REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies

Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies

This is everything the trainers, cardiologists, and armchair psychologists warned me about. Why? Well…

Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies Tower

(You still here?)

To the three of you who you haven’t sprinted for your keys, I’ll do my best use some adjectives that describe the above cookie sandwiches, photographed just moments before they were ingested. If you head for your local Trader Joe’s via car/bus/ferry/personal helicopter before you make it to the end, I won’t blame you.

Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies Topless

Despite the sudden population boom in biscuit-based spreads, the cookie butter Trader Joe’s implements here holds tight to tradition, using the familiar cinnamon caramel flavors found in Speculoos cookies. The goo is a little thicker than peanut butter, but not quite as stiff as an Oreo creme. The spread separates from the cookie swiftly when twisting and remains as tasty as I remember in that special caramelized-frosting way. But the real kicker? Comes with the shortbread.

Salty, sugary, and sandy as a renegade drifter, the buttery shortbread breaks with a crisp bite before it crumbles and dissolves under its own weight. Darwin surely would’ve been fascinated to hear my post-first-bite monologue of, “Yum. Cookie. More. Yum,” as I’m fairly certain it brings into question humanity’s ability to linguistically evolve…or perhaps this is just me? Am I de-evolving?? And what will I do when I become a monkey?? If these cookies have anything to do with it, I’ll be eating shortbread.

Despite the Super Wonderful that is this cookie, I’m a little conflicted. This is the third cookie butter product I’ve reviewed in the past 12 months. Trader Joe… are you using cookie butter as a crutch? Maybe even surfing on a… (gulp)…trend??

Now, no lies: it’s a very, very tasty crutch, but, as my ski instructor said to me back when I was a poorly coordinated 10-year-old, one never learns if one always takes the Bunny Slope. Sometimes, you gotta strap on your skis and rocket down the double-black diamond at 50 miles per hour without a helmet.* You may crash, lose a glove, and bonk into a California pine, but you’ll learn from the wipeout.

*This is a lie. You should always wear a helmet, silly.

Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies Mug

But who am I kidding? These are delicious. I’m knocking them a little for being trendy, for not having a re-sealable bag, and for making my arteries sad with the box’s 216% of my saturated fat, but, let’s face it: neither health nor coolness are what you keep in mind when eating these. What you keep in mind is joy. Pure, unobstructed joy. And Trader Joe? You’ve succeeded in that.

So, dear reader. will you twist? Nibble from the outside in? Dip in milk or not? One at a time or gulf down a pile of five? There are a lot of ways people will tell you to eat these, all stress-inducing and rife with contradictions. I say ignore them and enjoy your cookie.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 180 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 10 oz. box
Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Classic cookie butter. Crumbly. Buttery. Sandy. A little crispy. Renegade drifters.
Cons: Dangerously trendy. Not in a re-sealable bag. 214% Saturated Fat in one box. Ski accidents. Knocking into a California pine. Cardiologists. Turning into a monkey via de-evolution.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies

The Milano cookie has always been something of an enigma for me. With its elegant yet simple design and name conjuring images of the Italian Alps, it was beyond my childhood capacity of appreciation. Later in life, after I had graduated from a packaged cookie diet consisting entirely of Oreos and Chips Ahoy, Milanos still perplexed me. A dense yet slightly chewy crumb and buttery but dark chocolate flavor pointed toward a cookie on its own plane, distinct and unabashedly unique from every other prepackaged treat.

Oh yes, and terribly delicious.

It goes without saying that we expect much from Milano cookies. When you nail the chocolate flavor better than 95 percent of the competitors, I think expectations are a given. Nevertheless I couldn’t help but wonder if that sophisticated edge would translate with the addition of pumpkin spice. It’s one thing to pair mint and raspberry with chocolate, but when you start playing matchmaker with chocolate and the sometimes ambiguous concoction of fall spices, the results aren’t always so endearing.

