Say it ain’t so, Joe’s!

Breaking up is hard to do.

Just ask all of us here at King Arthur Flour. We’re suffering the heartbreak of a broken relationship.

We’ll survive. Everyone does. And someday we’ll think back on this time with fond nostalgia.

But right now, it hurts.

A number of years ago, when King Arthur Flour wasn’t a widely known national brand, we joined forces with a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time grocery chain. It was a match made in heaven. We needed distribution in other areas of the country; Trader Joe’s needed a quality flour to anchor their baking aisle. We started a business relationship.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

King Arthur Flour, thanks in part to our exposure in Trader Joe’s, is now available at supermarkets across the land. Wherever you live, there’s a market selling King Arthur Flour somewhere fairly close by.

And Trader Joe’s has become a major player in the specialty grocery trade, with over 300 stores in 25 states, including the District of Columbia.

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Trader Joe’s mission has always been to offer as many TJ’s branded products as possible. And now they’re ready to offer their own flour. So soon, you’ll see Trader Joe’s flour on the shelves at TJ’s, not King Arthur Flour.

Our long relationship is ending.

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Oh, I’ll still travel 3 ½ hours to visit my favorite TJ’s: from Hanover, N.H. to Hanover, Mass. (note the top of the sales slip).

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I mean, how can I get along without my TJ’s peanut butter and sweet corn salsa? My husband loves their soy milk; I enjoy the “everything” crackers every day, and regularly chip off chunks from their PoundPlus dark chocolate bar with almonds. The masala sauce? Instant curry dinner.

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What can I say? TJ’s will still be my cup (thermos) of tea.

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And yeah, I’ll still use their colorful bag to haul my books back and forth to the library.

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Recently, reader Julia Tien sent me a box of TJ goodies, with hopes I’d clone some of them. Julia, like me, is part of that baking community subset that lives by the mantra, “Hey, bet I can make that at home!”

So turn about is fair play. If Trader Joe’s is going to put out their own brand of flour, then by gosh, I’m going to put out my own brand of one of their most popular cookies (and a personal favorite): Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s, Oreo clones with a sassy pink peppermint cream filling. Made with King Arthur Flour, of course.

Is this a shameless plug for King Arthur Flour? You betcha. Flour is our business; we know how to buy the best wheat, then mill it into flour that’ll yield consistent great results, year after year… in fact, century after century, since we’ve been in this business since 1790.

Oh, and by the way: since King Arthur Flour is owned by its employees, I do have that extra bit of brand loyalty. I know that the work I do here not only benefits millions of bakers, but helps strengthen one of America’s oldest businesses; and provides a solid, steady job for over 150 of my fellow employee-owners right here in Vermont.

And in these sobering economic times, that’s comforting.

Just like these cookies: Joe-Reos, a.k.a. Faux-Reos.

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Let’s start with a key ingredient, black cocoa. What is black cocoa, anyway? It’s not any particular strain of cacao bean; it’s simply a result of the way the cocoa was processed. In order to make Dutch-process cocoa, unsweetened baking cocoa is treated with an alkali to raise its pH, thus making it less acidic. This lack of acidity translates into a darker color, and increased flavor. It’s like adding a bit of sugar or baking soda to tomato sauce, to allow tomato’s true flavor to shine through. So black cocoa is a Dutch-process cocoa whose pH is slightly higher than the norm, thus making it darker in color.

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That’s black cocoa on the right, and our Double Dutch Dutch-process on the left; see the difference? We don’t recommend using black cocoa on its own in most recipes; it’s usually better mixed with some regular Dutch-process. But in these dark Oreo-type cookies, it’s just right.

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Let’s start by combining sugar, butter, salt, and espresso powder.

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Mix till smooth. This isn’t smooth.

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THIS is smooth.

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Combine a large egg, water, and vanilla…

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…and add to the butter mixture.

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Beat till smooth.

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Add flour (King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose, or white whole wheat), and black cocoa.

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Mix till well combined. Notice the flecks of bran from the whole wheat flour.

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Scrape down the sides of the bowl…

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…and continue beating. The bran flecks should just about disappear.

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Use a leveled-off teaspoon cookie scoop to scoop dough; this actually yields about 2 level measuring teaspoons of dough. So why do we call it a teaspoon cookie scoop? Because it matches the size of a tableware-type teaspoon (rather than a measuring teaspoon) traditionally used to drop dough onto cookie sheets.

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Place dough balls on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten to about 1/4” thick. I’m using the pusher from our Cuisinart food processor here.

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Dip it in cocoa to prevent the dough from sticking. It’ll leave a circular pattern in the dough, which will (sadly) disappear during baking. So much for an Oreo-like design on the cookies…

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Bake the cookies in a 325°F oven till they’re set and you can start to smell the chocolate.

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They’ll take about 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan.

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While the cookies are baking and cooling, make the filling. For peppermint Joe-Reos, start with about 6 regular-sized candy canes (or about 3 ounces of hard peppermint candy).

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Process the candy and confectioners’ sugar till the candy is finely ground.

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Add vegetable shortening, mixing till crumbly. Can you substitute butter? Of course. It won’t taste the same, and will be a slightly stiffer texture, but go for it if you like.

Right here, in the midst of this post, I’d like to take the opportunity to tell you, dear readers, that you should feel free to make ANY changes you like to these recipes. You don’t need my permission—honest. Don’t like peppermint? Leave it out. Don’t use shortening? Substitute butter. Want a lower-fat filling, a caffeine-free cookie, or something non-gluten? Uh, maybe you should choose another recipe…?

My point is, I can’t predict and test every variation of every recipe that you imaginative bakers out there come up with. If it sounds reasonable—go for it, and let us know how it works. Understand that your substitute probably won’t yield the result shown here. It may be better; it’ll certainly be different. Just relax, and have fun. There are no failures in baking; just alternative paths.

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Add enough water (about 2 tablespoons) to make a stiff-yet-spreadable icing.

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Scoop out about 2 heaping teaspoons—yes, there’s that handy teaspoon cookie scoop again.

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Place on the underside of one cookie…

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…and sandwich with another, pressing down firmly to spread the filling to the edges.

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And here we are: Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s (on the left), and Joe-Reos (on the right).

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Check out the filling; Joe-Joe’s on the left, Joe-Reos on the right.

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Yes, you CAN “private-label” Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s!

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Joe-Reos on the left; Faux-Reos (no peppermint) on the right.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Joe-Reos (Faux-Reos).

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s, 16¢/ounce

Bake at home: Peppermint Joe-Reos, 12¢/ounce

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Lisa

    Oh dear – how sad! I’ll have to go elsewhere to get my KA flour now. Much as I love TJs, this is one area where the house brand will not be my choice!

    I agree on the Masala simmer sauce, BTW – it’s one of our staples that even my 10 y.o. enjoys.

    Thanks so much for your loyalty, Lisa! PJH

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  2. Stacey

    So sad. I bought my KA flour there. I had seen it less and less and now I know why. (Sniff). Love the blog and the recipe for the peppermint cookies. Those are my favorite joe-joe’s. During the holidays they had them dipped in chocolate!

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  3. Penny

    Well, it’s Trader Joe’s loss! I can still get my favorite flour at Fred Meyer’s here in Portland. I’ll still go to TJ’s too but some things just don’t stay the same!

    THANK YOU PENNY! For recognizing the value of a CONSISTENTLY good bag of flour… PJH

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  4. ChrisC

    Being a biochemist, I have to point out that in your comment about how cocoa is treated with an alkali, you mention the alkali lowers the pH and makes it less acidic. The alkali actually RAISES the pH of the cocoa. Low pH is acidic. High pH is basic (more alkali).

    And TJs is no longer going to be selling KA flour? That doesn’t make me happy. Like you, I love my Trader Joe’s — and buying KA flour there saved me a trip to my local Smart N Final.

    Darn, Chris – you caught me! I was waffling back and forth with that pH thing and, I admit, too LAZY to go look it up. I’m changing it right now – thanks really, I hate to look like a dum-dum!! Yeah, we’re bummed they’re dropping us, but it’s always been their goal to private label as much as they can. I think they’ll find it’s not easy to get a good, consistent bag of flour season after season, year after year. It takes a ton of diligence – with the farmers, and the mills. But I wish them luck, they’re a good outfit. – PJH

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  5. Emily

    Looks yummy! I’ll have to try them! I too shop at the Hanover, MA TJ’s and have to say that the Cambridge and Brookline TJ’s are wayyyy better. Much more crowded but they have much more selection and beer and wine too!

    Ah, but Hanover is right off the expressway… and since I’m usually visiting Scituate and Hingham at the same time, the most convenient. Maybe I’ll go to one of the “big” TJ’s sometime, though – PJH

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  6. Chiara

    I am surprised to see that the recipe calls for ALL black cocoa. I have been using KAF’s black cocoa for years–it’s my secret ingredient for bumping up the the chocolate in chocolate recipes. But I thought KAF recommended replacing 1 or 2 tbs. black cocoa for an equal amount of regular cocoa, rather than using all black cocoa. I make a chocolate sandwich cookie which is double your recipe (3 1/2 cups flour vs. 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 eggs vs. 1 egg) but I use 2 tbs. of black cocoa and 1/2 cup cup regular cocoa. And my cookie is pretty dark!

