REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies

Trader Joe’s is not into the whole brevity thing. They like looooong product names. Trader Joe’s And The Astounding Multi-Flavored Joe-Joe’sTrader Joe’s Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls, Trader Joe’s Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Want To Learn How To Do Other Stuff Good Too. They’re continuing that tradition with today’s review: Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies.

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Spoiler alert: coconut cookies, in this case, are the same thing as macaroons. I’m not sure why they didn’t just call em Salted Caramel Macaroons. Maybe they thought people would be confused because the words macaroon and macaron look so similar? Either way, this is definitely a classic macaroon–that yummy, stiff, chewy coconut ball that old people seem to like a lot. Because I am an 80-year old trapped in a slightly younger person’s body, I also love macaroons. And since salted caramel is my all-time favorite trend, I was thrilled to see these on TJ’s shelves.

One is delicious coconut glue. The other is French.

One is delicious coconut glue. The other is French.

Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies are tiny, but I think that’s smart. Coconut and caramel are two super rich and heavy flavors with a high fat content, so you don’t really want to pop a whole bunch in one sitting. They’re better in small doses. Taking them out of the packaging, they smell amazing: the super sweet, silky, creamy coconut notes are immediately present. Bonus: they look pretty enough that you could probably serve them on some sort of grown-up tray and impress your grandparents.

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It turns out that hotel beds make great backdrops.

Biting into one is pleasant but a bit disappointing. They nail the basic macaroon recipe; it’s exactly what the coconutty chewiness should be. I couldn’t taste any caramel at all though, much less the nuanced flavor of salted caramel. And since they are so tiny, it’s all over before you can really try to pinpoint anything. I ate two (the recommended serving size) then six more (oh god) and I never got more than the faintest hint of caramel. Also, if you’ll allow me to be super nitpicky, I think the word “cookie” implies that there will be some sort of crunch or textural change throughout (kind of like a Samoa). But this is just a classic macaroon, with no real cookie element. I would’ve been delighted to experience some Twix-like cookie crunch action up in here.

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I thought coconut and caramel would be the perfect pairing because the flavors are so intense and flavorful, and because Samoa’s are proof that God loves us and wants to be happy. But, I think the coconut here is too overpowering and the caramel is either too light in quality or too light in quantity. A heavier, chewier caramel or just dunking the whole thing in caramel might have made this more successful. As it stands, though, I’d recommend skipping Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies and just getting regular macaroons–they’ll taste the same, and you can eat more without the added caramel calories. Or, let’s be serious, just get some Samoas. That’s all anyone should ever be eating anyway.

Samoas Rating: 9.5 out of 10
How Much I Wish I Was Eating A Samoa Rating: 10 out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

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