binder instead of butter, or it could be the inclusion of quinoa. Either way, it caught me and my front teeth by surprise.
The other issue is that bark is broken into uneven chunks of various sizes, which could lead to inconsistent bags of the treat. Some pieces were as big as an actual granola bar, others were more like a very small wafer.
On the positive side, I could taste the pumpkin spice well and thought the dark chocolate provided a sweet contrast to the salty pumpkin seeds on top.
Verdict: If you're looking for a great gluten-free snack that isn't overly sweet or salty, look no further. But I probably wouldn't buy this again for myself.
Complete an autumn cheeseboard with these pumpkin-cranberry crisps
Having tried and loved Trader Joe's fig-and-olive crisps, I had a good feeling about this pumpkin-and-cranberry version, and I'm happy to report it did not disappoint.
Each square was packed with delicious pumpkin spice and tart cranberries - the union of these two flavors was so genius that I'm not sure why it's not more popular.
The texture reminded me of toasties more than crackers. They were definitely crunchy, but the cranberry bits added a slight chew that crumbled like a cookie.
These were a neat departure from the usual plain, buttery, or salted crackers and paper-thin chips I often buy to accompany dips.
Although they were definitely on the sweeter side, they still had a savory quality to them that paired best with mild profiles like cream cheese and chèvre.
But combining them with other fall flavors took these to the next level. I couldn't believe how yummy they tasted with the chain's pumpkin-spice hummus.
Verdict: Between their unique tart, sweet, and savory flavor combination and satisfying crunch, these crackers are a must-buy for anyone who loves fall foods.
The pumpkin-and-ginger Hold the Cone ice-cream treats were outstanding
Trader Joe's has once again knocked it out of the park with this seasonal addition the Hold the Cone lineup, and this flavor might be my favorite of the entire bunch.
Even though the combination of sweet, creamy pumpkin ice cream with the spiced cone was pure heaven, Trader Joe's took this treat to the next level by allowing the sophisticated ginger flavor to shine.
The ginger added a nice sharp contrast to the rich flavors in the ice cream. I even uttered an audible "OMG" the moment this tiny cone made contact with my taste buds.
Plus the melt-in-your-mouth candy coating with hints of vanilla enhanced the sugary sweetness in every bite.
It tasted like an artisanal ice-cream cone I might buy at an upscale creamery. After finishing the first one, I immediately texted my friends and urged them to buy a box.
They're a perfect 10, and I have no complaints other than the fact that they're seasonal and I may have to hide them from my roommate. Though, if they were available year-round, there's no way I'd be able to resist buying a box during every Trader Joe's run.
Verdict: Between their yummy pumpkin center, ginger-spiced shell, and candy coating, these mini cones were one of the tastiest ice-cream treats I've ever tried from Trader Joe's, so they're an absolute must-buy.
These leaf-shaped tortilla chips offer a festive upgrade to your usual salty snack
Trader Joe's paid great attention to the details - as if the festive red, orange, and gold colors weren't enough, these tortilla chips are also shaped like a variety of fall leaves instead of one cookie-cutter form.
According to the package, these chips get their beautiful color from a combination of pumpkin, beet, and carrot powder and stone-ground corn instead of artificial dyes.
But don't worry if the thought of vegetables in your chips is off-putting since the corn covers those flavors, so these didn't really taste like anything other than Trader Joe's regular tortilla chips.
They're solid chips overall - sturdy, crispy, and not too thin or thick - so I can't really complain even if this felt like a missed opportunity for Trader Joe's to offer a delicious and festive root-vegetable snack.
Verdict: If you're going to buy regular tortilla chips anyway, you might as well switch it up with this cute option. I plan on buying another bag before the end of the month.
The pumpkin-spice hummus doesn't really taste like the chickpea spread but still makes for a nice snack
I had no idea what I thought this hummus would taste like, but I definitely didn't expect it to be this yummy. After a week, I've eaten over 3/4 of the tub, and it may have converted me into a sweet-dips person.
It's still odd to think of this dip as hummus since it really didn't taste like any of the chain's other varieties.
