REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Coffee & Dark Chocolate Joe-Joe’s

What are they?

The latest in a line of premium single-sleeve coated Joe-Joe cookies from the best grocery house brand in the game; chocolate sandwich cookies with coffee creme in a dark chocolate and coffee coating.

How are they?

It should come as no surprise — these are awesome. The first thing I notice upon close inspection are the little specs of espresso bean within the drizzle, and the flavor comes through swimmingly. There’s no doubt that these are chocolate-forward, but a bold espresso flavor pops in pretty prominently right after the bittersweet and creamy dark chocolate coating finishes up its opening flourish. The cookie is very crunchy, almost to a fault in that it threatens to explode and crumble everywhere if you’re not careful enough. Luckily, I am a professional.

These dunked and drizzled cookies remind me a lot of a chocolate-covered espresso bean but with reverse ratios of coffee to chocolate. The stronger components are chocolaty sweet — the dark chocolate coating and the wafer cookie — but there’s no denying the presence of ground coffee in the creme and drizzle that gives it that bold bean-adjacent flavor. They’re excellent.

Anything else you need to know?

In 2017 Trader Joe’s beat Nabisco to the punch and released Mocha Joe-Joe’s mere months before the Limited Edition Dunkin Donuts Mocha Oreo debuted. Both were solid cookies, but the Joe-Joe edged out the Oreo just a bit, largely thanks to its bold and authentic coffee flavor. Six years later, TJ’s still hangs its hat on that coffee intensity, and the extra layer of chocolate is a higher quality than anything Nabisco has ever rolled out.


Trader Joe’s Coffee & Dark Chocolate Joe-Joe’s are not for those who aren’t into the true flavor of coffee, but they’re not reserved for those (like myself) who prefer their coffee black either. They have a brilliant balance of in-your-face-taste and creamy satisfaction that will leave most, if not all, coffee drinkers pleased with their purchase.

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 6.8 Ounces
Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cookie, 24g) 120 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Mousse Pie Ice Cream

Chocoholics unite! The final new flavor from Ben & Jerry’s 2023 launch lineup is an ode to one of the essential French-inspired American desserts, which definitely hits me with a bit of Americana nostalgia. Mousse Pie is milk chocolate ice cream with chocolate mousse swirls and chocolate cookie swirls.

Ben & Jerry’s chocolate base is a topic of contention amongst many ice cream bloggers. Some seem to think it’s lackluster and one of the lowlights of the brand, but I like it quite a bit, especially in my favorite classic flavor Phish Food. Regardless of my enjoyment of the normal chocolate base, I’m always happy to see the oft-forgotten milk chocolate get rolled out for a new creation. The base here is lighter and sweeter with a smooth milky flavor that reminds me of a throwback chocolate malt without the malty funk. Not quite as light as a vanilla-leaning Wendy’s Frosty, but it’s devoid of all the bitterness one usually gets from a typical chocolate base, and I enjoy it.

What I enjoy more, though, is the textural contrast with the chocolate mousse swirls. Unlike Topped Bossin’ Cream Pie, I’m actually able to differentiate between the base and the swirls in this pint, and I do get a lighter, fluffier texture that somewhat emulates the airiness of a mousse. It’s a fun and unexpected switch-up that really comes to life when you let this pint get all the way tempered to just shy of melty — if you pick this up, make sure to give it enough time to show its true colors.

As fun as the base and mousse are, the highlight of this pint is the chocolate cookie swirls. I’m no stranger to this staple B&J mix-in, and there’s a reason why it gets used so much. It’s gritty and buttery with a bittersweet chocolate taste that is very welcome amongst the milkier components. It has that classic Oreo-adjacent cocoa flare that drives home the flavor of the pie crust perfectly. It pops up in some bigger chunks throughout that carry a hearty, satisfying crunch — it’s a lot of fun.

