REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Mixed Nut Butter

Who doesn’t love a good handful of mixed nuts?  Each reach inside of the jar or bowl is much like our buddy Gump would say and you “never know what you’re gonna get”.  Whether salty or sweet or straight up plain, mixed nuts earn praise from health freaks, beer guzzling bar goers, and those who just like a good crunch for their afternoon snack.  So why hasn’t anyone pulverized them all and shoved the mixture into a jar?  Welcome Trader Joe’s to the equation.  In addition to their already packed line of butters – from the heralded cookie to the classic peanut, TJ’s is now slangin’ Mixed Nut Butter, which combines dry roasted and salted almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and pecans into a gooey runny treat to spread up your life.

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The butter has an extremely smooth and creamy consistency.  Right after mixing and out of the jar it is thin, runny, and oily in a way that is tempting to want to drizzle it all over any and everything.  The texture is very unique – much similar in appearance and initial feeling to almond butter except not nearly as thick or grainy.  The primary flavors that come through are almond and cashew with some hints of pecans and brazil nuts.  I don’t specifically taste the hazelnuts, but I’m okay with that because they’re generally my least favorite and most astringent tasting in any mixed nut variety, and I can’t pinpoint the flavor of walnuts either.  The salt level is perfect – not so much that the butter tastes salty, but just enough that the spread pops and shines on its own to highlight the complexity of all the different components.

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After leaving the mixed butter in the fridge for a couple days I was surprised that it didn’t seize up and become firmer the way almost all other nut butters do.  It was slightly more together than when I first opened it but it stayed thin and runny enough that it could still be poured onto food (or into your mouth) straight from the jar.  After cooling I also noticed the pecan notes to be more pronounced, which isn’t a bad thing at all since they provide a great golden richness that amps up the overall flavor on this unique product.

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For the final test: the butter goes good on top of toast, but it doesn’t achieve the same ultimate magical combo with banana that peanut butter does.  I’ve always preferred peanut butter to all other types of nut butter, and while this mixed one is fun and well done, it doesn’t change my mind on which nut makes the champion butter.  It’s fun and tasty, but factoring in flavor, cost, and macros, I think I’ll stick with my one true nut butter love – the peanut.

Rating: 8/10

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REVIEW: Nuts ‘N More Chocolate Maple Pretzel

In my life peanut butter is a food group.  Whether it be smooth or crunchy, salted or unsalted, plain or flavored – peanut butter has a luxuriously addictive and delicious texture that I go to town on with just a spoon and a jar on a regular basis.  There comes a point in every PB-addicts life when reducing some of the fat and increasing the amount of protein simply makes sense, and it is with that mentality that brands like Nuts ’N More flourish – off of nut butter fiends seeking ways to justify their addiction.  At the end of last year I ordered one of the company’s newest flavors – Chocolate Maple Pretzel – and hoarded it until the moment was just right.  Well friends, the moment is now, and it feels (and hopefully tastes) oh so sweet.

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I guess it should come as no surprise that a product that combines three of my favorite flavors into one (put cinnamon in there and I might die) is tasty, but this nutty spread exceeded even my own expectations.  The aroma is spot on chocolate covered pretzel, with that salty sweetness accented by cocoa and rounded out beautifully by maple and yeast.  It’s like dunking your head into a bag of chocolate covered pretzels with just a drizzle of maple syrup on top, and it is divine.  The other Nuts ’N More spreads I’ve had have a kind of protein-y almost artificial peanut butter smell to them, and this one has none of that, which is really appealing.

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The flavor of this stuff is absolutely through the roof.  The peanut butter base has been perfectly integrated with chocolate chips that blended themselves into a smooth brown color as I mixed.  There are big chunks of actual pretzel that crunch and pop with salty explosions that set off the chocolate and peanut butter to brilliant new heights.  The use of real, gluten free pretzels is executed flawlessly, as they’ve maintained their texture and add a different kind of depth to this butter than any other I’ve had before, and they didn’t skimp on them either.  Maple is the least dominant of the flavors but it’s definitely present and its role is cherished, adding a little extra sweetness that enhances the bready flavor of the pretzels; and a little kiss of that Sunday morning magic that comes along with anything that registers “syrup” in my brain.

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Check out the pretzel sticks in there – my GOODNESS!

What’s most impressive about eating this spread is if I didn’t tell you there was some extra protein punch from whey you would have no idea because there is no fake flavor or grainy texture to be found.  The chocolate and maple do a tremendous job of masking any unpleasant or artificial notes that can come through in low sugar high protein products and the flavor is not only convincing but deliciously addictive for any flavored peanut butter.  It is without a doubt the best Nuts ’N More release I have tried and is up there with D’s Natural’s best Fluffbutter flavors in battling for the protein butter title.  This jar literally lasted me three days – I simply could not stop eating it.  It’s salty, it’s sweet, and dare I say I think it might be perfect.

Rating: 10/10

Quick Nutrition:
2 TBS – 182 Cals – 11g Fat – 9g Carbs – 2g Fiber – 2g Sugar 11g Protein – 138mg Sodium