TJ’s Sweet Pull Apart ALOHA ROLLS (Sliders!)


Trader Joe’s Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls

I think we can safely assume Trader Joe’s are calling these “Aloha Rolls” to reference KING’S HAWAIIAN famous sweet breads.

In any case, TJ’s pull apaprt “Aloha Rolls” are really good. Small but pudgy high, slightly sweet and really soft bread dinner rolls. My-oh-my are they yummy, we kept eating one more when we were tasting them. The rolls are small but very pudgy tall and are terrific just with butter or for making little sandwiches. Actually I was looking for the mini hamburger buns I love… which I realized I haven’t seen them for some time, and I am now assuming TJs Disco’d them (argh!) When I saw these little Aloha Rolls I wondered why couldn’t these rolls work for making mini hamburgers slider’s….kind of my own version of White Castle (which I don’t eat actually). The answer is Yes they can. Check out my picture of the little mini burgers aka “Gourmet White Castle” slider’s. Granted there looks to be too much bread though it is so soft and it squishes right down and didn’t seem to bread-y in relation to the meat. These mini hamburgers were so delicious we scarfed them down. Next time though I thought I should maybe trim a little bit of bread off the top of the buns. I used under 2 oz of ground beef for each little mini burger with a lot of chopped onions sauteed at the same time and a little square of TJ’s sliced cheddar cheese melted over the tops. OMG. We loved them. They were so yummy, we ate three little sliders each!

Try making these sliders with these rolls, or just make some little sandwiches with them. Yes they will improve even more with a little warm up in the oven or toaster oven, as it says on the package. Any cute little sandwiches made with these rolls will be great, so let your imagination run wild. I am really thinking smoked salmon, cream cheese and arugula would be very good.

$2.99 a bag (12 oz / 12 rolls)

MINI SLIDERS NO-RECIPE RECIPE: I weighed out the ground beef into little balls and made each about 1.5-2 oz each. I sauteed a whole chopped onion in a cast iron pan for 5 minutes in olive oil until translucent. I spread them around the pan and put the burgers on top. Turned up the heat to high, cooked one side then turned them after 3 minutes and topped with little squares of sliced cheddar. Heated the buns meanwhile in the oven. If you want less bread you can try to slice off a bit of the top of the bun. Serve immediately with your favorite sides. We served these with mashed potatoes and green peas. Naturally this mini burger thing would work using something other than ground beef such as ground turkey, chicken, meatless impossible burgers or even Soy Chorizo I would guess….

I bet you they will be a big hit as they were for us.

Trader Joe’s Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls

Here’s what the TJ website says:

“Light, fluffy, and perfect for sopping up all the leftover gravy goodness on your Thanksgiving plate, we love Trader Joe’s Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls because they’re both tasty and time-saving. They come loosely attached to one another in a convenient, three-by-four-roll rectangle, which can be pulled apart (hence the name) and eaten as-is, or given a quick warm-up in the oven just before serving. Their sweet, simple flavor profile and soft, easy-going texture pair brilliantly with a touch of Cranberry Sauce or a drag through a puddle of savory Turkey Flavored Gravy. And aside from their usefulness at the holiday dinner, proper, they also make a great base for sandwiches. Leftover turkey sliders anyone? We’re selling each 12-ounce bag of 12 Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls for $2.99, every day. Look for them on our bread racks.”

Trader Joe’s SLICED FRENCH BRIOCHE BREAD


“Buttery, moist and perfectly French”

This is a big Wow TJ product. I would even say it’s another of TJ’s so good you can’t stop eating it, products. SLICED FRENCH BRIOCHE bread is a big hit for Trader Joe’s, it’s a best seller year round and not for nothing. Almost anytime I go to TJ’s if I glance around the check- out line at customer’s carts, it’s almost a sure thing to see a few packages.

Sliced French Brioche is one of TJ’s most popular items. It is very soft, yellow and eggy, and slightly sweet. It comes in thick slices, about 1/2 inch thick. This French brioche is the real McCoy. It is imported and Made In France. 

Brioche (and Challah) are rich yeasted breads made with eggs and butter, yellow from the egg. This super soft bread is delicious as-is untoasted. Spread with some softened (French) butter or softened cream cheese. It makes great sandwiches. It is yummy, soft and delicious un-toasted but of course is equally wonderful TOASTED to a perfect golden brown, which may be the most delicious toast you will ever have. TIP: The Brioche can go from Perfect Golden Brown toast to Burnt toast in a few seconds, so keep a sharp eye on it as you toast it!