Mousse Pie is essentially a lighter, in terms of both texture and taste, version of Ben & Jerry’s classic Chocolate Therapy. Overall I prefer Chocolate Therapy, which makes this one feel a bit redundant in the scope of the prolific and often innovative Ben & Jerry’s arsenal. However, I can’t deny how well the components play together, and the addictive-ness of that gritty swirl is enough to keep me happily digging to the bottom of this chocolaty abyss.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 139g) 390 calories, 24 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 34 grams of total sugars, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Churray for Churros! Ice Cream

Churros and ice cream are nearly complete opposites. Aside from their robust sweetness, I can’t imagine many things in the dessert realm that are more drastically different than each other. One is hot and crispy, while the other is cold and melty.

When I dream up the ideal churro, the first thing that comes to mind is a fried crunch that gives way to soft fluffy dough with a sharp sugary cinnamon bite. When I imagine the perfect pint, I see gooey swirls and chewy chunks in a velvety smooth base. They’re like completely different experiences, right? I’ve had churros in ice cream before and it hasn’t worked, but Ben & Jerry’s is daringly giving it a shot. Churray for Churros! is buttery cinnamon ice cream with churro pieces and crunchy cinnamon swirls.

Bad news first: this pint doesn’t give me much of the satisfaction I associate with a churro, but the good news is it is a really great cinnamon ice cream. The base is delightful. It is absolutely buttery with a smooth texture that gives way to a very prominent but sweet cinnamon flavor that works beautifully with the lush fatty dairy notes. It is a mild flavor that most fans of the spice should find sufficient while not being so intense that it will turn people away who may not love it as much as I do; it is balanced.

The “churro pieces” are really more like a cross between a chewy cookie and cookie dough. They’re very soft and slightly gritty, not nearly as gritty as the classic gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough B&J are known for, but there’s a hint of undone-ness to the chew. They amp up the cinnamon flavor AND the buttery flavor from the base, and it’s like a match made in heaven. Again, these “churro pieces” don’t really remind me of a churro texturally at all, but when I’ve had churro pieces in other ice creams, it has been a disaster. So kudos to the gurus in Vermont for figuring this one out because the cinnamon sugar taste is awesome.

There are a ton of churro pieces in my pint but not so much of the crunchy cinnamon swirls. I don’t notice a big textural shift between bites, and with three cinnamon components, it’s hard to differentiate exactly what’s going on. In fact, that’s the only issue I have with this creation is that while it’s very good, it’s a bit of a one-trick pony. This is the perfect ice cream to have a single scoop of on a cone or to use as the base of a sundae. But on its own, it feels like it’s one component away from being a B&J all-timer.

Perhaps pairing this with churro dipping sauce, like a dulce de leche or fudge swirl, could have taken this to churro spiral city. Churray for Churros! reminds me a lot more of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and snickerdoodle cookie dough than it does churros, but I am a cinnamon fiend, and all of those profiles have a special place in my heart, even if it’s a bit one-note at times.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 133g) 380 calories, 23 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 33 grams of total sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s and Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolatey Love A-Fair Ice Cream

When it comes to the snack game, few things are as fun and exciting as a good mashup. Two culinary titans colliding to create one new product tends to send the masses (at least those that frequent blogs like this) into a spiral of excitement — Peeps Oreo. Mountain Dew Doritos. Kellogg’s Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie cereal. And now, just in time for Valentine’s Day…a Chocolatey Love A-Fair.

The new pint from Ben & Jerry’s and Tony’s Chocolonely combines chocolate ice cream with salted caramel swirls, caramel chunks, and sea salt fudge chunks. In keeping with Tony’s mission statement to end modern slavery in cocoa farming, this new flavor uses fair trade cocoa that’s traceable via Tony’s open chain. Delicious AND good for the workers? Hell yeah.

