Major excitement ensued last week when a friend said someone had mentioned on Facebook that Trader Joe’s now has Gluten-Free Joe-Joe’s. A quick phone call confirmed that indeed, Gluten-Free Joe-Joe’s had arrived earlier that very same day. Off across town I went to find these cookies…
I should explain the excitement. See, I’m not a huge fan of Oreo-like cookies but I will eat them. It’s my favorite fella that causes such a commotion about chocolate sandwich cookies. Ever since his first trip to a Trader Joe’s on the West coast several years ago, he has had a Joe-Joe obsession. “These are so much better than Oreos,” he tells me. “See the vanilla flecks in the cream filling?” During the holidays, he has paid to have boxes of Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s shipped here. The problem is that we try to keep our kitchen gluten-free so any Joe-Joe’s that he eats are kept in the basement, like some sort of illicit substance that must be secretly consumed under cloak of darkness.
So a Gluten-Free Joe-Joe could be a great solution. He could eat cookies with wild abandon in the kitchen, I wouldn’t have to worry about cross contamination. But how would these stack up?
Well, they certainly aren’t the same as regular, gluten-full Joe-Joe’s but they are a good sandwich cookie. The vanilla bean specks are present in the filling. The big difference for me is that the gluten-free version contains eggs. While I do eat eggs, I’d much prefer not to eat eggs that come from chickens I’ve not met. (I know, I’ve got issues, but I really like the idea of only eating eggs from hens that are happy.) The regular version of Joe-Joe’s is free of both dairy and eggs, the gluten-free version is only dairy-free. The cookies are crispy and they get paste-y in your mouth just like any chocolate sandwich cookie. As for comparing them to other gluten-free sandwich cookies, they are just as good as any I’ve tried and at $4 a box, a pretty good deal.
Sometimes it’s possible to figure out who is manufacturing products sold at Trader Joe’s. The gluten-free JoeJoes are manufactured in Canada but the ingredient list doesn’t match up with any of the gluten-free sandwich cookie brands I could locate in my area. If you’ve got a guess as to who is making them, I’d love to hear it!
Here’s a quick snap of the ingredient label:
While at Trader Joe’s to buy the gluten-free JoeJoes, I bought a selection of gluten-free cookies from their current offerings. They have a good sized collection of gluten-free cookies!
First up, a tried-and-true favorite for me. Gluten-Free Gingersnaps. I’ve seen these at Trader Joe’s as long as I’ve been shopping there. Crunchy with just the right amount of ginger. I like using these for pumpkin cheesecake crust.
Next, a cookie I had never tried before: Iced Lemon Rounds. I found these in the bakery area, where loaves of bread are kept. There are seven soft cookies in the clamshell case. These contain milk and eggs. The flours used in the cookies include brown rice flour, potato starch, white rice flour and almond flour. They are lemon-y without having an excess of pucker power.
Up next, the Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles. This cookie is free of the top 8 allergens. It reminds me of the Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle. Hmmm…. There are 12 little cookies in the box and they are very soft. For someone concerned with how a gluten-free product is manufactured, these cookies would be high on my recommended list. While none of the cookies offered at Trader Joe’s claim to be made in a gluten-free environment or are certified gluten-free, this cookie is the one that I would guess could be made in a gluten-free facility.*
Last on my cookie adventure is the Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookie. These come 14 to a package and they are exactly as described, crispy and crunchy. Not for everyone, they contain dairy, eggs and soy. These had disappeared from my local Trader Joe’s for awhile but reappeared recently.
I did buy one more gluten-free item while at Trader Joe’s, the gluten-free Chocolate Chip Brownies. They come two to a package and like the Iced Lemon Rounds, are found near loaves of bread. They contain milk, eggs and soy. The package does clearly say though that they are made in a wheat, peanut and tree nut free facility. I didn’t eat this, my favorite fella did. He said they were soft on the inside with a bit of that crunchy exterior he likes in a brownie. I’ve got nothing else on this except that they looked good and were intact in the packaging. When I first went gluten-free, it was pretty typical to see crumbles of what was once a cookie or a brownie on store shelves. These brownies were in one piece, as were the other cookies sampled for this post.
So there you have it, a look at the new Gluten-Free Joe-Joe’s and other gluten-free cookies from Trader Joe’s. I’m excited to hear what y’all think of these, too.
*Trader Joe’s labels many products with a “g” symbol, indicating no gluten ingredients were used. I have only located one product in their stores that contains information on the label regarding whether or not the manufacturing facility is gluten-free. That would be the gluten-free Chocolate Chip Brownies. Please take this into consideration when indulging in any products, at Trader Joe’s or otherwise. Just because a product is labeled gluten-free does not mean that it has not been subject to cross contamination. I hope one day there will be labeling standards so we know that a product is indeed gluten-free and has been tested so we know for certain it is safe to eat.
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Kelly Szala says
I took a class with you where you stated that you buy almond flour that is ground finely….can you tell me where you guys it?
Hi Kelly! The finest almond flour I use it what I buy from Honeyville.com. Thanks for asking!
This is so exciting. Would you possibly be able to post a photo of the ingredient list for the GF JoeJoe’s?
I’m going to modify the post right now with a photo of the ingredient label, Desiree. Thanks for asking!