    Chiara, you can continue to do just what you do – using all black cocoa makes a really BLACK cookie, even darker than an Oreo. No need to go there – I just thought it looked distinctive… PJH

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  7. Mary Ellen

    Oh dear! Trader Joe’s is my favorite place to shop and they always have KA flour for $1.00 less per bag than any other stores! Now I’m really sad. On the bright side, I’ve been wanting to make Faux-Reos, so thanks for the step by step.

    Well, Mary Ellen, best stock up while it’s still there, eh? They DO have good prices… on everything. PJH

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  8. Mike T.

    Mmmm…. I was trying to figure out what I was going to make and take to my cousins this weekend (Bar Mitzvah in New York), now I know! ;-)

    BTW PJ, I signed up for Jeffrey’s bread class the week of May 4th… See you there!

    Mike – way cool! Be sure to call when you’re here, I’ll come down (we’re about 1 1/2 miles from the bakery). Or tell Susan Miller (BEC director) to email me – we finally get to meet! PJH

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  9. Claire

    I’m sorry to hear about TJ’s not carrying KA flour any more. My brother and his wife live in Atlanta, just a few miles from a TJ’s. Over one weekend visit, my sister-in-law took me there, telling me that I’d love the place, and when I saw your flour sitting on the shelf all by itself, without any of the lesser brands to be seen, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. (If a grocery store can be a spirit.) Now whenever I visit my brother, I take home huge sacks full of corn salsa, flax seed chips, and banana granola bars.

    Luckily for me, I can get my King Arthur fix at any of my local grocery stores. I can live without the corn salsa, but not without good homemade bread!

    Claire, thank you SO much for your kind comments about our flour. We’re like 167 proud parents here… we LOVE our flour and want it to succeed. TJ’s dropping us is like seeing your child not make the varsity basketball team. But we’ll srurvive… after 218 years, we DO have that history! Thanks again- PJH

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  10. Eric

    Blargh – TJs provides price pressure on the other stores. *sigh* I can’t imagine there’s that much brand power in flour for them – going from selling a premium product at an attractive price point (as they do with Plugra premium butter, for example) to a store brand in a category with only minor differentiation (ie, there’s KAF and “everything else”) means that they get to compete with house-brand flour from Safeway/Kroger/etc. I wish them the *best* of luck.

    As for the Joe-Joes: I *told* y’all not to do this! See http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2008/12/24/the-finishing-touches-getting-it-together-for-the-big-day/ – seriously, though, do try making them with the ammonium leaven – it makes the texture even more Oreo-like, with the downside of making the raw dough a little Windex-y smelling.

    Now the price leader is gonna be that Supercenter everyone loves to hate. I’ll sneak in the middle of the night for KAF and their premium house-brand raisin bran. Don’t tell anyone!

    OK, now I have to try the baker’s ammonia, Eric. I had totally forgotten. Oh well, it won’t be TOO difficult sampling these again…

    Thanks for your support re: TJ’s! – PJH

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  11. FrugalWorld

    A shame about Joe’s. Those cookies look incredible though! Thanks for sharing the recipe, and I hope to see you soon. We live about an hour north (Wells River), and my baking supplies are running a bit scarce. It’s been a good winter, baking-wise. :-)

    Sure, P & H – Wells Rivers best-known attraction! 45 minutes from the route 13 (King Arthur Flour) exit off 91 South. Hope to see you soon- PJH

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  12. Erin

    Well how sad! I know business is business, but still. As you well know, I’m a certified King Arthur snob. ;) Nothing else comes into my kitchen! So off to Publix for me. :)

    Erin, I shop at Publix when I visit my mom in Florida. I’m impressed by the huge variety of things they have, at good prices. So thanks for continuing to buy our flour and patronizing another good supermarket – PJH

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  13. Teresa

    Wow, I am sad that I won’t be able to get KA flour at TJ’s, which like Mary Ellen said is a bit cheaper. Luckily other local grocery chains near me now carry KA AP flour. It was a good relationship to spread the word on your product. If only I baked enough or had the room to store the 10 lb. size of KA AP flour sold at Smart & Final, that’s a good price, too.

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  14. Katchoo

    Well ARRRRGH to that! The only other stores I know around here have KAF at $2 higher than TJ. Oh well, there goes the only reason I shop at TJ.

    WOW, love your train of thought here – THANK YOU SO MUCH! PJH

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  15. Kathleen

    I never heard of Trader Joe’s untill recently when I found this blog. When I looked up where to find King Arthur Flour locally, by zip code, it said that my local Walmart in West Bradent, Fl. carried KA. Well, I went to Walmart and was very, very disappointed that they only had one kind of KA flour, regular whole wheat and that was it. A couple of weeks later I was in my local Publix and low and behold they had almost every regular (not specialties) flour that King Arthur makes at excellent prices. My son thought I was nuts getting so excited about finding your flours. I think you (not you personally) should change the KA zip code finder to Publix on Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton, Florida. Anyhow, these cookies look delicious and since I love peppermint, I know I will be making these. And by the way, after using KA flour and seeing for myself that It is worth the difference in price, I will never use another flour even if I have to pay shipping and handling.

    Kathleen, thanks for much for your your input. I’ll relay the information to our Flour team about adding the West Bradenton Publix to the store finder. And THANK YOU for your testimonial – always nice to hear from another KA flour lover! PJH

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  16. Christine

    As an employee of Trader Joe’s AND a loyal KAF baker, I was extremely saddened to learn about the phasing-out of your products. At the moment we’re only offering our private label white-whole wheat flour and continue to order the AP, but I know that’s not going to last much longer. I’m still debating whether I should stock up (I’ve got a couple dozen pounds of KAF in the 5-pound bags) from my work before we sell out or buy from you guys in bulk. So it might make you feel better to know the regret comes from our side too!

    Christine, I can see we’re fellow early risers… I see the flour being phased out gradually down in Hanover, Mass., too. And of course I’ll continue to make the trip – a colleague made a weekend trip down to your Northampton (Mass.) store with several shopping lists from the various TJ fans here. (Maybe they should consider opening a store up here sometime? National chains are always astounded at the sales per sq. ft. they generate in this “remote” location). I just know how hard it is to keep your flour consistent, season after season, year after year, with the wheat always coming in slightly different, depending on whether it was a wet growing season, dry, cold (yes, most of our wheat grows over the winter – planted in the fall, harvested in very early summer). So, I love TJ’s and good luck, but it just isn’t that easy putting good bags of flour on the shelf consistently. So = yeah, stock up on KA while you can. Thanks for chiming in here, glad to hear from a TJ employee- PJH

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  17. Dawn of Dawn's Recipes

    I haven’t visited a TJ’s in ages. I just don’t live that close to one any more. Fortunately, I’m able to get your flour at Shaw’s and Donelan’s. Also, I’m addicted to your online store…heheh. I’m making plans to drive up to VT and visit your brick-and-mortar store in the next couple of weeks. Can’t wait! (I know, I know…I won’t make the 20 minute drive to get to TJ’s, but I’ll drive 2 hours to get to King Arthur. Well, it gives me an excuse to hit Cabot and Ben & Jerry’s on the way back!)

    It’s the journey, not the destination, right? Or maybe, in this case, it’s three destinations AND the journey… PJH

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  18. Mike T.

    “We’re like 167 proud parents here… we LOVE our flour and want it to succeed. TJ’s dropping us is like seeing your child not make the varsity basketball team.”

    Don’t think of it that way, think of it like a teenager going out on their own. They’ve grown up and now they can take care of themselves and take on that big world that’s out there just waiting to greet them!

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  19. Mary Corbet

    This is funny! I was just thinking yesterday, “I’m going to e-mail Baker’s Banter and ask them if they can develope a duplicate for Oreo Cakesters.” Cakesters are insanely expensive, but there’s something about them that’s kinda … tasty. It’d be fun to try to make them, but I’m not a kitchen experimentalist, so I wouldn’t know where to start….

    But – it looks to me like this is the basis of a cakester recipe… Now, the question is, what can I do to this recipe to create a cookie that’s a cross between a cookie and a brownie? Chewy-ish, rather than crunchy? That’ll rise with a slight puff in it? That’s the size of an Orea in circumference, and won’t cost $4 to make twelve little cookies?

    I’m probably asking too much! But I know if ANYONE could do it, you all can!!!

    In any case, I do believe I’m going to have to make these… and I might fiddle with filling, to see if there’s a way to make them for St. Patrick’s Day – though I have a strong aversion to green icing-type fillings. Yeeesh.