RECIPES? Wonderful Cinnamon Toast – Toast up some brioche. Put on good butter, sprinkle with ground cinnamon and some palm sugar. Yum!

FRENCH TOAST – Brioche as you may have read online naturally makes THE most amazing French Toast. You must try this next time you want French toast*. It will be moist and delicious and heavenly… A breakfast your family will beg you to make again and again. Its so soft you should ideally leave the bread out overnight to get a bit stale to hold up better but even if you don’t, and use it fresh, its great.

A package of TJ French Brioche is $3.99. Now in a local bakery, a brioche bread like this would be maybe $7? So for 4 bucks it’s as usual a great good TJ deal. One of these can get devoured easily, so I guess thats why I see folks buying it often two bags at a time. I keep it in the freezer, of course. It defrosts rapidly and stays super fresh frozen. TIP: If you want a thin slice of brioche you can cut it more easily frozen when its a bit stiff. Its easier to cut in half, though it’s a little tricky for perfect slices, and be careful of course. If cut in half you get a very thin slice. I find this good for some things, especially if you don’t want a super thick sandwich. For example cucumber sandwiches !  This brioche bread makes the most amazing cucumber sandwiches! Or make open face Scandinavian style things with this (salmon, cream cheese, dill, lemon….)

One note – be sure to peel off the little strip of paper it is baked in before eating !

One more thing – I saw a restaurant serving hamburgers on some brioche that looked very much like this. So I tried it. I made the hamburgers (1/4 lb) kind of square and not round. Toasted the Brioche. Cut in half before serving. Excellent (if a bit messy!)

RAVE

  • Need a recipe for French Toast? This is a nice one

https://www.fromvalerieskitchen.com/brioche-french-toast/

TJ recipe for Raspberry Ricotta Toast with sliced brioche

https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/4647

Trader Joe’s MINI HAMBURGER BUNS


(POSSIBLY DISCONTINUED ITEM)

Just in time for Memorial Day….I got some Trader Joe’s MINI HAMBURGER BUNS.

I love these. If you haven’t seen these before, they are just thing to make mini-hambugers or “sliders”.

Theses buns are very soft, eggy, yummy small buns, coated with sesame seeds on the top. They are the perfect size for making mini-burgers, which I prefer actually. Say 2-3 oz of meat in a mini burger / slider? You can eat one, maybe 2 of them.

These toast up very nicely. If you don’t want them toasted I would at least warm them a bit before serving, maybe 5 minutes in the oven/toaster oven.

They’re not only good for burgers but also for making any kind of small sandwiches of course! Ham and cheese, melted cheese, turkey, peanut butter and jelly… just about anything. Use your imagination. Or you could just serve them as dinner rolls. Anyhow, they’re good. A package of TJ’s Mini Hamburger Buns (8 buns) goes for $1.69. You can’t beat that.

RAVE
photo credit wikicommons by Praytino

TJ’s CINNAMON ROLL BREAD


TJ’s CINNAMON ROLL BREAD

The name of the bread is a wee bit of Hyperbole if you expect this to ooze like a Cinnabun. However this is very, very good raisin bread with lots of cinnamon flavor. I love this Cinnamon Bread. It’s another of my “Must Have Always on hand” things from TJ’s (yes there are so many of those). The package says it’s “ooey, gooey…” well,  its not really that ooey gooey it’s just a tiny bit gooey which is fine if you want to put this in your toaster…which you absolutely should!  While it’s not bad as is untoasted, to get the full potential, do toast this bread up as by toasting it, the heat brings out the maximum cinnamon and raisin flavors. Don’t they sell Cinnabuns just out of the oven for this reason, so the smell wafts in the air? This bread toasts up to yummy perfection, however be careful and keep your eye on it and don’t let it burn or you’ll be sorry. Its a fine line from perfectly toasted, to burnt toast, i mean a few seconds.

TIP 1: I go Full Monty Maximum Cinnamon… after its toasted, I put on some butter and a sprinkle of a wee bit more ground Cinnamon and Brown Sugar on it…Heavenly! Really try it.


To die for.

Or try: Cream Cheese instead. Cream Cheese and chopped Dates (or dried cranberries)!

Or just by itself with some butter. Even thats very good. You can’t go wrong with this excellent product at breakfast time. Your family will go nuts for it when they smell it. A 24 oz loaf goes for $3.49.

(UPDATE = WENT UP TO $3.79 since this was written)!

I would recommend you freeze the bread to keep it as fresh as possible, and take it out as you need it to toast it up.

TIP #2  Sunday I woke up thinking hey this would be great to make French Toast with. I made it. Yup. It was fantastic for French Toast! Try that yourself.