In this option, Trader Joe's trades tahini for pumpkin puree, which gives it a thick texture that's a lot like peanut butter, and swaps the usual garlic seasoning for cinnamon and nutmeg. Even though I still tasted the faint hint of chickpeas, it was totally different from the stuff I pair with falafel.
It's undeniable that this dip was quite delicious since it manages to taste rich and sweet without feeling heavy. It mostly reminded me of pumpkin-pie mousse with a slightly nutty aftertaste.
But because this hummus leans more sweet than savory, it's crucial to pair it with the right chip.
I didn't love the way it tasted with tortilla chips, but it was incredible with the cranberry crisps. The nutmeg in the dip made the fruity flavor pop, so I can also see it working well with apple slices or cinnamon-dusted pita.
Verdict: Though I was initially skeptical of this sweet dip, the pumpkin-spice hummus won me over with its delectable flavor and buttery texture. I'll totally be adding this to my list.
The pumpkin brioche didn't have a strong flavor but still made for lovely French toast
Straight out the bag, this pumpkin brioche was surprisingly tasty. It's super airy and lightweight, with a pillowy-soft center that seems closer in texture to that of a freshly baked croissant or sweet roll than of bread.
However, the pumpkin flavor was very mellow. I only detected it at the end of each bite because I deliberately looked for it. This is probably intentional since it may have tasted too much like a dessert loaf if it were much stronger.
Since the pumpkin-spice and sweet flavors were pretty tame, this loaf was quite versatile and tasted wonderful on its own with a pat of butter or as French toast.
Adding sweet maple syrup really brought out the subtle notes of cinnamon and nutmeg in each slice, so it also may make an incredible base for bread pudding.
Verdict: With a fresh-baked feel and delicate pumpkin flavor that isn't overly sweet, this brioche is a great item to have on hand throughout the fall months. I'll definitely be repurchasing.
The pumpkin 4-cheese Greek-yogurt dip had way too many competing flavors
A mixture of Greek yogurt, shredded mozzarella, cheddar, cream cheese, and Parmesan with pumpkin-spice flavoring, this dip did not hit the mark.
Per the instructions, the dip is supposed to be warmed for 20 seconds in a microwave-safe bowl before serving. This already made it lose points in my book since I had to dirty a dish.
This step also seemed pointless since I didn't notice any difference apart from the lukewarm temperature. I resisted the urge to heat it for longer because the thought of hot Greek yogurt turned me off.
The Greek-yogurt base didn't mesh well with the other flavors and made every bite sour, and the pumpkin component tasted bizarrely sweet and artificial.
Plus my palate was going to battle while eating this dip. On the first bite, I detected melted cheddar and mozzarella with a vague hint of nutmeg, but the second contained more Parmesan with a slightly sweeter pumpkin flavor.
The inconsistent texture reminded me of a cross between creamy marshmallow fluff and pub cheese, with random chunks of cheese like seven-layer dip.
Maybe if all of the flavors actually paired well together this dip would've been nice. Although it may have worked with a sweeter cheese, the sharp and salty cheddar wasn't the move.
Verdict: Although I commend Trader Joe's for wanting to try something new, the combination of pumpkin spice with salty cheese and sour yogurt was too overwhelming to be enjoyable, so this is a dip I'll skip.
The pumpkin Greek yogurt was smooth and delicious
I'm not normally a fan of flavored Greek yogurts because the sourness can be overpowering and ruin the other tastes, but I'm glad I tried this one.
With a lusciously creamy texture and the flavor of real pumpkin puree, this festive yogurt is a nice take on pumpkin spice.
From the moment I tried the first spoonful, I was sold. It still tasted like Greek yogurt, but the fresh pumpkin and touch of nutmeg and cinnamon made it all the more palatable.
I was genuinely impressed by how seamlessly these ingredients blended into an ultra-smooth treat with just the right level of sweetness to seem more special than plain Greek yogurt, yet not like a dessert.
Verdict: For days when a full breakfast seems like too much, this pumpkin Greek yogurt would be a great way to start the morning. I'll definitely stock up on a few cups before the season ends.