    Mary, it seems to me a chocolate whoopie pie recipe would yield the cookie; just baked much smaller, and of course for a lesser amount of time. Then use this filling, or the creamier/softer whoopie pie filling. Believe it or not I’ve never had a cakester, so not sure what the filling is. Yeah – I’m too cheap to buy them!! PJH

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  20. Amber

    Well it’s Trader Joe’s loss, I think. I still can’t wait to go to one. While we’re on the topic of discontinuing products, however, I’d like to beg KAF to PLEASE bring back the plastic dough scrapers. I live in North Carolina, or I’d definitely stop in to grab one in a class. I’ve looked everywhere and no one sells anything similar.

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  21. Karen Holland

    I had to try these cookies right away! I found that when I was flattening them, I was still having trouble with them sticking. I used a small square of parchment on top of the ball of dough and then flattened them. Then I just peeled the paper off, voila! I didn’t have to use extra cocoa on the bottom of my cup then, and they came out perfectly flat.
    Yummy!

    GREAT idea, Karen – another use for my best friend in the kitchen, parchment… PJH

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  22. Jeffrey

    Wow. Just wow. I can’t help but disagree with TJ’s strategy here, and can underline it by saying our household is feeling a bit “Trader Joe’s-ed out” after months of shopping there and there alone and decided to shop elsewhere more often. Too many prepared foods, too much within their own TJ palate – and we’re not the only ones that we hear saying these sorts of things. If TJ cannot make more beloved brands like KA flour available, we’ll have even less reason to shop there. While we cannot abide by the sky-high prices at other stores when it comes to things like organic produce, we are happy to pay a bit more for brands that work hard for our business like KA. Your freely available recipes have never failed (take that, Martha!), and the quality of the flour is good enough that we were superexcited to use it again after living three years in the flour haven that is France.

    You have just gained another online customer, and some of the great grocery stores in San Francisco like Rainbow and Andronico’s will be getting more visits from us. Your loss is TJ’s gain, and I hope you will be all the better for it. You’re a brand and company that represents many great attributes of America’s promising future, and we wish you all the best.

    Jeffrey – I’m so touched by your kind words. Thanks so much for your support. We do work hard to do right by all of the bakers out there, and we love it when someone notices. My 167 fellow employee-owners and I thank you! PJH

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  23. bill

    It’s a shame that Vermont based KA couldn’t reach an appropriate monetary agreement with Trader Joe’s. I’m hardly going to bi-lo to find your flour. It would be nice if you would explain to your readers how stores in-brand their products to reduce prices to customers and that your pricing inflexibility with one of the most important partners in your relationship has become your customers’ issue — how we should spend $ on gas, pollute the atmosphere, and waste valuable time away from our families just because you don’t understand the outside world and it’s current issues. Keep your head stuck in the Vermont snow. The rest of us are hurting and we aren’t fooled by the fact that you can’t produce a quality product at a decent price.

    Bill, it actually has nothing to do with a monetary agreement. TJ’s goal from the start has always been to private-label as much of their product as possible. Till they do, they carry top-quality brands, in order to enhance their own high-quality image. But once they figure out their own chocolate (replacing Ghirardelli), or flour (replacing us) or… (who’s next?), then obviously it works much better for their business model to put it on the shelf. We’re interested in producing the best flour in America at a reasonable price; that’s our goal. The price we charge our vendors must go up and down at times, as it has in the past year or so, due to huge shifts in the price of wheat – like, a 400% increase in the per-bushel cost in less than a year. These are costs beyond our control; we work hard to “lean” our business, to streamline, to cut costs everywhere and be as efficient as possible; but in the end, the price we pay for wheat does directly impact the price you pay for flour.

    I’m sorry you feel we have our heads stuck in the snow. And that we aren’t being impacted by this economic downturn just as much as any other business; and that we, as employee-owners of this company supporting our families, aren’t suffering from rising prices and economic uncertainty, just as all of America is. Trust me; we understand the “outside world.” We live in it, every day. We’re just trying to provide bakers with a good, consistent bag of flour, one you can trust to turn out great baked goods; and still stay in business. Fair enough? PJH

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  24. Erin

    What a shame that TJ’s won’t be carrying King Arthur Flour anymore. They are my favorite store, though I do admit that I hit up “regular” grocery stores for things like sugar (their little bags just don’t do it for me), and I guess now I have to add flour to that list. So sad.

    Erin, we appreciate your KAF loyalty… PJH

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  25. Sandy

    We have several TJ’s here in the Triangle area of NC. Too bad TJ will no longe carry KAF but I can get it at Harris Teeter here….thank heavens! I would not consider using any other flour…period.

    THANK YOU SANDY! PJH

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  26. Cathy

    How sad! Years and years ago, I filled out one of those forms in Trader Joes to suggest a product, and that product was King Arthur Flour. I had been receiving the catalog for a while and wanted a local source. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to make that product suggestion, but when the first bags of KA flour appeared at my local TJ’s, I felt like I had made a difference. I always tried to buy my KA flour there because the price was significantly better than my local grocery stores.

    Cathy, thanks so much for helping us to get into TJ’s originally – you did your part, for sure! We appreciate it- PJH

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  27. Cynthia McTyre

    In the intro to the cookie, I read that it uses non-trans-fat shortening. What kind of shortening do you use? I thought that any shortening that was solid at room temperature had trans-fats. I’d love to know of one that is safer. Thanks!

    Cynthia, Crisco isn’t absolutely non-trans-fat, I don’t think, but it’s 0G trans fat per serving… You can also try Spectrum-brand shortening. PJH

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  28. Denise

    Well, I’m really sorry to hear this. I don’t shop at TJ’s very often (too far away) but fortunately my local Krogers carries KA flours (and some muffin mixes too). Even if they stopped selling it, I would continue to ALWAYS get my flour from KA.

    Over the holidays, I ran out of flour and went to my Krogers to get some and they were completely sold out of KA. I had to have flour right away so I checked a couple of other stores with no luck. (I guess everyone else had the same idea!) I ended up having to buy another brand of flour. I felt so cheap and slimy and of course the results weren’t as good. Now I know better to make sure I have enough on hand!

    Denise – I SO don’t want you to feel cheap and slimy!! Guess you’d better keep buying good KA, heh-heh-heh… Thanks so much for baking with us – PJH

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  29. harriet

    TJ’s has recently (within the last six months to a year)) has received competition here in SoCal from the new kid in town…Fresh & Easy, which is owned by a large British firm (the name escapes me at this moment) has opened almost 30 stores from Bakersfield on the North to the southern border of Orange County.

    The focus at F&E is fresh and organic. All fresh items are date coded & on the last day of the code the products are immediately marked down to 50% and sold to the shoppers. Prices at F&E are extremely competitive with TJ’s and the supers.

    TJ’s has been more selective in opening new stores in what can be termed “upscale areas only.” However, F&E is opening stores in locations where they can, and which are not necessarily upscale. Examples of this means not building new stores, but rather going into an established area that has an empty store, the size they need, and remodeling it, internally, to meet their specific needs for the neighborhood. There was an older Vons market in Arcadia, CA that had been closed for about 3 years. F&E came in divided off the space they need for their operation and the unused space has a for lease sign on it.

    The corporate offices is in El Segundo, CA, and for this market area, (SoCal) it might be worth contacting them.

    Thanks for the heads-up, Harriet – I know our flour team will be reading these comments… PJH

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  30. Evie

    Yes, I can buy KA Flour at our one-and-only supermarket in town….at $2.00 more per 5 lb. bag than TJ’s price. Because there is only market in town, I make the trip (130 miles) to TJ’s about every 6 weeks to buy all the many things that our market doesn’t carry, plus at least 20 lbs. of KA Flour! I’ll still have to make that trip, but I guess I’ll have to pay that extra $2.00 per bag and buy it here…

    Thank you so much for your loyalty, Evie. Also, keep your eyes peeled for our occasional “free shipping” offers here – it’s a good time to stock up on flour. PJH

    Reply
  31. Sue

    So sad that KA Flour would lose what must be a huge account. KAF will persevere!!
    Those Candy Cane Joe Joe’s are one of the few store bought cookies that I can’t keep my hands off. So much so that this year I didn’t buy any. The nearest TJ’s is about 50 miles away, so it isn’t a regular stop for me anyway. Some day I will make these though, and I’ll share them with friends and neighbors.
    If you try the baker’s ammonia let us all know how they turn out. It seems like a great suggestion!

    Sue, our Web designer, Janet, has the same problem. She can “just say no” to any number of yummy baked treats… but not to Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s. They’re her utter downfall… PJH

    Reply
  32. Janet

    Just as I’ve resisted eating a single Joe-Joe all day (there’s still part of one box on the table in the Web Team room) I READ THIS. They are now calling my name. I too, Sue, ate no store bought cookies until PJ brought in the Joe-Joes. I’ve finished my bag of celery for the day so I’m thinking I could have maybe one, or two, or three Joe-Joes and feel no guilt! In the meantime, try PJ”s recipe. It was definitely a hit around King Arthur. Sometimes the best way of knowing that is how quickly a plate or pan of something disappears. PJ’s version of the Joe-Joes were gone in a flash.

    Reply
  33. Jeremy

    The trouble for me is, it’s virtually impossible to get KA flour in Queens where I live, save for one store and that is off and on. I am a home baker and bake my own bread and would love if you guys would have a larger line for us who like to bake at home, for instance more rye, European style flours as well some rye chops…please?!

    Jeremy, we are in fact introducing a new pantry line of flours in supermarkets very soon – including rye, I believe. Not sure exactly which stores, or when – but I know it’s in the works, at least. Generally, NYC stores that carry our flour are D’Agostino’s, and Pathmark. The issue is getting stores to stock our flours – we’re more than happy to sell them, but the store needs to provide the space. So it’s always a work in progress. Thanks for your support. PJH

    Reply
  34. Ginger

    I’m sad that TJ will no longer carry KAF. I’m so glad I can get KAF at my local grocery store. Many years ago KA Bread Flour wasn’t being stocked at my local grocery store for some reason (it only lasted a few months), they stocked all the rest of the KA flour. When I went on vacation out of state the first stop I made was at a grocery store to stock on on KA bread flour. My husband laughs that some people buy t-shirts as a souvenir and I buy flour. Thankfully the local grocery store stocks KA bread flour once again.

    Well, Ginger, I don’t think it’s funny at all! I always have to visit the grocery store or supermarket wherever we travel; and yes, my husband just sigh and sits in the car and reads a book. Glad you can get your bread flour locally again – PJH

    Reply
  35. ivyb

    Wow! I am so disappointed in TJ’s! They have been phrasing out quite a few things lately, including their pig ears, much to Sasha’s dissapointment (she actually prefers their “brand”!) Well, I think maybe everyone on this site should email the company and complain! Maybe explaining that we will all NOT buy their brand flour, and that it would be a big mistake. I figure, there are how many of us that read this site regularly? Not a “small potatoes” amount, I am sure…. especially if we all pass the word to other cooking/baking websites to send emails to TJ’s…. Anyone game? :-)
    Peace,
    Ivy, ny

    Letting TJ’s know you love King Arthur Flour is certainly welcome, Ivy – thanks! PJH

    Reply
  36. Jackie

    I can’t wait to try these cookies. I might try and find the spearmint or green colored candies for St. Patties Day..
    As for Trader Joe’s we don’t have any in my area. For me this blog is such help in my baking that buying King Arthur products is the best way to show how much it means is to purchase your products.

    Thanks so much, Jackie. Teaching people to bake is our mission – did you know we’re the biggest educator of home bakers in the world? We teach middle schoolers through our free Life Skills program; people across the country via our free national baking classes; bakers from beginning to pro at our Baking Education Center here in Vermont; and everyone else via our Web site and catalogue. Bake on! PJH

    Reply
  37. Maureen

    Can the recipe for Faux-Reos be doubled?
    I would like to bake both peppermint and vanilla fillings.

    Yes, absolutely – go for it. Or split the filling down the center, flavoring half with the candy canes… PJH

    Reply
  38. Lorraine

    Trader Joe’s isn’t close to where I live so I shop at Meijer’s and they do carry KA a.p., bread, and organic flours. Believe me, come fall , winter and spring, KA shelves are virtually empty. It’s popular because it’s quality; price has nothing to do with it. A terrific product will always result in a terrific end product.

    There was at one time KA scone and muffin mixes. But, for some reason, Meijer’s no longer carries them. They sure came in handy in a pinch. Any way of getting them to add more of your products to the supply?

    Always enjoy reading the blogs and have tried most recipes featured. They’re great! Thank you.

    You’re welcome, Lorraine. Our Flour team will be reading these comments, and am sure they’ll be interested and happy to know that you miss the mixes in Meijer’s- PJH

    Reply
  39. maggie (p&c)

    How frustrating. Hope you don’t lose too much business.

    We’re just unhappy that this creates potentially more work for many of our customers who want to keep baking with KAF AND shopping at TJ’s… PJH

    Reply
  40. Roy

    Like everyone else, I’m extremely bummed. I know KA is available at more grocery stores in the SF Bay Area, but no one sold it even close to TJ’s price.
    I’m sorry, but I can’t justify paying $6.19 for a bag of flour compared to TJ’s $3.99. I’ll just have to wait for the free shipping periods and cross my fingers that i don’t run out of flour.
    Has KA considered using Amazon as a distribution channel on their grocery section of the website? For instance, I send regular shipments of beef jerky to my college nephew in Boston, and it’s way cheaper than buying in a store,plus free shipping.
    Another idea is to get a toehold in Costco or Sam’s warehouse clubs.

    Roy, sorry your local grocery store is SO high! WOW – $6.19. Our grocery store here is around $4.29 everyday price. And it’s not location – we’re just as far form those mills in Kansas as you are… We did in fact work with Amazon for several years, ending 2 years ago. It was a model that caused many, many more headaches, and much more customer dissatisfaction, than it produced sales. We’re in WalMart and BJ’s and in some Costco stores. Not sure about Sam’s Club. Our Flour team would know the details of that, and they’ll be reading thse comments. So thanks for the suggestions- PJH

    Reply
  41. Tisa

    That’s 2 strikes against TJs in my book. First they stopped carrying the big blocks of Ghirardelli chocolate I’ve bought for 15 years, and now no KA flour. I started shopping there in college in the 80s and have always dropped in for certain things, but definitely buy most of our food at Whole Foods, etc. I am fortunate that most of the groceries I frequent here in Sonoma County carry your flour. Wish they carried the pizza flour, but we have to order that every few months from you, and that means I have to try a new scone mix, or new flavoring, and so on. Love your newsletter, cookbooks, and recipes. You guys rock!

    BAKERS rock, Tisa. Let’s all rock on – pizza sounds so good right now, I might have to go out to the kitchen and make some! PJH

    Reply
  42. Samantha

    Don’t despair, KAF!! Like many others, I first got turned on to your flour through Trader Joe’s, but a few years ago, I started buying directly from the source, because my Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods didn’t consistently stock the flour varieties I preferred when I needed them. The last straw was when I was in the middle of a bread-making project and made a frustrated run to both TJs and Whole Foods (a 45-minute boondoggle), where no bread flour was to be found. I had to resort to Gold Medal (gasp), which is sacrilege to me!

    I’m sure I’m not the only one of your customers who has discovered your incredible offering of varieties not to be found in the grocery store. It’s fresher, too! Some of the ones I bought at TJs were infested with pantry moths, and I never have that problem buying directly from you.

    I’m sure you can scoop back many of your customers by offering more free shipping deals.

    We’ll let you know via these emails whenever we do shipping deals, Samantha. (I assume you get our emails? If not, register at kingarthurflour.com the bottom right corner of the page, for all the latest and greatest!) PJH

    Reply
  43. Roy

    Okay, I just spoke to a TJ store manger who is just as disappointed. She suggested filling out an online form at TJ’s website and voicing our disappointment. If enough KA fans do that, there may be a chance for KA to be allotted some shelf space.

    Thanks so much, Roy! It’s worth a try- PJH

    Reply
  44. Jennifer

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to TJ’s. It’s a shame they are doing that. But then again I only by KA at Krogers or Meijers when it’s on sale and then I stock up. (Drives my husband nuts) we have a big bucket that can hold 20 to 25 lbs of flour and I generally go through that pretty quickly. I just which Kroger’s or Meijer’s would sell larger quantities instead of just the 5lb bag. I’ll have to check Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati, OH to see if they sell KA at a better price the the other stores. If I need something from you recipes and can’t wait for a shipment from you Jungle Jim’s usually has it.

    Reply
  45. beverly geiger

    is it possible to order from trader joe’s , he’ll do very well there are a lot of us who love good food , we love to cook from scratch. beverly

    Not that I now of, Beverly – go to traderjoes.com and see where their stores are. Maybe there’s one fairly close to you – PJH

    Reply
  46. Ariana from Chicago

    Got a link to this blog today from my KA email. What a great post. I am a fan of both companies, TJoes and KA. I will remain loyal to both, despite the distribution change. Over the years, I’ve known TJoes to quietly replace the popular brands on the shelf. I think it’s great KA got the big boost it needed, but if I need to drive a little farther to get my flour I will! Thanks for the recipe!

    Thanks for going the extra mile” (or more!), Ariana – PJH

    Reply
  47. Lulu

    Like other commenters, I’ve noticed other brands being superseded by TJ-labeled products, and I think they’re going a bit too far because the quality is uneven. Thanks for posting about this change: I’ll definitely speak up at my local TJ’s and will check their website to submit a comment as Roy suggests.

