Houston Trader Joe's may be running low on Speculoos Cookie Butter, but there are plenty of other sweet treats available in abundance. Although desserts are one category of foods that I actually enjoy making myself from scratch, there are some too tempting to pass up at TJ's. Here are my five favorites:
5. New York Deli-Style Cheesecake. Trader Joe products come and go, but their plain New York deli-style cheesecake endures because of its clean, simple flavors and versatility. Eaten plain, the cheesecake boasts strong citrus notes and a thick buttery graham cracker crust; add toppings of cherry, apple, blueberries, or chocolate for additional dimensions of taste and texture.
4. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter-Filled Cupcakes. Eat these cupcakes 1) alone, so there's no shame in finishing the entire package or 2) with a close friend who won't judge you for getting fudge, crumbs, and peanut butter all over your face. The moist decadent chocolate cake becomes nearly unmanageable to eat gracefully and silently (cause you're moaning in delight) with a healthy infusion of sweet nut butter.
3. Peppermint Baked Alaska. I'm thrilled Trader Joe's brought Baked Alaska back into fashion and additionally tickled that they made the bold choice of using peppermint rather than neopolitan ice cream. Just south of the cool mint cream is fudge and a chocolate chip cookie crust and north is toasted meringue. Intersecting along the x-axis should be your fork.
2. Chocolate Ganache Cake. The chocolate ganache cake is neither new nor flashy. It's just really, really delicious and for that reasons continues to command many devoted followers. I initially pooh-poohed this oldie-but-goodie in favor of the chocolate molten cakes, but was easily converted by the cement-thick layers of dark chocolate mousse, dense cake, and ganache so sweet you'll swear it's just a melted Hershey bar.
1. Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies. What's better than milk and cookies? Milk and cookies and frosting. That's the trend I'm hoping to start. Soft cookies studded with raisins and shreds of real carrot get additional boast of savory sweetness from a generous filling of all-butter vanilla icing. Enjoy oatmeal cream pies?