Tag Archives: pumpkin spice

31 Days of Junk: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s (#17)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I’m a chewy chocolate chip type of cookie guy more than anything, but offer me the right kind of sandwich cookie and I might indulge. Hit, Milano, E.L. Fudge. Basically anything with a nice chocolate filling squeezed between the two cookies. Those I will gladly accept.

While I’m not big on original Oreos, I am a sucker for their limited time/seasonal varieties they offer–even though I often think these variations still taste exactly like plain ol’ Oreos. (Well, the cookie portion does.) Just a few years ago, Oreo released a Pumpkin Spice flavor, which I found to be their most enjoyable–and least “Oreo-flavored”–release yet. Still, if you’re looking for a seasonal sandwich cookie, you don’t have many options (if any, really) other than Oreo.

Enter into the arena Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s, the seasonal sandwich cookie to beat all others.

Now here is a sandwich cookie that brings some nuance and flavor to the table. Not only is the filling pumpkin-flavored, but the cookie is as well, ensuring that you get the most bang for your frugal, Trader Joe’s-shopping-ass buck.

But first, let’s clear something up: when anything is labeled “pumpkin” flavored, what they really mean is “pumpkin spice” flavored. But the funny thing is, “pumpkin spice” isn’t even a real thing. It’s like “blue raspberry”–an unnatural flavor that exists only in the junkfoodiverse. “Pumpkin spice” is a bit of a misnomer, as it doesn’t even contain any pumpkin. Secondly “pumpkin spice” flavoring is really just allspice. That’s it. Allspice is composed of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Boom. I will concede that “allspice flavored cookies” doesn’t have the zip of “PUMPKIN SPICE FLAVORED EVERYTHING!” Okay, now that we got that out of the way.

As I was saying: these Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s are really quite delicious. The cookie itself is flavorful, enough so that you could eat it on its own without the filling. It’s also a bit softer, a bit more crumbly than your average sandwich cookie, which I can appreciate (gives it somewhat of a “homemade” vibe). And the filling is actually creamy, as opposed to Oreo’s familiar semi-solid slab of frosting. When you bite into these Joe-Joe’s, the filling squeezes out a bit, giving even more of a homemade feel.

The flavor is tops. From the smell, the second you open the bag, to the first bite, these cookies are pure pumpkin spice (er, sorry, “allspice”). But, surprisingly, there is a bit of earthy, gourdy, vegetal flavoring somewhere in there. It’s not overpowering or gross, but close your eyes and smack your lips a bit, and you’ll be able to spot the pumpkin puree flavor. (Which is an actual ingredient!)

Overall, I’d say if you were going to try one pumpkin spice goody this year, try these. They’re inexpensive and delicious–which are the two most important criteria when it comes to food, for me.

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31 Days of Junk: Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake (#6)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

The people at Ben & Jerry’s are great at what they do. Their ice cream creations remind me of the scene from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, where the kids eat the three-course meal pills. The little pills, unimpressive to the eye, end up containing incredible flavors and subtle nuances that the kids are able to describe in detail after eating. That’s how I feel whenever I try a new Ben & Jerry ice cream flavor.

It’d be easy to phone the pumpkin cheesecake flavor in. Lots of sugar, lots of cream, a bit of pumpkiny flavor. Boom, you’re done. But that’s where ol’ B&J stand out among their frozen dairy peers. There’s no other way for me to describe the flavor than just saying it tastes exactly like cheesecake. And that’s such a weirdly specific flavor to nail, but they do it!

I’m admittedly not a fan of cheesecake, so a few bites were enough for me. There is a graham cracker swirl, which I found a little too grainy for my tastes. Normally, I can scarf down a pint of Americone Dream in one sitting, but I had to put this one away after a couple of spoonfuls. But kudos to the Ben & Jerry folks for creating an absolutely spot-on ice cream version of pumpkin cheesecake.

31 Days of Junk: Cadbury Screme Egg (#4)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Full disclosure: I don’t like Cadbury Creme Eggs. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one, so maybe it’s unfair of me to say I don’t like them. As a kid, I genuinely thought it was a chocolate covered egg yolk/albumen, and that thought sickened me. So, naturally, I avoided them.

Here’s a funny story: In fifth grade, our teacher sprang an unexpected assignment on the class. “The first three people to turn in their papers,” he declared, “will get a surprise.” Of course, I just had to have that surprise, and being the little overachiever I was (a trait which waved bye-bye to me long ago), I actually finished first. I trotted up to my teacher’s desk, paper in hand, and eagerly awaited my surprise. He examined my work, gave an approving grunt, and then as if he’d suddenly remembered what he’d promised, frazzedly began rifling through his desk drawers, in search of the surprise he’d clearly fabricated in order to get the class to finish the assignment.

“Ah, here you go,” he said. From the top drawer of his desk, he produced an out-of-season Cadbury Creme Egg; dinged, dented, and flakes of foil peeled back and missing. This was my surprise. He handed me the egg (which, at the time, I think I still believed was a real egg), and sent me back to my desk. Talk about feeling scammed!

This is all to say that I really don’t have much to compare Cadbury’s spooky “Screme Egg” to. From the outside, it looks like a regular old Cadbury Creme Egg, the recognizable star shape stamped into the side of the chocolate shell. The inside of the Screme, however, is much cooler than a regular Creme: instead of yellow and white innards (barf), we get green and white innards! (Cool!)

The whiteness of the goo is a tad pearlescent, which is sort of pretty for a candy. When it got melty and mixed with the slime green, it created this minty color which looked like toothpaste. (Same consistency, too.) As for its flavor: straight-forward sugary vanilla, how I imagine it would taste eating a Yankee Candle.

All in all, a simple yet fun twist on the Easter treat.