    Next on my list of concerns is McCann’s steel cut Irish oatmeal. Not a KA product, of course, but I recently noticed several new (to me) TJ-branded oatmeals and they’ve not been as quick to restock the McCann’s.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, Lulu – uneven quality. McCann’s has been doing oatmeal for how many centuries? We’ve been doing flour for 219 years. You do learn a bit during all that time about how to produce a top-quality product CONSISTENTLY – year after year after decade after century… PJH

    Reply
  48. Jess

    Boooooo, TJ! I’m with Roy–my local higher-end groceries (save TJ, until now) charge crazy prices for a 5Lb bag of KA bread flour. Our local Walmart has yet to stock KA flours, even though I keep asking for them. I would probably buy enough to justify stocking it. :-)

    PJH, is there any place I could buy KA flours in bulk bags (50 Lb) without being mangled on the shipping? There aren’t any Costco’s near us. And I know it’s a little off-topic, but is KA Special essentially the same as 5 Lb bagged KA bread flour?

    Yes, Jess, KA Special is KA 5# bread flour – same thing. Your best bet would probably be to find a local bakery that buys our flour by the 50# bag, and beg/plead for them to sell you some. Galahad is the bakery equivalent of our all-purpose. I find I can buy a 50# bag of Special at our local cooperative grocery – they use it in their commissary to bake bread. So ask your local bakeries if they bake with KA, and then float the question… Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  49. Sara

    Just a quick question – why don’t you go down 91 and go to TJs in Hadley, MA right outside of Northampton?

    Because I have family on the South Shore, so make the trip for two reasons… though one of my colleagues here just made her first TJs visit, to the Hadley store, last weekend. PJH

    Reply
  50. cindy leigh

    a poster above mentined things s/he wanted KA to bring back. Here’s my list
    hot dog bun pans
    hamburger bun pans
    a grain blend- not a flour, and not the harvest grains seeds. I forgot what it was called, looked kind of like oatmeal with other flattened grains
    the packs of paper bread bags for baguettes. I put baguettes in them to give as gifts.
    AND, I’d like:
    a gadget to slice bread evenly. Like slicing pain de mie loaves into uniform sandwich slices. Sorta like slots I could run my electric knife thru.
    I’d like cherry flavoring that’s not an oil ust for chocolate- one I could use in my seltzer water or coffee. Ditto for strawberry flavoring.
    LOL I just want everything, huh?
    (oh, and I’d love those rewards points back!!)

    Reply
  51. Carol

    Not to repeat what everyone else is saying but bad move on TJ”s part! I can get KA flour at many stores in my area but at $5.99 a bag, I’d rather pay a bit less considering the amount of flour I go through. I teach cooking classes and recommend KA flour exclusively. I’ll be doing a lot more baking now that my husband has been deployed to Iraq and I’ll be sending him lots of yummies to remind him and his fellow sailors/soldiers of home and how we support and miss them! Thanks for a great product!

    And thanks for your loyalty, Carol. May I recommend biscotti as a treat that really packs and travels well and easily? You can flavor it all different ways. Best of luck to your husband and his fellow sailors/soldiers… PJH

    Reply
  52. IvyB

    Okay, I am home from work and I just emailed Trader Joe’s. Let’s everyone email them as well….. and – when you go to TJ’s next, make sure to complain to the manager. Enough of us do this, “maybe” they’ll get the message.

    Peace,
    Ivy, ny

    Reply
  53. foodlibrarian

    Say it isn’t so!!! Oh, that just sucks. I still heart TJ, but I’m sad.

    By the way, found your blog via a friend’s posting on twitter about KA and TJ…great blog! Subscribing now!

    Hey thanks – good to hear Twitter is spreading the word… and thanks for your loyalty. PJH

    Reply
  54. Kate F.

    I got to the blog via The Kitchn…I can’t believe I didn’t know KAF had a blog. Your reply to one of the commenters saying “National chains are always astounded at the sales per sq. ft. they generate in this “remote” location” made me laugh. I spent a year in Hanover while my husband was in grad school, and I had seriously withdrawal, wishing for Target! Of course, once we left the Upper Valley I had even worse withdrawal missing the Coop, even though I live in Cambridge MA, within 5 minutes of two Whole Foods and the big Trader Joe’s! Oh, the Coop… And you’ll be glad to know that we made a special stop at the KAF store last time we were near Hanover, just so I could pick up a couple things!

    Coop vs. TJ’s would be a pretty good battle, I think. We STILL don’t have a Target, though there’s one in Concord – but that’s 60 miles away. I’ve only ever been to one TJ’s – I’d love to see what a “big” TJ’s looks like. Thanks for connecting, Kate – Hanover is just as you remembered it, I’m sure. I live right across from the high school so am up close and personal with downtown and Dartmouth much of the time. Cheers – PJH

    Reply
  55. Sheila, Rutland MA

    Here’s the email I sent to TJ’s just now…feel free to copy/edit and send your own! They have made changes based on overwhelming customer feedback in the past.

    “Hello. I just received an email from King Arthur Flour, notifying KAF customers that KAF flour will no longer be carried by Trader Joe’s. This is very, very disappointing. I understand you have an overarching mission to sell only TJ’s-branded products, and this is fine when that product fills a niche. However, it has resulted in my having to seek out elsewhere certain brands that I have become loyal to, such as ECOS laundry detergent and now, very importantly, King Arthur Flour. Just as I do not buy the TJ’s-brand detergent (it’s fine, but I like the ECOS scent better), I will not buy the replacement flour that TJ’s will offer. I hope that corporate TJ’s will reconsider their policy of substitution when a situation like this arises–a well-respected, US (and employee!)-owned company with a great product and loyal following has a product that sells well. And I definitely hope that TJ’s will reconsider this particular case, and keep King Arthur Flour on your store shelves!! Thank you, ”

    WOW, Sheila – thank you SO much. That’s one excellent email, and I hope enough people chime in that they hear… We appreciate this very much. PJH

    Reply
  56. Roy

    I just submitted PJ’s blog post on Digg. Like Twitter, I’m urging all loyal KA fans to submit a post to Digg

    THANK YOU ROY!!! PJH

    Reply
  57. Marcia

    I am so lucky, Walmart, Kroger, and Publix all sell KA. Walmart has the cheapest price and that is where most of mine comes from. I have 3-4 different kinds of KA flour in gal ziplock bags.

    But, I do have a small list of things I get at TJ. Because it SNOWED here in ATL last Sunday, I did not stop to shop. But, I think the suggestion someone made about commenting to the manager of the store is a good idea.

    I am in the process of submitting recipes to the Republican Women group I belong to for our cook book. I plan to add “Use KA flour for outstanding results.”

    I bought 3 boxes of those cookies at Christmas when they were covered in chocolate, When I went back later, they were sold out!

    Marcia, thanks so much for calling for our flour in your special recipes – we’re honored! Good luck with the book. And yes I heard about your “snow emergency” – must have been exciting for the kids, anyway. – PJH

    Reply
  58. Roger

    Gotta admit that I love King Arthur products, but never liked Trader Joe’s. We have only one near me in NYC, and it’s tacky. The store’s stock has never appealed to me, and I never even realized that KA items were available there.

    On the plus side, crowded-but-incredible Whole Foods seems to have many (though not all) of the basic KA flour varieties. Just tried your organic white whole wheat, and it’s even better than your regular white whole wheat. I made some 100% whole wheat bread with it, which tasted amazing. I never quite warmed to whole wheat, but this is wonderful.

    If the KA folks or other posters can recommend additional stores in NYC that carry KA flours, that would be very helpful.

    And, let’s remember that King Arthur was around for many years before Trader Joes and will exist long after they’re gone.

    Roger

    Roger, our organic white whole wheat is, in fact, my very favorite whole grain flour. Yeast seems to love it, so yeast breads rise like crazy. I make a 100% ww pain de mie with it that’s just incredible, plus sub it for AP in a lot of recipes. I’ll see if I can get someone from our Flour team to give me a list of NYC stores to post here – stay tuned… PJH

    Reply
  59. joan

    that actually looks better than peppermint joe-joe’s (which are the only store bought cookie i like)

    i used to work for TJs and usually how it works is that they will private label something after a while (Strauss yogurts, nutella, all our eggs and milk, etc.)

    why did they not do this with KA flours? i did notice this week that a new flour brand was on the shelf and just assumed it was KA private labeled. i’m hoping to start working there again soon and will definitely give the managers my opinion on the customer info/complaint cards we have. our store (110 in goleta) also kept a list – basically a customer wish list – for discontinued items.

    i’m annoyed about this and will now have to suck up the extra money and buy KA at albertsons. argh.

    Joan, I’m sorry about the economic impact of this for you, but so pleased you’re willing to ride this out with us and keep baking with KAF… Thank you. PJH

    Reply
  60. Margy

    I love Trader Joe’s–discovered them in 1989 when I did my residency in California, and had to wait 15 years for them to spread east–now have 3 within a 10 mile radius. Since they are much smaller than the typical grocery store (I think I read somewhere 6000 sq.ft vs 30,000 sq.ft in the larger groceries) they have always phased/cycled items in and out based to popularity/availability, or with new items pushing old ones out. I’m able to get my KA AP flour from our local BJs Wholesale in 10lb bags for a good price, but will miss getting my KA specialty flour at TJs. By the way, was in the Philippines on a medical mission for 3 weeks with NO COMPUTER ACCESS!!!:O , and was in terrible KA blog withdrawal!! Reading the blog entries was the first thing I did on coming home (well, after the worst of the jet lag wore off!:) Reading your blogs feels like talking to old friends. And although you were too polite to say it to Bill about his comments, I’m not: you may be upset, but that does not give an excuse to be nasty and abusive. I have yet to hear anyone else in these blogs be anything other than friendly and helpful–disagreements? yes, but generally in a constructive, not destructive manner, and in a manner that encourages conversation, give-and-take, and exchange of ideas. I’ll hop off my soapbox now!