This pint isn’t exactly what I expected, but it is really good. The chocolate ice cream is incredible. I’m a fan of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate base, but this has an extra depth and richness from the amount of saltiness floating within the mix-ins. It truly tastes and feels like a salted chocolate base with a brilliant, bittersweet flavor that tempers perfectly. A similar sensation happens with Glampfire Trail Mix from the pretzel swirl — the base itself isn’t different, but what’s in it changes the dynamic. This may be the best chocolate base I’ve had from B&J. For a grocery shelf available product, it is elite.

The salted caramel swirl isn’t as prominent here as in some of my other favorites, like Phish Food, but it pops up a couple of times in pleasant little globs. I have a feeling a lot of the caramel seeped into the base, which I can’t be too mad about because it has such a dynamic depth that the sticky sweet caramel is just a nice little bonus when I find it, as opposed to being necessary for satisfaction.

What threw me off initially were the mix-ins. When I read “caramel chunks” and “sea salt fudge chunks,” I think squishy, or at the very least soft and somewhat ganache-adjacent, but that’s not the case here. The sea salt fudge chunks are much closer to the classic B&J fudge flakes, but they have a legitimate salty pop that cuts through the base brilliantly. I tend to think B&J “fudge chunks” (basically big chocolate chips) always taste better in shapes like the fish in Phish Food than when they’re flakes, and that same rule applies here. They’re firm and snappy but still have a melt-in-your-mouth quality once chewed.

The caramel chunks are even more unique. They’re crunchy and crackly, like the outside of caramel corn meets Buncha Crunch, with a gently sweet buttery flavor. I expected something like a smaller version of a caramel that comes wrapped in plastic from the grocery store that gets melted down for caramel apples, but it’s its own thing entirely, and it works.

Chocolatey Love A-Fair doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means, but it delivers a legitimately delicious sweet and salty scooping experience that should please fans of both Ben & Jerry’s indulgent pints and Tony’s high quality cocoa expertise.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 136g) 360 calories, 21 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 35 grams of total sugars, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ghost Cherry Limeade Energy Drink

What is it?

As GHOST Energy continues to rise, starting to pop up in huge chains like Walmart, the brand has set its sights on making Shirley Temple smile, with a bubbly twist on Cherry Limeade — chockfull of 200 milligrams of natural caffeine and focus ingredients.

How is it?

It’s good. It’s quite good, and it’ll grow on ya! It took me multiple cans to figure out how I felt about this one (I know, I’m an addict). The flavoring here isn’t quite as strong and punchy as I’ve come to expect from GHOST Energy. I’m used to being walloped over the head with flavor, and while this is still pretty strong, it isn’t as intense, especially when compared with the WarHeads and Sour Patch Kids candy collabs.

The flavor is nearly a 50/50 split of cherry and lime, with a touch more lime than I expected. That sharp citrusy lime keeps the drink from getting too sweet, and while I wouldn’t have opposed a bolder sugary cherry flavor, the balance also helps prevent it from tasting medicinal. It’s a super smooth sip that goes down easily, thanks to some tight and not too aggressive effervescence. As a big time supporter of Shirley Temples and Cherry 7Up (and Dirty Shirleys when I’m feeling wild), this one ends up really hitting the spot.

Anything else you need to know?

The first time GHOST made a cherry limeade flavor, it was a collaboration with Sonic for its powdered Legend pre-workout line. It’s still available and co-branded with Sonic, but that endorsement doesn’t come with the Ready-To-Drink canned version for whatever reason. I’ve had the pre-workout in the past, and the flavor is denser and more intense. But carbonation typically changes the experience, and I’m not certain whether this is the same or an entirely new formula for the profile.


This drink is only held back by how unbelievably elite a lot of the other releases from GHOST Energy have been. In the grand scheme of energy drinks, this is probably a 9 out of 10 and the best cherry limeade on the market — certainly better than Reign and Alani Nu. But when graded and curved against the other straight slam dunks from GHOST, it might be closer to a 7, which lands me very comfortably at a median of 8, and a damn fine one at that.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 16 oz can
Purchased at: GNC
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates,0 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein.