Trader Joe’s Best (Addicting) Items

A round-up of my favorite addictive snacks from Trader Joe's

This isn’t one of those “here are the healthiest items at Trader Joe’s” or “you can make a week of meals for $25 with this Trader Joe’s grocery list” article. This is a binge-worthy “you must try these foods if you have a soul, a stomach, and you’re not lactose or gluten intolerant” type of article. THESE are the items I cannot resist when shopping at Trader Joe’s.

  • Le Delice de Bourgogne & Fig & Olive Crisps – this creamy brie-like cheese is heavenly, especially atop the sweet, chewy crackers
  • Popcorn with Herbs & Spices – alright, I’ll admit it took me a while to warm up to this one, being a replacement for the beloved Beurre Meuniere Popcorn, may she rest in peace. The flavors are a refreshing change from the typical butter or cheddar. Add a touch of class to your “I don’t really want to go outside so I’ll just close the curtain and pretend it’s night” Saturday at 4pm Netflix binge.
  • Parmesan Crisps – these babies have been hiding from me until recently. Good news – they go with everything: soup, salads, breadsticks, more cheese, chocolate, icing, butter, avocado, etc. But mostly vegetable soup, in my experience.
  • Dark Chocolate Bar Caramel with Black Sea Salt – if after reading that name, you need more justification, we can’t be friends. I feel comfortable saying this is my all time favorite chocolate bar. Vosges, the Hershey’s Factory downtown, nothing compares.
  • Tarte aux Champignons – the O.A. (original addiction). This tart has been with me through tough times, happy times, scary times, all the time. It’s my go-to drunk food (classy, right?) but must be cooked at 425 degrees which takes a really long time and sometimes you’re just kind of tired from drinking and you fall asleep with your oven on. Three times. Don’t do that. This tart is quite thin, so don’t plan on sharing!

I am not responsible for any addictions hereafter. Eat at your own risk! – R

MORE Zing and Pep Cookies

MORE Zing and MORE Pep Cookies

MORE Zing and MORE Pep CookiesWhile pondering what to name these cookies, I thought about how a reasonable person likely never would have made them. MORE MORE MORE is my motto. Chocolate ice cream with caramel swirls and sea salt and raspberries and hot fudge and sprinkles and cookie dough and brownie chunks? I’m in. Moderation is for punks.

Okay, okay, I don’t want to lose all credit from the cutie foodies – I appreciate an elegant, Instagrammable dessert as much as the next guy, but there’s just something about chocolate that makes me want to unleash the baking fury. This recipe has been added to by fellow restraint-less bakers three times around, so I felt the name was appropriate. Inspiration below:

I got the recipe from Kitchenist who got the recipe from Martha Stewart. Basically, Martha Stewart is the Kevin Bacon of the baking world (and of the bacon world?). I’m almost positive every recipe in the world originated from a Martha recipe. Also, I was born in 1990 and always assume nothing happened before that time.

As I believe is fully clear by now, I am soooo not good with self-control, and I added a ton of cayenne to these babies. If you don’t like living your zesty life on the edge, add less, no one’s watching (I hope?). Be sure not to over bake these cookies! They harden up quite a bit post-oven, so take them out right when they get that crusty outer layer – YUM.

Recipe for MORE Zing and Pep Cookies (per dozen):


  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate (either chips or cut into chunks for melting)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup toffee bits (I use Heath Bits O’ Brickle Bits)
  • 3 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Directions (in the order I prefer, because I can’t multitask and always burn the chocolate if I start with the melting part and the oven is on for far too long and the kitchen gets hot):

1. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and set it to the side. We don’t need that right now. Oh, in a bowl, not on the floor.

2. In a larger bowl (this is the main bowl, better be a good one), use a mixer to beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F (it’s time!). Melt chocolate and butter together in a small saucepan over the stove. Be careful not to burn the chocolate as your cookies will taste like… burnt chocolate.

4. Add the melted chocolate/butter mixture and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the toffee bits and cayenne with a spoon – if peanut butter and molasses had a batter baby, this would be it, so don’t even try to use your electric mixer.

5. Scoop spoonfuls of batter on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1 to 2 inches apart – they don’t spread much. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt and/or cayenne pepper over the top of each cookie, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes (as said before, keep an eye on them to be sure they’re not over baked. Cool on a towel (or a wire rack if you have such luxuries and don’t live in a small studio apartment).

6. This is the most important step. I know it’s cheesy to have “Enjoy!” as a directional step, but the way in which you enjoy these cookies is crucial. Despite my infamous lack of moderation, I feel the responsibility to warn you that the sea salt on these cookies makes them highly addicting, so you MUST invite friends over when they are almost done or you WILL eat them all yourself. Okay, whew. Enjoy!


Mini Apple Pies (with salted caramel!)

Salted Caramel Apple Mini Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Mini PieSo, it’s almost fall. Blah, blah pumpkin spice latte. Though pumpkin doesn’t thrill me, I loooove salted caramel ANYTHING (except salted caramel pumpkins). Like a small child recklessly driving a Barbie Jeep, it hit me – fall apples are the perfect excuse to consume lots of salted caramel! And so I searched our beloved Pinterest and came across these delightful/personal salted caramel apple pies!

Delicious recipe here via Just a Taste


Mini Maple Cookies



mid-week treat. okay, these aren’t the healthiest cookies; but, i mean, maple! i tend to be into classic desserts: brownies, chocolate chip cookies, etc. i’m all for a good macaron, but nothing beats the basics for me. warning: even better with sea salt on top, but far more dangerous.

||| enjoy! – r |||


  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (Grade B preferably)
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt


1. Cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed for three minutes or until light and fluffy.

2. Add the vanilla extract and egg and mix until well incorporated. Add the maple syrup and mix until well incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated. Fold in the walnuts. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for thirty minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Drop spoonfuls of the cookie, about 1 inch balls, onto cookies sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

(recipe adapted from simply recipes)

First Dessert of Summer


It finally feels like summer!  What better to do on a hot summer night than create the perfect dessert for the next day?

The following is a rendition of Sweetapolita‘s  Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart


- This process from start to finish is an overnight deal (but worth it)!  If you're in need of
 an emergency chocolate fix, check out our dessert recipes on Pinterest
- The caramel filling requires a slow cooker and takes 8 hours to cook.  

– You’ll need two room temperature eggs and 10 tablespoons of softened butter, so set them out!

Click here for a printable shopping list and recipe!

Shopping List

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

10 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup powdered sugar

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (or 2 oz. unsweetened + 2 tablespoons sugar)



1. Whisk flour (1 1/2 c.), cocoa powder (5 tbsp.) and salt (1/4 tsp.) in a bowl.

2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 

3. Mix in egg yolks (2, room temperature) and vanilla (1/2 tsp.).  Add in dry ingredients from step 1.  

4. Place dough in a 9″ quiche pan and press evenly throughout bottom and sides of pan.  

5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350˚F. 6. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Caramel Filling

1. Place one can (14 oz.) of condensed milk in a slow cooker after the label is removed from the can. 

2. Fill cooker insert with water until the top of the can is covered.

3. Heat on low for 8 hours.

4. Open can (SLOWLY) and you’ll find delicious caramel!  Spread it across the crust, as seen below.

Ganache 1. Bring heavy cream (1/2 c.) almost to a boil over medium heat.  

2. Place chopped chocolate (4 oz.) into a medium bowl and pour hot cream over chocolate.

3. After a minute, stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth.  

4. Pour ganache evenly over tart and garnish with sea salt.

Buon Appetito!