    Welcome home, Margy! And thanks for the work you were doing in the Philippines. I have friends who regularly travel to Southeast Asia on medical missions. Amazing. People are good. And thanks for your kind comments about the blog. It’s a pleasure to do it, and does feel like talking to friends—friends we’ll never meet, but good friends nonetheless. PJH

    Reply
  61. Marie

    For all their great customer service TJ’s is one of the most selfish stores around. I’m sorry, they are! They will just pull an item if they can’t get their own way. At one time they sold the absolutely best non-toxic all purpose cleaner and then -poof!-it was gone. Even the clerks didn’t know what happened and kept telling me it’d come back. After six months of waiting I got the news it was never coming back. When I contacted the merchant directly they told me what happened and it wasn’t a pretty picture. I think not selling your product is a huuuge mistake. What now? “Trader Joe’s Knight in Shining Flour?” Puh-leeze!

    Love your final image, Marie – thanks for the early morning laugh (it’s 4:08 a.m….) – PJH

    Reply
  62. Jesurgislac

    Sheesh, that sucks. I’m so sorry.

    I live in the UK, so I’ve rarely shopped at Trader Joe’s (and never to my knowledge bought King Arthur’s Flour) but your recipes have been so good, that I’m determined if I’m ever near an outlet in North America I’ll buy myself a bag and try it out.

    As a regular baker of my own bread, I have a real appreciation of the difference flour makes to baking. I would be disturbed if I had to just switch from a brand I knew and liked to some “own brand” stuff: of course I’d try it out (I’ll try any flour, once) but a reliable source of flour is something I’d hate to give up.

    I’m not likely to visit the US any time soon: do you sell in Canada?

    I believe we’re working on selling in Canada, but not yet. Interestingly, for you Continental customers, Raymond Calvel, France’s “godather of bread,” came over some years ago to do a blind-bake with various American flours. He said our King Arthur all-purpose was the closest flour to what he used for his baguettes and other breads in his bakery in Paris. We’re very proud of that! PJH

    Reply
  63. Beth

    We don’t have a Trader Joe’s in my area (that I’m aware of) – central Virginia, but Kroger’s carries quite a line of the KAF products, and this also reminds me that a few years ago, KAF groupies in Virginia put the screws on Food Lion to carry King Arthur flour through letters and phone calls, and the campaign was successful, and I’m pretty sure Food Lion carries at least 3 varieties of KAF flour now. This doesn’t help the loyal TJ customers, but do what I do – just buy the 25-lb bags of the all-purpose flour direct from KAF. And I second an earlier poster about being able to buy 10-lb bags in stores in case – gasp! I were to run out of flour. Hope Trader Joe’s comes to its senses, especially if they see their sales fall.

    Thanks, Beth – I’m glad Kroger’s is there for you. Hey, how are the cows? Calving? Or is this not the time of year.. I may have been born in Wisconsin, but I’m WAY off the farm! PJH

    Reply
  64. Lorrainesfav

    We don’t have a Trader Joes anywhere near me here in Clearwater, Florida. I visited one when I was in San Francisco for the NordicWare Bundt contest in October. I wasn’t impressed. Who needs them anyway? I get my KA flour in Publix, Fresh Market or Walmart for decent prices. Thanks for providing us with wonderful flours that make our recipes turn out perfect every time. My baking pantry has almost every type of flour. I will have to try the organic white whole wheat next time. Too bad for Trader Joes. An old saying “penny wise and pound foolish”. Thank goodness for King Arthur Flour.

    Indeed, Lorraine, Florida seems well-stocked with KAF. Way back when, we used to mail bags of flour to “snowbirds” in the winter; thank goodness it’s now in Publix and other good supermarkets there. Thanks for your loyalty – PJH

    Reply
  65. stacy

    This may be the end of a long slow dance that TJ’s and I have been doing. The constant dropping and changing of loved products has made it difficult to continue to shop there. Having kids with multiple food allergies, requires a ton of home baking/cooking, a bunch consistent trusted product, and a whole lot creativity. KA flours are a staple in our house, providing a consistently good safe treat! While I am all for change, every time TJ’s makes one, they add yet another item that my kids can’t eat. Thanks for continuing to make a great flour that is not “made in a plant with….” some food allergen. TJ’s loss. With the explosion of food allergies in this country, Trader Joe’s will start to feel the pain when we (food allergy families) stop buying their products.

    Thanks for your kind words about our flour, Stacy. We’re glad we can provide you with what you need to keep your kids in fresh baked treats! PJH

    Reply
  66. Ziggy

    I’ve never heard of Trader Joe’s until seeing the notation on the KAF home page. It has no presence in my area and as I shop only at stores that carry the brands I prefer, I wouldn’t be a customer anyway.

    Fortunately KAF does have a presence in our local stores and that keeps me quite content.

    Reply
  67. Kate

    We don’t have TJs in Maine, either. Especially way up north where I live. BUT, we do have KA flour (thank goodness), in every store. I am only brand loyal to King Arthur Flour and Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, so I can usually shop anywhere just as long as they have KAF and ToM.

    Thanks for the cookie recipe. When I’ve visited a TJs in the past, I bought these cookies. Now I can make them myself. Yummy!

    Reply
  68. Kandice

    I’m new to KA flour, but completely in love. KA has revived my long dormant love for baking, and I spend a great deal of time planning what I want to bake next….chocolate cake? hot cross buns? Joe-reos? maybe try my hand at sourdough, yum! If, for some reason, KA flour ceased to be available, I’m sure I would fall into a deep depression and go to bed for a long time.

    Now, I’d never even heard of Trader Joe’s before this blog entry–we live in Colorado–and, although the local groceries carry a limited variety of KA flour, I’m not worried about losing my source for KA, because I buy direct from KA! Whenever there is free shipping, I stock up. In fact, around the holidays there was “free shipping with no minimum order!” I encourage all those who are feeling a loss of a source for KA to try buying direct. Easy ordering, fast shipping, reasonable prices, and great customer service. What more could I ask for?

    Indeed, Kandice – when you see those free shipping offers, jump on ‘em. Smart shopping. Thanks for your kind words… PJH

    Reply
  69. KB

    Do what I did, write Trader Joe’s. That’s the most effective thing you could do. Tell them you’re not interested in their house flour (unless , of course, it’s KA flour with TJ labels).
    http://www.traderjoes.com/contact_us_selection.html

    Well, I don’t know where they’re getting their private-label flour, but I can tell you it’s not from King Arthur… Thanks for your efforts. PJH

    Reply
  70. THI

    Hmmm. I was going to have my coworker pick some up for me the next time they went to TJ. Bummer. I live in a small town where no one carries KA. Our Wally World had it once and I was overjoyed. Then, it disappeared. I mourn every time I bake without it. Time for online shopping I guess.

    Gee, sorry about that… but of course, we’re open here online for your shopping convenience 24/7! PJH

    Reply
  71. Bryan

    It’s a shame that TJ’s is so short sighted to think they will carry a store brand, and stop carrying the country’s brand that has been a mainstay in baking for well over 200-years. We’ve (our family) have been using KAF for nearly 100-years, and are not about to change. We will, however, change our shopping habits. A store that carries KAF is a store I would trust not only for flour, but for other product quality as well.

    WOW, 100 years – that’s a great record, Bryan. I wonder how many other families can claim that? Thank you! PJH

    Reply
  72. MaryEllen

    I went to TJ’s today. They had a lot of KA flour on the shelf so I stocked up. When I mentioned it to the clerk she had no idea what I was talking about. So, she asked the manager, who also didn’t know about the change. He suggested that maybe the new flour would be KA only in a TJ label, but I set him straight about that. They found it a bit amusing I knew more about it than they did. He even checked his order sheet and found that he can still order KA flour. When it’s gone I’ll still be able to get it locally, just a bit more expensive.

    Well, they’re phasing it out slowly, and only as their own flour becomes available. Maybe they’re rolling that out geographically? Thanks for checking. And yeah – stock up while it’s still there! PJH

    Reply
  73. Marianne

    My dear friend Dottie gifted me with my first bag of KA flour – a souvenir from her trip to Vermont! Now, I love everything KA – not just your flour, but your catalog, recipes, gadgets and especially your cookie decorations, sugars and jimmies! You make a novice like me look like a pro!

