REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

My first name is Sean, and my last name is Skillet, but my middle name may as well be “SweetSalty” for how much I really love that combination. Opposing flavors that can compliment each other AND make one another greater is a thing of true beauty, and I’ll take sweet and salty in my breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Understanding this wonderful yin and yang of tastebuds, Trader Joe’s are helping me amp up my S&S at snack time too, with their new Sweet and Salty Granola Bars, which they describe as a nutty granola bar dipped in almond butter and Greek yogurt coating.

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This bar is fairly straight forward but very well executed. The saltiness is just enough to warrant the “salty” part of the title, and isn’t overwhelming but comes through in small bursts of little salt crystals evenly distributed throughout bites. They aren’t big and crunchy like sea salt but stand out more than your average table salt mixed into a recipe for balance. The sweetness comes through in the Greek yogurt layer and is a different and refreshing spin, rather than raisins or some other form of squishy sugary burst.

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The mixture of crisped rice, whole oats, wheat flakes, and whole almonds gives a great chewy texture with pockets of crunch and a slightly golden flavor that reminds me of graham crackers. The graham-y-ness is accentuated once again by the Greek yogurt with some tasty vanilla notes and a great soft sweet and salty profile without the aggressive use of chocolate or caramel or another decadent flavor you’ll often find in S&S. The almonds help liven up the bites and add small pockets of fattiness that keep all of the components in check and interesting from beginning to end.

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The prominent finishing note on the bar is almond butter, and it’s a really nice way to seal the deal. The smooth creamy butter flavor enhances the presence of the actual almonds and has just the right amount of fatty flavor to keep it more interesting than your average granola bar. The ingredient list has not only almond but peanut and cashew butter, and while those butters aren’t super apparent there’s a depth to the richness that is great and much more complex than I was anticipating. Overall these little bars surprised me – sweet enough to go with a nice cup of coffee but not so sweet that they feel like candy. If sweet and salty is your thing, let these push your little impulse purchase button the next time you’re in line at TJ’s.

Rating: 8/10
Found at: Trader Joe’s ($2.99)

REVIEW: Chobani Flip Carrot Cake Creation

Chobani aren’t my favorite yogurt company (shoutout Fage, Yoplait, and Danon), but they definitely deserve credit for being creative and pushing the Greek yogurt trend into new directions on the regular.  Their latest line of “flip” creations includes Carrot Cake, which combines sweet carrot low fat yogurt with cinnamon glazed cake pieces, walnuts, and creamy white chocolate chunks; which will hopefully taste like a melted piece of the classic spring time spice treat packed with protein.


The combination of the natural tang from the Greek yogurt and the white chocolate chunks definitely reminds me of cream cheese frosting, and more convincingly nails the cake icing aspect in a non-cake product than most I’ve had.  The cake notes are driven into hyper speed with the cinnamon glazed cake pieces which give lots of sweetness and a little crunch that once again give my taste buds those real deal cake vibes, despite not having a huge amount of cinnamon pop.  There aren’t a tremendous amount of walnuts, so while there’s a little bit of nutty crunch there wasn’t much walnut flavor that came through the more dominant tart and sweet yogurt.

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The two biggest issues with this flip are the lack of spice and lack of carrot, which are two pretty big ones if you’re trying to make me think I’m eating the Easter bunny’s favorite cake.  The sweet carrot yogurt is much more sweet than it is carrot, which I could let slide, but there also isn’t a tremendous amount of spicy kick either.  In actual carrot cake the carrots serve as a sweet mellow backdrop to some aggressive spices and there’s no spicy aggression to be found.  Don’t get me wrong, there is some cinnamon here, but the cinna-demon deep within me is left unsatisfied. There’s more of a sweet, almost citrusy flavor that hovers over a mellow cinnamon, so the overall experience of carrot cake doesn’t really register.  It’s not a bad flavor but it also doesn’t warrant a repeat purchase, and I remain relatively underwhelmed by the Chobani Flip series.

Rating: 6.5/10