by Arhana Aatresh (’23) | November 18, 2022
Trader Joe’s and autumn are as closely linked as peanut butter and jelly. Annually, without fail, the chain practices what I like to call the “pumpkinification” of every food item from baking mixes to ethnic foods, resulting in many runaway hits but also some tragic misses. Regardless, Trader Joe’s always brings new life to my taste buds every fall, and I have rounded up my favorite items below.
Starting off strong, Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s put most other sandwich cookies to shame. The ratio of pumpkin wafers to pumpkin creme (doubling the pumpkin action) creates the perfect texture; the wafers are crunchy but not brittle, while the sweet creme melts in one’s mouth. A strong hint of ginger separates the cookie from traditional pumpkin products—a more accurate name would be Ginger and Cinnamon Joe-Joe’s. Paired with a glass of warm milk, the cookies make for a perfect snack on a cloudy afternoon.
Another fan and personal favorite is the Pumpkin and Cranberry Crisps. The crispy bite-sized crackers combine sweet and slightly tangy flavors, reminiscent of the year-round Fig & Olive Crisps. The thyme, nutmeg, and turmeric provide a fun little kick. The crisps can be enjoyed with any dip, soup, or nutty and creamy cheese to counteract the sweetness, such as brie or camembert. Combined, they make a great addition to a charcuterie board for any Friendsgiving gathering.
Moving away from all things pumpkin, another top snack is Trader Joe’s Fall Leaf Corn Tortilla Chips. You read that right—the chain simply added colors and shapes to plain corn tortilla chips and is selling them as limited edition items. But do not underestimate them. The chips are perfectly crisp with balanced earthy tones from stone-ground corn; the vibrant fall colors are as close to a New England fall as California will ever get. With cheese and salsa, the chips can be eaten as nachos with a unique harvest season flair.
Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream is a unique item to get you through California’s signature fall heat waves. Similar to many of the store’s products, this dessert combines two unlikely flavors this time to create a delicious ice cream comparable to pumpkin pie. The Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins are also a favorite; an icing shell binds creamy, velvety mousse and rich chocolate cake to form a—you guessed it—pumpkin, for all the fun fall feelings!
Another favorite, arriving after Thanksgiving, is Trader Joe’s Marzipan Stollen. The combination of marzipan, a sugar and almond meal confection with candied fruit, nuts, and spices makes for a delicious snack. Dusted with a generous coat of powdered sugar, it even looks like a true wintry confection. When heated up, the sugar, fruits, and marzipan practically melt in one’s mouth, and the intensely sweet flavor brings the citrus cake to life.
Trader Joe’s continues to deliver with its seasonal selection and unusual flavor combinations, so I will definitely continue to scour its shelves for my next find.