    After reading the blog, I realize it’s TJ’s business model that has contributed to my disenchantment with the place. The thing I loved most when I first entered a TJ’s 7 years ago (name and ’boutique’ brands of ultimate quality at incredible prices) has been eroding over time. My last visit was a downright disappointment – I walked out empty handed.

    You have been most gracious to TJ’s in your responses, (as well as to MR BILL, ;o) who perhaps could use a spoonful of sugar? ). I assume KA’s exposure in TJ’s was good for business, and trust that KA will continue to succeed. As grandma used to say, “The cream always rises to the top!

    Reply
  74. Noah

    First they kill-off the tasty Niman Ranch hotdogs. Now my beloved KA flour. They sold it for $2-4 less per bag than other places in northern CA. One time I bought a 5lb bag of your AP flour for $7.20 in Berkeley. Just not feeling that rich lately.

    Oh well. Don’t see much of a reason to trek to TJ’s in Santa Rosa anymore.

    I love your flour and guess I will be making an online order at the next free shipping deal.

    (BTW, I love this baking blog.)

    Thanks, Noah – keep your eye peeled for the free shipping. Not sure when the next one is, but we have them regularly. PJH

    Reply
  75. Alissa

    The cookies look yummy.

    Now how about a knock off for those Bite size Everything Crackers? I’ve never had them but they sound really good.

    Sorry, Alissa – I might be able to mach the flavor of the crackers, but I know from experience I wouldn’t match the texture – I’ve never quite figured out that kind of soft/snapping crisp Townhouse cracker thing… PJH

    Reply
  76. Rachel W

    To anyone near a Market Basket/Demoulas (NH and MA), they carry KA flour in abundance and regularly have sales that blow Trader Joes’ prices out of the water. Their regular prices are nothing to sneeze at either.

    Reply
  77. Lenore

    As a loyal KAF baker, I’m curious if ya’ll (as a company) prefer that we purchase from a local store or from you directly (when free shipping is offered). Does one method help KAF goals, profit, etc more than the other? My father just had to close our family business, which opened about 70 years ago, because he could not compete with overseas imports. If one way to buy KAF helps more than another, I’ll keep that in mind. We all need to be aware so we keep each other employed. Thanks. Thanks for your question. We don’t have a preference as to how you buy our flour. We have tried hard to get it available in as many stores as possible as it is better for our customers to be able to buy it locally. Our catalogue, retail store, on-line catalogue, and family flour division (which is what gets it in your stores) are all under the same umbrella and sales from all benefit all of us equally, as we are all employee owners. We appreciate your concern. Continue to buy our flour where it is best for you. Mary@KAF

    Reply
  78. Bridgid

    I have to say I am stunned by Bill’s nastiness and rudeness. I don’t feel it was an appropriate comment. The fact that KAF has been in business for so long completely negates his implications of inconsistancy or inferior products, and if he feels that way, he should find another blog to be nasty on.

    That said, I have never been to TJ’s but I know I can always get m y KAF flour through you which makes me very happy. I am in love with the white whole wheat flour!!

    Bridgid, I’m in love with the white whole wheat, too – in fact, I have two blogs coming up in the next few weeks featuring it, an easy no-knead ww bread, and ww baby biscotti. What a great way to bake with whole grains “painlessly”! And yeast breads love the organic version… Thanks for connecting- PJH

    Reply
  79. Jim

    Hello!
    Just tried The Peppermint Faux-reos with baker’s ammonia. I called the KAF Baker’s Hotline and they recommended trying 1/4 teaspoon to the recipe. It worked! They definitely had a nice snap to them. Would recommend. Anymore suggestions for recipes with this ingredient?

    Reply
  80. Candace

    PJ, are you aware that there is a TJ’s in Nashua, NH? Technically I think it’s in Tyngsborough, MA, just over the NH/MA line by a few feet. Might not be as big but is a great place to shop. Those dark chocolate almond bars are one of my downfalls. Just go south down old Rt.3 straight past the big Mall and keep going; it’s on your right in a little mall. I think it’s exit 2 off Rt. 3, heading south. We live 1 1/2 hr from Hanover so I think TJ’s would be about 2 hr, if that. And, by the way, unless Bill works for the financial side of KAF (which I doubt) I can’t imagine how he felt he had enough info about its pricing policies to make the comments he did. Better to know what you’re talking about before opening your mouth, my Dad always said.

    Thanks, Candace – I did know there was a TJs down there somewhere, but I’m unfamiliar with the area, never go there, and DO go regularly down to Mass. to see family, so had never investigated it. Now that I have the directions (thanks!), I might have to give it a try. PJH

    Reply
  81. Jeffrey

    I just got a response from TJ’s, and I thought I would share it here. Needless to say, I am disappointed, and a bit shocked that they see KA’s not milling their own flours as an excuse. And as much as they say that the quality will be the same, my past experiences with these replacements don’t allow me to believe them.

    I’ll post TJ’s response first, and my note to them below that. Note that they did not answer all of my concerns.

    Hello Jeffrey,

    Thank you for writing to us about our switch to Trader Joe’s label
    flour. We are happy to have carried King Arthur Flour for over 10 years,
    they are a good company and are very good at marketing the King Arthur
    brand. However, in order to continue to give our customers a
    high-quality flour at an impossibly low price, we needed to switch to
    the Trader Joe’s label.

    Like King Arthur, we do not own mills or produce our own baking mixes,
    we must contract with others to produce our flour. It did not make sense
    for us to continue to pay costs associated with marketing a brand name,
    when we can contract for flour of comparable quality and pass the
    savings on to our customers. The retail for Trader Joe’s Flour will be
    $2.99 for the same size bag. We hope you will give Trader Joe’s Flour a
    try.

    Thank you for shopping at Trader Joe’s.

    Shelvy, Trader Joe’s Customer Relations

    I just wanted to let you know how disappointed I am to hear
    your decision to stop carrying King Arthur brand flours in favor of your
    house brand. King Arthur made it clear in a blog post announcing the
    move that your strategy is to move as many products in-house as
    possible, but I wanted to voice my disagreement with this strategy.

    As I said in my comment on King Arthur’s blog, I have found myself
    shopping less and less at TJ as the number of in-house products increase
    for several reasons.

    First, I just don’t believe that any entity that tries to do so many
    things at once can get it right all the time. This has manifest itself
    in a common complaint amongst my friends and family that they feel
    “Trader Joe’s-ed” out and feel they need to take breaks from shopping
    with you. Second, many of your in-house brands like your organic sugar
    are produced very far away when great products like Florida Crystals’
    organic sugar are produced comparatively nearby. This has me and my
    friends raising questions about sustainability, the carbon emissions
    generated from long-distance transport and fair trade issues with your
    growers outside the United States. Third, I came to TJ’s because trusted
    brands like King Arthur, Vinta Crackers and many others could be found
    there at much better prices than Whole Foods. The more you take away
    these trusted brands in favor of your own (and often times these
    replacements are seen as “good”, but not “great”), the more devotees
    become upset and move elsewhere.

    I’ve grown to respect what TJ’s has done so much in the several years I
    have been shopping with you. People should not have to pay dearly for
    quality food that is socially responsible. I understand your reasons,
    but I just don’t feel like this is the same TJ’s anymore. I love you
    enough to tell you the truth. ;)

    I ask that you please think more carefully when dropping beloved brands
    like King Arthur, and I hope you stay true to yourselves as you continue
    to grow.

    Kindest Regards,

    Jeffrey

    Great letter, Jeffrey. Thanks so much for sharing – PJH

    Reply
  82. Lulu

    An update: I submitted a comment via the TJ website urging them to continue to stock KA flours and noting that I would not be making the switch to theirs, giving me one less reason to shop at TJ’s. Their response:

    “Thank you for writing to us about our switch to Trader Joe’s label flour. We are happy to have carried King Arthur Flour for over 10 years, they are a good company and are very good at marketing the King Arthur brand. However, in order to continue to give our customers a high-quality flour at an impossibly low price, we needed to switch to the Trader Joe’s label.

    Like King Arthur, we do not own mills or produce our own baking mixes, we must contract with others to produce our flour. It did not make sense for us to continue to pay costs associated with marketing a brand name, when we can contract for flour of comparable quality and pass the savings on to our customers. The retail for Trader Joe’s Flour will be $2.99 for the same size bag. We hope you will give Trader Joe’s Flour a try. ”

    I think the key phrase in their response is “impossibly low price.” I’m all for saving money where I can and not spending top dollar, but at some point, something has to give, and I suspect it will be quality. I’m also concerned about the perception that all food should be as cheap as possible. Without turning this into a sustainable ag discussion, I think the fast/cheap/easy mindset is what has gotten us into a difficult spot with industrial agriculture and some of its unanticipated health and environmental consequences.

    Funny, Lulu – I see I used nearly the exact same words as you about “comparable” in my response below! And I totally agree with you about the cheapness of food. We’ve had it good in this country for a long, long time; but, as you say, prices are rising and something has to give. At some point, you can no longer have both quality and low price. And for the extra 6¢ or so per cup of flour, I’d take guaranteed quality. Thanks for speaking up here- PJH

    Reply
  83. Roy

    I just thought I’d post an excerpt of the the response from TJ’s to my email. Even though I’m still upset, I have to give them credit for replying. I respect that they’re entitled to make their own business decisions. It’s up to KA fans and KA to come up with better and cheaper distribution channels.

