The Underrated Trader Joe’s Ingredient That Makes the Best Little Treat

updated Jan 15, 2021
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Admittedly, coconut isn’t for everyone. I’m not normally a coconut-lover either, but Trader Joe’s Organic Unsweetened Coconut Chips have their hooks in me. While they’re called chips, they’re actually shavings — little crescent moons of coconut that whisper, “Everything is going to be okay.”

What I love most about them is that they don’t taste like cardboard the way other coconut flakes do. How’s that for a rave? At $1.99, for an 8-ounce bag, I can justify our family’s consumption habits. (If you don’t live near a TJ’s, you can also buy them on Amazon … for a premium.) Truly, this tropical treat is better than its counterparts in so many ways: crisp and smooth, with just the right hit of sweetness. 

Credit: Lisa Lombardi

I started buying these flakes for my son Gus, and now we fight over the bag. I sprinkle them like pixie dust over overnight oats, yogurt parfaits, and grain bowls to transform them into something slightly yummier. While the flakes are wonderful straight out of the bag, they are also great toasted and tossed into homemade granola and baked goods like muffins and cakes. I’ve even taken to adding TJ’s organic coconut chips to our evening grazing boards for a supremely satisfying pre-dinner snack. 

These zero-added-sugar flakes have only ingredient: organic coconut. (Note: All dried fruit contains natural sugar. These organic chips have 2 grams per 1/4 cup.) My favorite time for a tryst with this little treat is in the afternoon. If I’m in Zoom hell at 3:30 — filled with longing to feel something, anything — I make my move. I’ve been known to dart into the kitchen between meetings, reach into the chocolate chip and coconut bags in our pantry and mix the two in my palm. It’s a quickie that only I need to know about. 

One night, when nobody was around, I even melted some dark chocolate chips, toasted the coconut, and turned the combo into a gooey bowl of perfection. Let’s call it a molten Mars Bar because that sounds better than what it was: a sticky, amazing mess.

Don’t get me wrong: These chips are delicious on “virtuous” things like grain bowls, breakfast parfaits, and salads, but I find, these days, I like them best when mixed with chocolate. Yes, that does make them a bit indulgent. But you know …

Do you have a favorite unexpected treat at Trader Joe’s?