Examining the bag confirmed my initial skepticism, as there’s no mention of pumpkin or the usual suspects of cinnamon or brown sugar in the ingredients. Nevertheless the orange lip representing pumpkin appeared on each cookie, while an unmistakably pumpkiny aroma danced from the open bag in perfect step with aromas of shortbread and chocolate.

It’s really a scintillating aroma, one with notes of pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin loaf cake supporting the dance. Actually, it’s so great I nearly passed out of asphyxiation due to a prolonged moment of sticking my schnoz right into the bag and failing to breath anything but the glorious smell of autumn.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies 2

The orange “cream”—for want of a better word—is thin and slightly viscous, with a texture somewhere between cream cheese on a hot day and the filling they stick inside those stacked wafer cookies. Tasting it from the lip of the cookie, it comes across as a less intense version of Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese, right on down to a slightly artificial flavor that seems a bit too quiet for fall’s most iconic squash.

Artificial flavor aside, there’s a pleasantly light sweetness and lickable texture that leaves me wanting more. The problem is there really isn’t much more to be had. Even though the chocolate-to-pumpkin filling ratio is about 1:1, the pumpkin finishes a distant third in its impact. The filling and the spice together are enough to let you know we’re talking pumpkin and not just cinnamon-flavored cookies, but the milk chocolate filling and scrumptious cookie base seem unwilling to let the pumpkin intrude on their synergy.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies 3

It’s been my experience through a quarter century of pumpkin eating that pumpkin is a very jealous flavor. It just doesn’t like playing second fiddle, much less third string. Yet in the distinct and careful balance of buttery cookie crumb and rich chocolate taste the pumpkin seems an awkward third wheel, attractive enough to want on its own, but not enough for either of the other two elements of the cookie to commit to.

It’s as if the cookie and the chocolate know what they have together, and while tempted by the pumpkin’s autumnal notes, neither flavor wants to commit to the newcomer over its tried and true other half. My God, it now occurs to me as I polish off another cookie, I have just described a twisted escapade of cookie love.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies 4

The sophisticated chocolate taste and buttery crumb native to all Milanos make the Pumpkin Spice Milano flavor unique and tasty. Yet for such a trendsetting cookie the pumpkin spice flavor doesn’t come through enough to make it a distinctively pumpkin product, while the hints of an attractive and creamy texture mitigate it to an awkward role player. As for that role, it’s just not cast right, and despite a promising beginning and intoxicating aroma, the Pumpkin Spice Milanos failed to make me fall in love with their take on the seasonal flavor.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Quite possibly one of the most enjoyable smelling cookies in creation. Buttery Milano cookie. Rich milk chocolate flavor. Pumpkin flavored “cream” is slightly reminiscent of pumpkin cream cheese. That feeling you get when you buy Milanos.
Cons: Too little pumpkin filling. Slightly artificial pumpkin spice “cream.” Third wheel flavors. Death by cookie bag. Nineteenth century packaging of Milano cookies.

REVIEW: Nabisco Limited Edition Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Limited Edition Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies

It’s safer to lick the creme of these Limited Edition Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies than a wooden spoon covered in chocolate chip cookie dough, because, you know, E. coli, salmonella, and splinters.

Although, after eating these new Oreo cookies, you’ll probably wish you had a spoon coated in raw cookie dough and a phone with 9-1-1 already dialed and your finger above the send button instead because these Oreo cookies have a flavor that no blindfolded person would describe as “cookie dough.”

During an episode of The Nosh Show, I wondered if the creme would taste similar to the cookie dough chunks in Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream. After buying a pint, digging out almost all the cookie dough, and turning it into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream, I discovered the creme also tastes nothing like the Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough, which has a strong chocolate flavor.

Instead, the creme filling tastes more like caramel with a slight coffee aftertaste. To be honest, it was a little off-putting at first lick, but after the initial shock, my tongue enjoyed the flavor. Maybe Nabisco was trying to capture the vanilla extract or maybe Nabisco’s food scientists didn’t taste actual cookie dough because, you know, E. coli, salmonella, and they’re scientists who know bodily fluid stains are the worst.