I guess it’s possible I may be lacking every detail on this, but this article makes it sound like wheat is poison, like arsenic, or cyanide? I am well aware that the best diet is likely the one proven by millions of years of evolution, that being hight fat meats and lots of veggies with maybe 10% carbs, low salt and very low sugar. But “cross contamination”? Really? Is it possible we are being a bit obsessive? There have been thousands of generations of healthy humans well after wheat and related grain food consumption. (Forgive me if you have an acute allergy). “In Mesopotamia (Ancient Iraq), early evidence of beer is a 3900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, which contains the oldest surviving beer recipe, describing the production of beer from barley via bread.” I’m not looking to be disagreeable, but I am just trying to find out where the venom comes from with this Gluten crusade….
Thanks for dropping by Ehrin. I’m not a member of any crusade, I have Celiac disease. Cross-contamination is a serious issue for me. While I know some are eating a gluten-free diet because it is trendy, that’s not why I eat gluten-free. It’s medically necessary for me.
Whoops I responded to your post without reading your homepage first. My bad! Damn iPhone…it’s like having blinders on. Especially with this new iOS. Cheers and keep cooking.
Kayte CookWatts says
Thanks so much for this post. I just tried g-free chocolate cupcakes at TJS after a not so pleasant experience with a local company’s double chocolate cookies(that didn’t taste one bit like chocolate?!) I was fearing that all gluten free goods were going to be dismal. Not so!
I’m so glad you’re discovered tasty gluten-free goodies, Kayte! If you enjoy baking, you might enjoy My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes on this site. It’s a wonderful cupcake recipe that fools gluten eaters often.
Johnna, I just heard a Trader Joes is comming to my town and am sooo excited I am extremely allergic to gluten and have been diagnosed with celiac disease years ago. It remains a dietary challenge and many foods claiming to be Gluten Free present a reaction to my system. I thought the FDA WAS ENFORCING ALL PRODUCTS TO BE LABLED WITH A CERTAIN MICROGRAM ALLOWANCE RESTRICTION TO BE CLASSIFIED AS TRUELY GF AND THAT AMOUNT WAS MUCH LOWER THAN BEFORE. i THOUGHT THIS WAS TO BE COMPLETED BY THIS YEARS END . i ALSO KNOW THAT THERE ARE TRIAL STUDIES THAT ARE WORKING ON MEDICATION TO HELP CELIACS BE LESS SYMPTOMATIC TO GLUTEN. THE NATURE OF THE RESEARCH IS NOT TO CURE THE DISEASE BUT HELP IN LESSONING THE GAS, BLOATING AND “RUNS” BY HELPING THE CELLS PERMEABILITY TO INTERACT WITH THE GLUTEN SO SYMPTOMS AND IRRITATION TO THE BOWEL ARE SIGNIFICANTLY LESSONED . THE STUDY IS TO BE COMPLETED AROUND 2017 AND i BELIEVE IT IS BEING CONDUCTED IN AUSTRALIA . HAVE YOU ANY INFO ABOUT THIS?? WELL, EVEN IF THIS COMES TO BE , THE US FDA WILL THEN HAVE A TRIAL AND THAT WILL BE MORE YEARS TO WAIT . DO SAY!! BUT THERE IS HOPE. OH, DO YOU HAVE A GLUTEN FREE JELLO RECIPE ? OR KNOW WHERE i CAN GET A BOX MIX ?? THANKS, SUSAN
Thanks for your comment, Susan. The medication you mentioned may be from Immusant? It is still in testing. There is more info at http://www.immusant.com. And yes, you are correct that FDA labeling standards go into effect later this year. Here is some info on that: http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/allergens/ucm362510.htm As for jello, I don’t eat jello since I eat a plant-based diet and gelatin is an animal product. That said, I have never heard of jello containing gluten. You might want to inquire with a gluten-free food writer who consumes gelatin. They would be a better resource than me on this one. 🙂
kosher gelatine is animal free
Kosher gelatin is NOT animal free. Kosher gelatin may come from cows that were slaughtered by a shochet or it may come from fish. If your concern is regarding gelatin being vegan, it is not. Common substitutes would be agar agar or Irish moss (carrageenan).
Thanks for this. I just picked up some Gluten-free Joe-Joe’s for the kiddos as i have a gluten-free kitchen and wanted to try to get them a treat but didn’t dare try them myself. In the past, I have reacted to so many things from Trader Joe’s that I pretty much stick with meat and produce from them (one time the SALAD bags were cross-contaminated in facilities with wheat and that was a dismal day). So finding out that the brownies might be safe is exciting. But at this point it’s unlikely I’ll be consuming anything other than homemade treats.
Recently my TJ’s crew members told me ‘oh you’re one of the SERIOUS people- well we’re about to start labeling for you!’ which i want to believe, but do you know if they’re labeling more carefully now?
for myself, on gf facilities. i have had to call and check on products after getting sick from minor cross contamination that they said was highly unlikely, but losing a few weeks of my life to getting sick was just not worth it anymore. so unless it’s certified GF or in a dedicated GF facility, it’s not on my personal list.
I’ve noticed some labeling changes lately at TJs, including the voluntary “processed in a facility with…” statements being added to items that did not have it as recently as six months ago. With the addition of their new gluten-free bread offerings, I think they see the importance. I also am relatively certain some of their gluten-free items such as JoeJoes and the soft snickerdoodles are made by recognized leaders in the gluten-free food industry. Hopefully clear labeling will make shopping there easier for folks like you and me!