Trader Joe’s Baked Jalapeño Cheese Crunchies

Trader Joe's Baked Jalapeño Cheese Crunchies
This morning I tried an Andy Capps Hot Fry for the first times since I got them from Pennfield Middle School’s vending machines in about seventh grade. Inexplicably, one of my coworkers bought a bag of them and was eating them as breakfast. It was only 8:20 a.m. I was intrigued by my coworker, who was normal and relatively healthy, as he munched on the biscuits. This was not the first time that I had seen this kind of breakfast. Six or seven years ago, I was in Pittsburgh to work as a summer camp counselor. One of the kids there would eat half-priced Flamin’ Hot Cheetos instead of the breakfast. Anyways, those are horrible. I found myself wishing I had some boss-bought chocolate chips to enjoy the taste of Andy Capps Hot Fry.

And right around then, I remembered why I like TJ’s Baked Jalapeño Cheese Crunchies so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I love hot, spicy stuff. Any survivors of my death chili can attest that. The results of trying to make crunchy snacks out of it, such as the Flamin’ Cheetos and Capp fries, are often not very good. Instead of heat, they are just too salty with red junk, or worse, blasted in vinegary crap. I don’t have to eat this stuff and it doesn’t make me feel bad.

TJ’s crunchy men do the job well. The smallish jalapeño bits add just enough heat to be noticeable without trying to assault the tastebuds. Some bits are stronger than others, but the overall flavor is balanced. They’d be suitable for most tastes heatwise. This is one of the main strengths of these products. It is easy to make a dish too spicy or too mild and alienate your audience. It’s harder to strike the right balance. This is what Trader Joe does. As far as other flavor goes, it seems they opt to feature the jalapeño more than whatever type of cheese is on there, so if you’re expecting a Cheeto clone in this regard, well, you may be disappointed. They’re almost identical to Cheetos in appearance and texture, so it’s easy to eat more than you intended. They don’t leave behind any fake orangey dusty residue that you have to clean off or spread all over your papers later. They’re just a decent, honest, crunchy and semi-hot snack.

Sandy and me like them a lot, and we eat them quite often. They are healthier than chips, and still taste good. We’ll continue to buy anything that tastes good, is healthyish, or at least healthier than the alternative without sacrificing quality and goodness. We do it that way.

Sandy was a simple answer to my question about her rating. She said, “Mmmmm …..” four.” It seems to be a highly rated rating. It would be nice if the cheese flavor were stronger. However, they are good enough that you don’t have to quibble.

Bottom line: 8 out 10 Golden Spoons