Nabisco Limited Edition Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies Closeup

The chocolatey chips in the creme couldn’t cut through the caramel flavor, because, with most of the cookies I ate, there weren’t many of them. To be honest, I think they were included just for looks so that the creme could look cookie dough-ish. They don’t add flavor or a chocolate chip-like texture. All the chocolate flavor comes from the crunchy chocolate wafers, which do a wonderful job of cutting through the sweet, tan-colored creme’s flavor.

It’s disappointing the chocolatey chips didn’t add flavor or a different texture because I’m all for Oreo cookies with a little something in the creme. One of my favorite Oreo flavors is the Limited Edition Candy Cane Oreo which has crunchy candy bits. They enhance the flavor of the peppermint-flavored filling and give the entire cookie a distinct crunchy texture beyond what the chocolate wafers provide.

While I think they taste more like a caramel Oreo and the chocolatey chips didn’t really add anything, Limited Edition Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies make my taste buds happy. So if you happen to see them, I say pick them up. And if you miss the opportunity to try them, do not cut up a log of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough and place the slices between two Oreo chocolate wafers.

Note: I received a free sample of these cookies from Nabisco for this review.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Nabisco Limited Edition Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 12.2 oz.
Purchased at: Received from Nabisco
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Makes my taste buds happy. Creme has a sweet caramel flavor with a coffee aftertaste. Crunchy chocolate wafers work well with the sweet creme. Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream.
Cons: Tastes more like caramel or coffee. Doesn’t even taste like the cookie dough chunks in Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream. Chocolatey chips don’t add flavor or a different texture to the cookies. E. coli and salmonella. Scooping out all the mix-ins in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and leaving just the ice cream base for others.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies

List of things hard to improve: the Northern Lights, pens that don’t run out of ink, paper dragons, snack mixes, and Jedi mind tricks.

I once thought that Milano cookies, too, should be on this list. Composed of planks of golden sugar cookies sandwiching a thin layer of semisweet chocolate, original Milano toe the line of perfection, and yet the restless, curious minds at Pepperidge Farm are working to propel the cookie into a new realm of supremacy, having now covered the beloved cookie in a bevy of chocolate. Since I could live the rest of my life with nothing but Netflix, a vat of milk, and a constantly streaming Costco-sized bag of the originals, I couldn’t help but give this new chocolate covered variation its time in the spotlight.

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies Tray

Well, well, what’s this? Seems these bountiful biscuits have ditched the old flimsy fluted cup for a plastic sleeve. A wise choice, not only because fluted cups remind me of past traumatic experiences with Betty Crocker, but also because the plastic separators prevent them from melting and turning into mish-mosh.

And these cookies aren’t mish-mosh.

Some mass-produced chocolate can taste of sugar and vegetable oil, giving the chocolate all the bizarre flatness of a senator reading rap lines. Not so with these sandwiches. The milk chocolate coating is sugary sweet with a finish of light cocoa. It melts pretty fast, which isn’t good for that white shirt you pressed this morning, but quite good for consuming off the nubs of your chocolate-coated fingers.

But where that chocolate really shines is with the cookie itself. Aside from being covered in cocoa solids, these biscuits haven’t changed a bit. Walking the tightrope between crispy and crunchy with just a hint at an artificial buttery end, these planks serve as the perfect palate to showcase the semisweet chocolate insides. This thin inner core of hardened chocolate starts sweet then leaves just a hint of coffee-like bitterness behind. It is here that I realize how much this cookie thrives on contrasts. This sweet, crunchy, gooey, pleasantly bitter experience has all the sporadic eccentricities akin to listening to the playlist of a late night college radio station: one moment, you’re listening to Sinatra, the next, David Bowie, the next, Bob Marley. A whole range of personalities.

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies Closeup

And if sandwich cookies had personalities, the Milano would be the intellectual. The deep thinker. The Nietchze reader who enjoys classic cinema and vintage wine and purple silk robes. Thus I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that I shelled out an Abraham Lincoln for the 7 cookies, but I was a little disappointed with the low cookie count.