RAVE

 

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Trader Joe’s Organic French Baguette


I truly love a good, crispy authentic French Baguette and am always on the look out for a good one. In my search around NYC, I’ve bought and tried many a baguette from many bakeries around town, especially those I’ve seen listed as “Best in NYC”. While some are better than others, really almost none I thought lived up to the “Best Baguette” title (and lets face it compared to what you might buy at almost any bakery in Paris, we’re at a severe disadvantage).

The KAYSER baguette is actually “Best in NYC” IMO. THIS is what a baguette should taste like! I’m always amazed at how fantastic MAISON KAYSER’S breads are. Watch the video below with Maitre Eric. If you make bread you will understand one reason is they use a very long ferment time and special traditional “levain” which produces a far superior taste and structure. Not sure if they import flour from France or not… But if you are able to, if they have a bakery where you like, try a MAISON KAYSER baguette.  You too may have an “Aha!” moment, and learn that a really good Baguette is possible to make in the U.S. after all (link to Master Baker Eric Kayser in action on Youtube)

That said, as good as the bread is there, it does have a small drawback. Not only do you have to make a special trip there, MAISON KAYSER stuff, due to the quality, does not come cheap. A baguette from KAYSER commands a premium price, and I’ve seen many prices hikes. A baguette now sells for about 3.50 for a baguette and $3.50 for an  “Epi” baguette(EDIT: cost of a baguette there has creeped up every few months; a baguette is now a pretty steep $3.75 – AUG 2019) 

All of this leads me to so when I saw a “FRENCH BAGUETTE” at Trader Joe’s for $1.69 (in a brown/green bag) I thought let’s give this a try, frankly not expecting too much. This bread was pretty good, crispy, well baked. I’d even say it was on a par with many bakeries I’ve tried around NYC, albeit paying about double the price. I give the regular TJ French Baguette a “very good for the price”. But they have a better baguette there. Its the one in a WHITE BAG. Seek it out. So the day I tried the “OK baguette” from TJ, by coincidence the next day I happened to be there again and that day the Sample Station was serving samples of another baguette they sell: ORGANIC FRENCH BAGUETTE (come in a white bag). The sample they were giving out was a hunk of the organic baguette baked with cheese to super crispy (Wow, do they know how to feature a product! The store smelled amazing)

Now this baguette was another level higher. I confess I went back for seconds. The two bread packages look different : WHITE for the ORGANIC one (sealed in a heavy white paper bag). This one sells for $1.99. The other is in a BROWN & GREEN bag, and that is 30 cents less ($1.69). So why is the WHITE BAG baguette so much superior? Well it does say ORGANIC and as well as “ARTISAN STYLE“. The organic version is an improved version of the “normal” (non-organic) Baguette and is only 30 cents more.

The slightly more pricey ORGANIC BAGUETTE has a much more profound flavor plus a better, chewier interior texture or crumb (“la mie”, the interior of a bread). One reason is the bag states they use a 3-hour rise (fermentation) which I am guessing is probably twice or more as long as the regular baguette? Plus I’m betting the organic flour in this one is a better quality flour? In short, the extra 30 cents you will spend for the upgraded Baguette is well worth it. Buy the white packaged one. The only “downside” to it is this. ARTISAN ORGANIC FRENCH BAGUETTE is sold a bit under baked. The package states that you should bake this bread in a 400 degree oven for ten minutes for its full effect. If you don’t, its still not bad, but  you won’t really taste it at its prime and the way its intended to taste. It’s worth the time and effort.

In a hurry? In an pinch, at least toast some slices up under the broiler (or in a toaster oven). I’ve even toasted it up on the stovetop in a black cast iron pan. Its worth the trouble. If you take the time to bake this you will get an excellent baguette! While I can’t say the TJ Organic French Baguette is exactly the equal to one from Maison Keyser, its not terribly far away either. Its one of the better commercial baguettes I’ve bought, period. This especially tastes great if you eat it with some really good butter like TJ’s “CULTURED FRENCH BUTTER” or Kerrygold Irish butter  Good butter on this baguette still warm just out of the oven is amazing! Try it. Or do as TJ’s sample guy did and bake in some cheese. Ditto, amazing.

In summary, this baguette is another excellent product from Trader Joes. For $1.99 it’s an excellent value, and worth buying if you can find it. It seems to sell out quickly. I guess word has gotten out what how good and what a good value this baguette is.

 RAVE

Trader Joe’s Artisan Bagels


Trader Joe’s Artisan Bagels:

These were a fairly recent addition I noticed in TJ’s BREADS area. They looked promising and so I had to try them.

