I Tried These Popular New Trader Joe's Summer Treats and Here's What I Recommend
Like this summer's heat wave, the latest Trader Joe's product releases have been notably hot. And it seems as though with each new season, another ice cream invention comes into the fold. This past spring was all about zesty notes of citrus with When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Ice Cream. This time, the crew whipped up two standout ice cream desserts for customers' delight: Horchata Inspired Ice Cream and Blueberry Dream Frozen Dessert Bars. And they both have one thing in common—these frozen concoctions are flying off the shelves.
I picked up both ice creams one day from my local Trader Joe's, and on my next visit a week later, both items had – poof! – disappeared from the ice cream section. From the looks of it, they should be restocked for the next few weeks, but they are available for a limited time, so don't count on them lasting past this summer.
But in case you're wondering whether it'd be worth enduring the heartbreak of loving and leaving these special releases, we tried both, and the answer is a bittersweet yes. Here's the delicious (and nutritious) lowdown on these frozen treats. So if you see either of them in store, thank the Trader Joe's gods and stash it in your cart while you still can. You'll thank us later.
Horchata Inspired Ice Cream
When I checked out at the register with this ice cream, the crew member told me, "The horchata is supposed to be amazing!" Apparently, the cartons had recently come back into stock, but there were only about four left at my nearby store. If popularity was any indication, I was prepared to have the best bowl of ice cream of my life.
Although horchata is dairy-free in its traditional form, this ice cream is not (sorry, non-dairy eaters.) According to Trader Joe's Instagram announcement at the end of June, the frosty treat was crafted with a few twists: "a classic dairy, egg, & sugar base, then add brown rice flour, cinnamon, & sea salt to imbue it with its heavenly, horchata flavor."
As for the eating experience, I have to start with a small disclaimer. I tend to have a lower sweetness tolerance than most—which is the reason I was excited about this light, refreshing rice milk drink-turned-ice cream. That said, I found the Horchata Inspired Ice Cream to be quite rich and syrupy. The serving size, one-third of the carton, is marked at 29 grams of sugar, but my small scoop tasted like it could've been sweeter than that. Regardless, if you have a sweet tooth, you won't have the same issue.
Overall, on my first try, I was kind of underwhelmed. That sounds like blasphemy from a diehard Trader Joe's shopper, but this tasted almost like a regular vanilla ice cream with a few bells and whistles. While the cinnamon and hints of rice flour steered this closer into horchata territory, I felt like I could make this myself. The one high note is the chewy cookie bits generously incorporated throughout. I loved the contrast in texture whenever I'd come across a chunk of horchata cookie. It makes this dessert a lot more exciting.
However, on my second attempt, I figured out a way to truly enjoy this, thanks to this comment on Trader Joe's Instagram post. "This would make amazing affogatos I bet," said @nonchalost.
Blueberry Dream Frozen Dessert Bars
Trader Joe's announced their Blueberry Dream Frozen Dessert Bars at the beginning of July, and there were no fewer heart-eyes emoji reactions to this product drop.
It's easy to see why. At first glance, this dessert looks uniquely spectacular. Each bar has a too-pretty-to-eat medium-violet hue that gives the impression that the ingredients in it are natural, without overly processed, artificial additives.
And that's fairly true—the list on its product page shows that the main ingredients are ice cream, blueberries, cane sugar, and blueberry juice. It does have some additives commonly found in most ice creams, like guar gum and carrageenan, emulsifiers which studies have found can be harmful in large quantities to those with gut health concerns. But for everyone else, they're fine in moderation.
When considering the nutrition profile of sweets, you never expect the sugar content to be reasonable. But surprisingly, this dessert isn't too guilt-inducing. It falls into minor-indulgence territory, with about 23 grams of added sugar per bar.
When I finally took one out to try, I could see how they held up to their name. This really was a dream to eat, and of the two desserts, this one was my favorite. In true Trader Joe's fashion, these ice cream bars felt more high-quality than something you should be able to get at the grocery store. It was almost more like a cream-based paleta with an emphasis on fresh fruit, rather than a regular ice cream bar. And they were only $3.49 for a box of four bars.
One prerequisite for enjoying these bars is that you must love blueberries because this dessert is packed to the brim with them. From the first taste of this creamy bar, you're immediately enveloped in a blueberry haze, mixed with cream and met with thawed pieces of berry. It also wasn't too sweet. The full creaminess of the ice cream made for a nice, delicate counterbalance. And of course, the blueberry bits added fun variety and texture.
Final verdict? I wish Trader Joe's would carry the Blueberry Dream Frozen Dessert Bars year-round. It's unlike any ice cream bar they've had before, and they're bound to sell out this summer. But the seasonality means you're getting the freshest blueberries, making for an even more delectable product. If you can get your hands on this, consider buying an extra for when you inevitably reach into an empty box with a hankering for another.
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