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!

16586612_10105271151227543_255359067_o

16709462_10105271151771453_203744938_o
close-up

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.

 

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.

16229659_10105198352197383_695093742_o

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.

16231361_10105198352636503_707702279_o
30 min at room temp
16244718_10105198352905963_485177369_o
90 min at room temp
16196872_10105198353200373_495283152_o
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.

16231349_10105198352312153_72046713_o

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

16229920_10105198191808803_26894642_o
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 soΒ 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.

16244706_10105198191629163_298326564_o
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 πŸ™‚

 

 

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 BARΒ and it had become a favorite holiday treat and I wasn’t sure if anything could beat it πŸ˜›

15817546_10105113763349113_731200504_o

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 πŸ˜›

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.

15820939_10105113762650513_272942519_o
view from the side

The pie tastes like a Β 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 πŸ™‚

 

Trader Joe’s Sparkling White Chardonnay Grape Juice

For the non-alcoholic drinkers out there, Trader Joe’s Sparkling White Chardonnay Grape Juice is a great alternative for a celebratory beverage. It is made with 100% juice from Spanish Chardonnay grapes and it comes in a fancy bottle. It is a little sweeter than actual Chardonnay wine, but it is still tasty and delightfully bubbly. The flavor is somewhat like white grape and apple, and it is perfect when served chilled.Β They recommend consuming within 4 days of opening, but it didn’t last that long for me πŸ˜› And it’s only $2.99!

I forgot to take a picture of the juice until there was only a little bit left πŸ˜›

 

 

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.Β They certainly doesn’t taste like sponge though πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜›

Trader Joe’s Indian Fare – Jaipur Vegetables

Recently, I noticed several flavors on Indian Fare at Trader Joe’s, and I decided to try the Jaipur Vegetables (garden vegetables and cubes of Paneer cheese with spices and cashews). It is super affordable at $1.99 and easy to prepare. I heated up the sealed pouch in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes and served it over warm rice (you can also heat it up in Β the microwave).

Although somewhat spicy, the curry was pretty good. The flavor was a little on the light side, but it was creamy and full of tender veggies (tomatoes, green beans, carrots, peas, potatoes). I like that it had Paneer, but I prefer larger pieces of firmer, squeakier Paneer.

15713316_10105078597247263_1635250132_n
curry over rice

 

All in all, it’s a good portion for 2 people and not a bad deal at $1.99.