The pumpkin chocolate-chunk oatmeal cookies delivered on spice
One whiff of the spices in this oatmeal-cookie mixture immediately reminded me that it's finally fall again. More than just a sensory treat, this mix just calls for eggs and butter to create a pumpkin-spiced sweet that (for once) isn't bread.
Each container comes with a pretty generous amount. The instructions say each batch yields 24 cookies, but after mixing and rolling the dough into even-sized balls, I ended up with about 28.
For the most part, these cookies were pretty solid. They didn't spread too much in the oven and baked evenly into tasty, chewy domes.
The strong scent was an apt preview since these cookies tasted like a pumpkin-spice dream. Each bite was like a spicy, sweet, and chocolaty explosion.
The taste of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon lingered on the insides of my mouth for several minutes, plus the oats and chocolate chips were a welcome addition since they gave each cookie additional flavor and texture.
However, these cookies were noticeably more dense than I anticipated, so some bites tasted slightly grainy and gritty, like I was biting directly into the powdered mix. This wasn't enough of a flaw to ruin the treat, but it's definitely worth considering if you're looking for a super moist and delicate dessert.
The fact that they were so easy to throw together was an added bonus.
Verdict: As someone who is both a passionate pumpkin-spice advocate and a fan of oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies, this product was made for me.
I'm willing to overlook the minor textural flaws because these cookies were so delicious.
This gluten-free pumpkin-bread mix made a magnificent loaf
During the fall, I usually bake pumpkin bread at least five or six times. And although it's generally easy to make from scratch, it still requires some effort and several ingredients that I don't always have on hand.
So once I learned that Trader Joe's sells a shortcut for baking pumpkin bread without a ton of measuring, I immediately added it to my list.
I'm not sensitive to gluten, and I just happened to buy this version of the mix because the label caught my eye. I didn't end up minding this choice since everything about this pumpkin bread was incredible.
It's so easy to put together that it's practically foolproof. I simply followed the package instructions and added an egg, oil, and water, then hand mixed it all with a paddle spatula.
Less than an hour later, I had a pumpkin loaf that was so delicious and moist that I could hardly believe it came out of my oven.
Compared to other loaves I've had, this one tasted the most like true pumpkin spice instead of a replica of the sugary syrup. Nutmeg was the dominant flavor, but I still clearly tasted the actual pumpkin, along with notes of cinnamon and cloves.
Best of all, it wasn't overly sweet, which made it perfect for enjoying early in the morning with a cup of coffee.
The batch gave me 10 to 12 good-sized slices, plus you can also use this mix to make muffins instead.
Verdict: As someone who loves baking from scratch but isn't always in the mood to measure every last ounce of spices, this instant pumpkin-bread mix is a must-buy.
At less than $5 a box, it's a smashing deal considering I'm guilty of paying $4 for a slice of pumpkin bread at a local coffee shop.
The Halloween Joe-Joe's were a decent sandwich cookie but less memorable than the pumpkin-spice ones
The surface of each chocolate cookie is imprinted with the face of a jack-o'-lantern, complete with orange-colored frosting peaking through tiny triangular eyes like glowing candlelight. The aesthetics were perfect.
I'll give Trader Joe's credit for making these without any artificial flavorings and additives, but the taste was a bit of a letdown.
The cookies themselves were fine, with a nice soft chew and plenty of sweet cocoa flavor, but the paste-like cream filling tasted a little too much like vanilla extract, rather than flavored frosting or cream.
I unscrewed a second Joe-Joe to taste it without the top cookie and came to the same conclusion.
This may just be a sign that my palate is unfortunately hardwired for overly rich and processed cookies, but I didn't feel compelled to reach for these again the way I do with the pumpkin-spice Joe-Joe's.
Verdict: Although these Halloween Joe-Joe's weren't my personal favorite, I think anyone looking for a simple sandwich cookie might actually enjoy them.
I'll go with the pumpkin Joe-Joe's next time, but these would be a great snack option for parents who want to give their kids a sweet treat without too many processed ingredients.
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