Now of course Trader Joe’s sells many other kinds of bagels. I’ve bought the “The Bagel Spinoza” (with that weird picture with ’it bagels the mind’ as the motto… huh?) a few times but frankly found  them to be seriously in the “Just OK”Department. As usual in many commercially factory made bagels, The Bagel Spinoza does not have anywhere near the real chewy texture and bite of the classic, true “New York Bagel”. Why? Well a real and true bagel is made by a rather unorthodox baking method of both, boiling and then baking it. Yes, you read that right…BOILING (bread). To make a true bagel, after the bagel is formed into the round shape which is best by hand, aka a ’Hand Rolled’ bagel, the raw dough is thrown into boiling water and first BOILED for a few minutes prior to being put in the oven and baked (sounds crazy maybe but seriously folks, that is exactly how real bagels are made).

This classic technique is what makes a real bagel very chewy on the inside and slightly crusty on the outside, and what makes a really good bagel taste and feel so good to bite into, and so damn bagel-y delicious. The dual cooking process gives bagels a unique combination of chewy interior plus baked exterior.

Trader Joe’s Artisanal Bagels look like true real NY bagels, and it boldly states on the rather attractively designed bag, both “Kettle Boiled” and “Hand Shaped”. Not to mention the golden words: “BAKED IN NYC – baked fresh daily”.  Naturally I had to try these babies. Guess what? They are damn fine, tasty bagels. Far better than your average store-bought bagels.

Personally unless I will be using them immediately, I usually freeze my bagels soon after buying them, cutting them in half  first (carefully of course!) so they are easier to handle and faster to defrost after being frozen. I generally tend to toast my bagels in the a.m, and these TJ real bagels make for an excellent toasted bagel. TJ’s Artisanal Bagels come 3 in a bag, and they sell for $1.99, at least in my area, NYC. They come in a few varieties. I liked the “Everything bagel” which has poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic,and onion. You should definitely try these if they are available in your area; I’m not sure since they are “Baked in NYC” if they ship all over the country, but if you see them, try them.

FROM THE PACKAGE:  “Made from scratch by experienced craftspeople, our Artisan Bagles are hand-rolled and kettle-boilded using the highest quality ingredients.  Master bagel makers spend hours preparing the dough, hand shaping each bagel, then kettle-boiling in small batches, never taking shortcuts that might shortchange quality.”

A RAVE

Nutritional Info: 1 bagel, 5 oz.= 370 calories

TJ’s Tuscan Pane bread


RAVE:

You will see this bread on many a “Trader Joe’s Top 10” and “best products” lists, and rightly so. I think its one of the best products they sell, by far the best packaged bread I’ve had, period. Its a very good, country style bread. Pretty sure this is a slow rise sourdough; its usually full of air holes. Its has a very nice chewy texture and a good crust, of course which is better heated. In fact it gets 10x better toasted or grilled. Tuscan Pane makes unbelievably good toast, and many a morning this bread toasted is what I crave at breakfast. Top the toast with butter, jam, cream cheese, cheese, veggies or just about anything and you have a little slice of toast heaven. One of my faves would be with cream cheese and tomato. Or brie with jam, warmed till the brie is a bit melty.

A large 27 oz. loaf of Tuscan Pane original “white” was until recently $2.29. It has gone up to $2.49 (All wheat products are up) The Whole Wheat version goes for $2.69. Flavorwise I think I prefer the original “white” one to the whole wheat one but the whole wheat is still good too if you prefer that. I usually always prefer to buy whole wheat breads, but this one, not really. Since first trying this, this is yet another TJ product I’ve been become totally hooked on. I must have Tuscan Pane on hand at all times now. I keep it in the freezer; it keeps well frozen at least a week or two.

This bread can be the base of many easy sandwich, snacks and other recipes (croutons? yes!) I make quick and easy Bruschettas using this all the time. Here’s a fast, simple recipe:

BRUSCHETTA

-TJ’s Tuscan Pane

-Fresh garlic, ripe tomato, olive oil

Grill or toast a few slices of bread. When golden brown, immediately rub a cut clove of garlic on the bread. Take a slice of ripe tomato and ’smush’ it into your toast. If you want to be neat, you can dice your tomato and top it (but rubbed in is authentic Italian or Basque Pa Amb Tomaquet style) Drizzle on a nice splash of olive oil, sprinkle with some fresh black pepper and sea salt. A little herbage (basil) on top can’t hurt, but if you don’t have, thats fine.  If you want something heartier, add some sliced or grated parmesan or other cheese or perhaps some prosciutto. Done. YUM!