Trader Joe’s Extraordinary Bark

Since there were a few lingering holiday items at Trader Joe’s, I wanted to grab them before they disappeared. This time, I got Trader Joe’s Extraordinary Bark of the Finest Collection ($3.99)– “dark chocolate bark with layers of mini milk chocolate peanut butter cups, pretzels, caramel popcorn and crushed almonds.” It wasn’t mentioned in their description, but this bark also has Joe Joe cookies on top!

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Before opening the package, I wondered if the bark would be hard to manage because it looked so ginormous and intense. But, once I opened the package, I saw that it was the perfect thickness and the bark pieces broke off easily. There’s so much going on with this bark that you get a different flavor and texture in each bite. It was fun, delicious, and surprisingly easy to eat. The caramel popcorn was not as crispy/crunchy as I like, but other than that, this candy bar was delightful. This bark is certainly extraordinary, and it makes the perfect holiday treat.

 

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Dark Chocolate Gingerbread barkTHINS

Recently, I discovered a flavor of barkTHINS that I had never seen before…Dark Chocolate Gingerbread. Plus it was on sale at Fresh Market (2 for $6)! I’ve been a fan of this delightful “snacking chocolate” for a while – Dark Chocolate Blueberry with Quinoa Crunch is my favorite. And I LOVE holiday and seasonal flavors, so I had to try this 🙂

Not only do they make classic and unique flavors, barkTHINS are made with Fair-Trade Certified Ingredients and they are Non-GMO Project Verified. Even the packaging is sophisticated – the gold color on the Dark Chocolate Gingerbread package is particularly elegant.

Upon opening the packaging, you get an immediate whiff of the harmonious c

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want more chocolate…

hocolaty cinnamon spice. The bark is in good-sized pieces with the perfect thickness  (not too thick where it would be hard to bite into, but thick enough to be satisfying). Each chocolate bark is loaded with little round gingerbread cookie pieces, adding a light crispiness to each bite. They are so delicious I want to savor each bite, but they get melty if  you don’t eat them quickly enough.

My only complaint is that the bag appears to be half-full when opened…I wish there were more chocolate bark pieces inside 😛

If you haven’t tried them yet (and you love dark chocolate and gingerbread cookies), these are a must buy!

 

 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Trader Joe’s

14694632_10104793797438363_1771563262_nDark chocolate and peanut butter are two of my favorite foods…so naturally, I love peanut butter cups. At $0.99, Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are a must buy! Each bag contains 9 peanut butter cups. These little gems are the perfect treat. I am also a huge fan of Justin’s peanut butter cups, but the Trader Joe’s brand is a more affordable alternative.

 
I love the salty-sweet pairing of creamy peanut butter filling enrobed in rich dark chocolate. The small size is great for portion control, but it is hard to have just one…

 

The following is a comparison of these chocolates at 3 different temperatures. The left one was frozen overnight, the one in the middle was refrigerated overnight, and the one on the right was at room temperature (I like to keep my house warm at 78 degrees).

The frozen one was nicely chilled. It was more solid and maintained its form until I put it in my mouth. The room temperature one was super creamy and melty, and it tasted sweeter than the others – this was definitely my favorite. The refrigerated one was a “in-between” state relative to the frozen and room temperature chocolates. Needless to say, I will be enjoying my peanut butter cups at room temperature from now on 🙂

 

Pumpkin Season at Trader Joe’s!

October is pumpkin season for many…and Trader Joe’s is no exception! I enjoy good pumpkin-flavored foods, but it’s not something I typically search out. It’s fun to try the exciting new flavors at one of my favorite grocery stores though – I love Trader Joe’s for the great deals and unique finds.

Here are some new items I recently acquired from my local Trader Joe’s:

Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli

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The vibrant orange and yellow color of this ravioli caught my eye while going through the refrigerated pasta aisle. Typically, I stick with the safer flavors like pesto or four cheese, but I was feeling adventurous and figured “Why not?”

The package says that it is 2 servings, and there were 10 raviolis in the package – so 5 for each person when you share 🙂

I served this with a sprinkling of ground pepper, Trader Joe’s Spanish organic extra virgin garlic flavored olive oil (a fave of mine), and a garnish of basil leaf. The filling definitely tasted like sweet spiced pumpkin and I couldn’t really detect the ricotta and mozzarella cheese flavors. The texture was creamy with a hint of something nutty, but the ingredients didn’t list any nuts so it may have been the breadcrumbs. It was good, but I prefer a more savory flavor for pasta and it felt like something was missing. I added Trader Joe’s Cambozola Triple Cream Soft Ripened Blue Cheese (another fave), and it was perfect!! Although the Cambozola cheese seems to go well with almost anything…

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Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels

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I have been wanting to try this new delight since I first saw it on the shelf a few weeks ago. They have been strategically placed throughout the store by the other pumpkin flavored items, in the chocolate/candy aisle, and near the cash registers.

As soon as you remove the plastic wrapping, the delightful chocolate smell wafts the air. One box has 12 pieces and is priced at $4.99. Each piece has a generous sprinkling of red Hawaiian sea salt. The chocolates are approximately the same size as the images on the box.

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This is a two bite size candy – as soon as you take a bite, the creamy caramel flows out so you need to take your next bite quickly. This rich buttery caramel has a nice pumpkin flavor. The box says that it is imbued with spices like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger, but I couldn’t really taste them and they weren’t listed in the ingredients. Also, the chocolate tasted more like milk chocolate than dark chocolate. I liked the sweet and savory contrast of the caramel and the sea salt, but I prefer a chewier caramel and a darker chocolate flavor.

Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls

I’ve become addicted to Trader Joe’s 12 Mini Mint Ice Cream Mouthfuls, so I was excited but nervous to try the Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls ($3.99). This dessert also contains 12 ice cream sandwiches, and I love their mini size! The box accurately depicts the size of these delectable cookies.

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When I first tried this, the cookies were extremely soft so I thought maybe they defrosted during transit between the store and my house. However, the cookies remained extremely soft after a few days in the freezer, so I think this is just the way they are (the cookies for the Mini Mint Mouthfuls are firmer). As a ginger-lover, I enjoyed the intense flavor of the ginger snap cookies. The pumpkin ice cream flavor is more subtle, and somewhat overpowered by the cookies. The ice cream is also very soft and will melt quickly, so you need to eat these fast! I don’t mind the softness though, and they won’t hurt your teeth like harder ice treats.

Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Last but not least, this double dose of pumpkin is a winning combination. The roasted seeds are flavored with sugar, butter, pumpkin spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice), and salt. The seeds are surprisingly light and delicately crispy. It is sweet but not too sweet. I ate them straight out of the bag, but I bet it would also be delicious sprinkled on top of pumpkin ice cream. At $2.99 for an 8 oz. bag, this is a great buy!

If you like seeds and pumpkin flavor, this is a must buy. It would be hard to resist eating the whole bag 😛

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Which is your favorite? 🙂