Trader Jacque’s Vanilla Eclairs with Chocolate Fondant

I love eclairs. Trader Joe’s had a great deal on Vanilla Eclairs with Chocolate Fondant for $2.99. Each box contains 4 eclairs.

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Make sure you allow enough time for the eclairs to defrost sufficiently. The box suggests defrosting at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour or in the refrigerator overnight. After defrosting at room temperature for 30 minutes, the filling was still a little frozen (but still tasty)… I would recommend at least 1 hour to an 1 hour 30 minutes if you want to defrost at room temperature.

However, it seemed to defrost the best when left in the refrigerator overnight.

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30 min at room temp
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90 min at room temp
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refrigerated overnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These eclairs have a perfect balance of chocolate fondant, choux pastry, and vanilla cream filling. The pastry is light and airy, and the subtle vanilla flavored cream is sweet but not too sweet. Although I prefer to have fresh eclairs, (the texture of the cream feels defrosted, rather than fresh), they are still a great buy for $2.99.

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Trader Joe’s Pear & Persimmon Tarte

I’ve heard great things about Trader Joe’s Pear & Persimmon Tarte and I was curious to try it. On a recent Trader Joe’s visit it was discounted from $3.99 to $1.99, so I had to get it.

It is pretty easy to prepare. Just let it defrost for about an hour at room temperature (or maybe a little more), then bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees.

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slightly bigger than the size of my hand

This tarte is delicious, and such a steal for $1.99 (I have a feeling it won’t last in the stores long!). The crust is wonderful – it is my favorite crust out of the pies/tartes I’ve tried from Trader Joe’s soย far. They taste like shortbread cookies – crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside. The sprinkle of granulated sugar on top is a nice touch.

I also really like the filling. It doesn’t really taste like persimmon…it tastes more like peach-apricot, but it’s still tasty. There are some pear pieces in the filling, but not as big as in the picture on the package. The fruit filling is complimented well by the subtle frangipane (almond paste) underneath it.

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inside view

Overall, this tarte kind of reminds me of a bigger, fancier version of thumbprint cookies. I loved thumbprint cookies as a kid, but rarely had them. This dessert is also sweet, but not too sweet…it is perfect when warm and would pair nicely with a hot cup of tea ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Pecan Pudding Pie

I had been eyeing Trader Joe’s Chocolate Pudding Pie since I first spotted it this fall, and I finally decided to get it for a New Year’s treat. The person at the check-out counter gave it a raving review, so I was super excited to try it. Recently, I tried the Fruitcake BARย and it had become a favorite holiday treat and I wasn’t sure if anything could beat it ๐Ÿ˜›

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The pie is “fully baked,” so all you have to do is remove it from the box and leave it in the fridge for 1.5 to 2 hours. I let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours because it has been unseasonably cold in Florida and it feels like a refrigerator in my house ๐Ÿ˜›

The box has a picture of a beautiful, luscious, decadent chocolate pie covered with a bounty of pecans on top. When I first took the pie out of the package, I was a little disappointed…”where are the pecans??” After I cut into the pie, I noticed that the pecans were inside the pie.

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view from the side

The pie tastes like a ย rich chocolatey, super gooey fudgey brownie. The consistency is creamy and velvety – kind of like an extra thick chocolate pudding. It almost reminds me of the chocolate caramel from Lake Champlain Chocolate Caramel Five Star Bar. The saltiness of the flaky crust compliments the sweet chocolate filling. Since it is very sweet, I like this pie with a cup of hot tea. The Fruitcake BAR is still my favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Dorayaki with Mochi ~ ้ค…ๅ…ฅใ‚Šใฉใ‚‰็„ผใ

I love Dorayaki. Dorayaki is a delicious Japanese dessert consisting of two castella (Japanese sponge cake) pancakes filled with sweet azuki red bean paste. There are various variations of Dorayaki – green tea flavor, with chestnuts, filled with whipping cream, etc…

My best friend in Japan sent me a care package filled with delectable goodies…one such treat was the Dorayaki with Gyuhi from Warakunosato (ๅ’Œๆฅฝใฎ้‡Œ).ย Gyuhi is a softer version of mochi (Japanese rice cake)…it is a translucent white, delicate, chewy confection. You may have noticed Gyuhi before in the topping section at frozen yogurt shops. The pancakes were moist, light, and fluffy…the Tsubuan (chunky red bean paste) was perfectly sweet andย had good-sized whole beans intact. I loved all the textures of the Dorayaki, but my favorite part was the Gyuhi ๐Ÿ™‚ Green tea/matcha accompanies this wagashi (traditional Japanese confection) nicely.

If you prefer video reviews, check out this linkย and enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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close-up

 

 

Trader Joe’s Sponge Candy

When I saw Trader Joe’s Sponge Candy ($3.49), I had to get them. I’ve never had sponge candy before, but I’ve always wanted to try them. According to the box, it is “sugar candy covered in milk chocolate”. The box is adorable – it has a honeycomb design on the sides.

The candies come in different shapes and sizes, and underneath the chocolate coating, the candies looks like sponges.ย They certainly doesn’t taste like sponge though ๐Ÿ˜‰ They are sweet, crisp, and chewy…the pieces are thick but also airy. There is a slight caramely, honey flavor. These sponge candies may not be the healthiest food, but they are tasty ๐Ÿ˜›

Trader Joe’s Fruitcake BAR

Happy Holidays!! I am loving all of the holiday foods available at Trader Joe’s during the winter season. I’ve never had fruitcake before, but it wasn’t something I necessarily wanted to try because it didn’t sound very appetizing. But on a recent Trader Joe’s visit, I tried a sample of their Fruitcake BAR ($3.99), and I was hooked! It was absolutely divine!

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Don’t let the bland appearance fool you – it is super flavorful, and chock full of almond slices and tenderย fruit morsels…raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and dried apricots. There’s also a slight note of crystallized ginger which adds a nice zest. I don’t know if this is what a fruitcake is supposed to taste like, but itย was AMAZING!

There’s a nice balance between the almonds, dried fruit, and the bar itself. I love the moist, chewy texture and the almondy flavor of the actual bar – it kind of reminds me of pignoli cookies. It would be hard not to finish the entire bar in one sitting ๐Ÿ˜›

 

 

 

 

Quaranta – Nougat Passion – Soft Nougat with Lemon

I’ve never had torrone before, but I heard it is delicious so I wanted to try it. They had a nice selection at World Market. Out of the many flavors, I decided to try the Quaranta Nougat Passion Soft Nougat with Lemon. It looked super pretty with the bright yellow lemon peel pieces.

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lemon gel/cream in the middle of the bar

This torrone was super lemony. It had large lemon peel pieces on topย and in the middle of the bar. This was my favorite part – the lemon peels were not too tart, not too sweet, and perfectly chewy. There also seemed to besome kind of lemon gel or cream inside which made the nougat itself taste lemony.

There were also good-sized pieces of almonds and hazelnuts.

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so much happening in this bar!

This chewy sugary cloud of a candy was filled with various textures and flavors. Overall it was a little too sweet for me. I would be curious to taste a more simpler flavor of torrone next time.