While the milk chocolate on these is pretty good, the cookie doesn’t quite offer enough specialty or mystery for such a price. However, the box did fulfill my chocolate quota in the time it would take to get my car washed, and all chocolate has antioxidants and antioxidants are good for your ojos, right? Or wait, maybe that’s carrots.

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies The mug says it all

I have a self-imposed superstition that, if you mess with perfection, bad things will happen: your eggs will curdle, your credit card will be debunked, or a clan of vengeful lobsters will arise from the sea and attack you for no apparent reason. Luckily, none of these things happened when these Milano cookies were consumed and, while they were a bit overpriced, these show themselves as a solid example of a chocolate covered cookie.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 160 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.

Item: Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1 box/7 cookies
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crispy-crunchy texture. Plenty of chocolate. Chocolate that actually tastes of chocolate. Chocolate is good for your ojos. No obtrusive fluted cups. Paper dragons. Jedi mind tricks.
Cons: Some may not enjoy slight artificial butteriness. Chocolate can get messy. Only seven cookies. Traumatic experiences involving Betty Crocker. Being attacked by a clan of vengeful lobsters.

REVIEW: Nabisco Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo

Nabisco Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo

If you think about it, Oreo cookies are like the cockroach of the cookie world. They’re both dark on the outside, make a satisfying crunch when crushed, they’ve been around for what seems forever, and they may never die.

This year, Oreo turned 100 years old and to celebrate Nabisco released their Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo. Yes, Oreo can now be considered a centenarian, if it was human.

Also, if it was human, Oreo would probably be given a shout out on The Today Show by Willard Scott and/or be used in a segment to fill airtime on the local news, which will most definitely involve the centenarian being asked the obligatory question, “What is the secret to your longevity?”

Of course, the secret to Oreo’s long life is the fact they’re a sweet little treat adored by millions and the millions of dollars Nabisco has spent in Oreo advertising over the past ten decades.

Sadly, don’t expect a long life for Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo because, obviously, it’s a limited edition variety.

Nabisco Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo Closeup

At a quick glance, the limited edition Oreo cookie looks like any regular Oreo, but one of the chocolate cookies has a special birthday design that sort of reminds me of a $100 black poker chip. And if you twist a chocolate cookie off, you’ll see the white filling has colored candy sprinkles in it.

After opening the Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo package for the first time, an overpowering sweet aroma of cake frosting rushed out of the bag. It’s an aromatic bum rush I imagine I’ll experience again on my wedding day when my future bride grabs the piece of wedding cake I just cut and smushes it into my face.

While it has a strong cake frosting scent, its flavor is too much like a regular Oreo cookie. If I were to twist off one of the chocolate cookies and discard it, the cake frosting flavor gets a bit more noticeable when I eat the non-sandwich version of the cookie. It’s disappointing the frosting flavor wasn’t stronger, because, after all, the frosting is the best part of a birthday cake.

The white creme filling in the Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo is softer than regular Oreo cookies. The amount of filling is more closer to Double Stuf than regular stuf, so you’re getting less cookies per package than with regular Oreo cookies, but that’s been the case with almost all of the limited edition Oreo varieties. The candy sprinkles add a little extra crunch to the cookie, much like the candy pieces do in the Limited Edition Candy Cane Oreo.

The Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo cookies are a slight disappointment because of its flavor. Don’t get me wrong, they are quite tasty, but I really wished it had a stronger birthday cake flavor.

(Disclaimer: We received this package of Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo for free from Nabisco. If you’re looking for Birthday Cake Oreos, they’ve been seen at Walmart and Target.)

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 3 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 40 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

*made with partially hydrogenated oil

Item: Nabisco Limited Edition Birthday Cake Oreo
Price: FREE
Size: 10.5 ounces
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tasty. Oreo is 100 years old. Candy sprinkles add a little extra crunch. Living until you’re 100 years old. Milk dunkable. Getting a shout out by Willard Scott.
Cons: Slightly disappointing. Frosting flavor needed to be stronger. Tasted similar to regular Oreo cookies. Made with partially hydrogenated oil.