    <<<

    Thank you for writing to us about our switch to Trader Joe’s label
    flour. We are happy to have carried King Arthur Flour for over 10 years,
    they are a good company and are very good at marketing the King Arthur
    brand. However, in order to continue to give our customers a
    high-quality flour at an impossibly low price, we needed to switch to
    the Trader Joe’s label.

    Like King Arthur, we do not own mills or produce our own baking mixes,
    we must contract with others to produce our flour. It did not make sense
    for us to continue to pay costs associated with marketing a brand name,
    when we can contract for flour of comparable quality and pass the
    savings on to our customers. The retail for Trader Joe’s Flour will be
    $2.99 for the same size bag. We hope you will give Trader Joe’s Flour a
    try.

    Thank you for shopping at Trader Joe’s.

    S*****, Trader Joe’s Customer Relations

    Thanks, Roy. Good reply from TJs. The key word he or she uses is “comparable” – as I keep saying, milling flour to tight specs is very challenging. You might get one good mill run, then one not so good, then one better, then one really good, then… but as a customer, you never know which of those mill runs your flour came from. That’s what KA is good at: holding the mills to the tightest specs in the industry, so that you ALWAYS get the exact same top-quality flour, year after year after year. I wish them well. My supermarket here sells KA at $4.19. So for $1.20 more — that would be about 6¢ more per cup of flour — I think I’d consider buying KA the best possible baking insurance! PJH

    Reply
  84. Sam

    OK, just wanted to share a story here – first the disclaimer – I am one of the proud employee-owners here at King Arthur. I have been here for 12 years now. First let me tell you at KA that EVERY load of flour that is milled for us is tested to “insure” it meets our specs. A few months after I first joined KA I witnessed something truly amazing (in my eyes anyway, having been in the food industry for 16 years prior to KA). The specs came in for a load of flour that had shipped from the mill that day via railcars, and they were 1/10th of a percentage point out of spec on the protein level (1/10th mind you). We returned all 3 railcars from this run to the mill. Do you know how many 5# bags of flour that is? That is 99,000 bags (no, that is not a typo!). I don’t believe that type of commitment can be found in many products out there, and find it hard to believe any store brand could even come close to that type of commitment to consistency… Anyway, wanted to share that story with you – needless to say right then and there I knew KA was the place for me! And let me add – reading all these comments just warms my heart further! Thanks!

    Sam is our Northeast region sales manager, an award-winning maker of home wines, and all-around great guy. Thanks for chiming in here, Sam! PJH

    Reply
  85. Jen @ amazingtrips

    Someone just sent me this link via Twitter because they know that I am a HUGE Joe-Joe’s fan!! You have no idea how awesome this was for me reading through this post!!! Now I can make Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s in July!! :)

    Somewhat unrelated > I notice that you are using a KitchenAid mixer and I’ll be hosting a contest on my blog this coming Friday where I’ll be giving away a KitchenAid mixer. In exchange for a 100% tax deductible donation to cancer research > entrants will have the opportunity to win.

    (My husband and I are running a marathon in honor of a friend who was diagnosed with lymphoma & the prognosis isn’t good. She has two little boys and this was the best way we could figure out how to show our support. Thus far we’ve raised almost $7K in the past three weeks hosting giveaways and the KitchenAid will hopefully be our biggest draw yet. If you could help spread the word, you will earn yourself a special place in heaven. Although, you already did in MY book seeing as you posted this awesome recipe!!)

    Thanks!!

    Jen who ONLY uses King Arthur Flour!!!
    Mom to 4-year-old triplets (William, Carolyn & Elizabeth)
    & 20-month old toddler (Henry David)

    Jen, you’ve spread the word here yourself – thank you so much. Here at King Arthur some of us have been donating to a leukemia/lymphoma fund-raising run, in honor of one of our colleagues, a young woman in her 20s. Your fund-raiser will help her, too; as ours will help your friend’s. What goes around…

    Glad you can enjoy the Joe-Joes in July! Love the sound of that… AND – I can’t even imagine how busy you are – hope William, Carolyn, Elizabeth, and Henry David will “help” you – at least by licking the bowl. Cheers – PJH

    Reply
  86. IvyB

    I got a response today from TJ’s as well…. they said the same thing that other folk here posted. What I don’t understand in their “logic” in thinking that having their brand be a cheaper source is going to be a better profit margin for the company, especially when there are so many complaints already from the consumers. Oh well….. their loss once again…

    Reply
  87. Corey

    Very disappointing; good thing my local supermarkets carry KA, that will just be one less thing I pick up at TJ’s.

    Reply
  88. Helen

    Enjoying the blog & subject. We are not very close to a TJ, and shop mostly co-ops. I just had a big birthday gathering for my son. I used KA flour to make lots of pizzas, using 2 no-knead recipes. They worked terrifically, especially the Pear & Gorgonzola pizzas. The “cake” we had was Chocolate Refrigerator Roll, made with fresh whipped cream and Famous Chocolate Wafers. It’s not real baking, but was my favorite cake as a kid, and all the kids and adults loved it (my mother called it Icebox cake). I want to figure out how to make my own Chocolate Wafers. Your Faux-Joe’s sound a bit like them. I had not heard of black cocoa, maybe that would help get that deep taste of chocolate. I’d love to add some fiber, maybe use white whole wheat flour.

    I appreciate KA flour – my bread & pizza went from iffy to reliable.
    Helen: Our Cookie Companion, where Faux-Reos first made their appearance, includes a Chocolate Snaps recipe on page 327 that’s meant to recreate the Famous wafers (which I saw at the store yesterday for $4.29 a box, yikes!). Check it out at your local bookstore or library. Susan

    Reply
  89. Erin

    I’m sorry to hear about the breakup! Why on earth do you drive all the way to Hanover, MA to go to Trader Joes? There’s one in Hadley, MA. It’d probably be at least an hour closer for you. (I live in Keene, that’s the one I use.)

    Hi Erin – I know Hadley is closer, but my in-laws are near the Hanover TJs so I go there and kill two birds with one stone… PJH

    Reply
  90. Lise M.

    Aren’t these the same cookies as your Chocolate Snaps? I roll out that dough and cut into 2″ circles and bake. For Valentine’s day, I cut out a small heart from 1/2 the cut-out circles, baked, and sandwiched them with a similar pink mint filling . I used 1/2 black cocoa and 1/2 Dutch cocoa and had nearly black cookies. They were beautiful and delicious. Thanks for this – and ALL the great recipes and inspirations.

    True, Lise, based on that recipe. I love doing linzer-type cookies with this dough, as you suggest—VERY striking. PJH

    Reply
  91. Knead2quilt

    I too am appalled at TJ’s decision and am one of the many who will not be buying (or even trying) their brand because I know that KAF is the absolute best. Quick suggestion for those who want to email TJ’s and protest, I can suggest that you join the Baking Circle. Many, if not most, of us are in the process of doing just that. Responses have not been positive, but we’re bombarding TJ with complaints. As for the person who thought Andronico’s and one other store in SF was the only place to get KAF and the price was too high, I say try Smart & Final. It’s only slightly higher than what TJ’s price but less than Andronico’s. A few months ago with KAF had to raise prices (along with all the other brands) to outrageousness, Andronico’s doesn’t seem to realize that prices have been lowered and they still charge close to $6 for a 5-lb bag. Smart & Final often has 10# bags and the price is reasonable. Now I need to go make some of those delicious-looking cookies. King Arthur forever!!

    THANKS for your support and for the valuable info. for KA fans in the SF area… PJH

    Reply
  92. Joe Fish

    The only reason I went to Trader Joe’s to begin with was because KAF was usually a dollar cheaper. I can cross them off the list entirely.

    It’s deeply disappointing that they’d close off their supply chain after products like yours made them popular to begin with.

    I feel bad for the people who will unwittingly buy the new flour and wonder what’s up with their baked goods.

    Reply
  93. Kay

    We’re with you TJ’s-wise. Happy to go an hour away to Danbury, Ct. even though there’s no 2 buck Chuck, as they have in California. However, we’re not missing King Arthur flour since the local Hannaford’s has been savvy enough to have it always in stock. Gotta tell you that making bread with your flour, SAF yeast, and your recipes is going so well it is an incredible and yummy source of satisfaction and pleasure. I may just be able to wean myself away from bread to make these cookies. They’ll be perfect for next year’s Oscar party! As this year’s trophy winner I have responsibilities.

    Yes, Hannaford’s has always carried our flour. Used to shop there when we lived in Maine; good store. I’m glad th bread is going so well for you, Kay- PJH

    Reply
  94. Amy

    I’m bummed to hear that TJ’s is no longer stocking KA flour. I bought KAF at TJ’s because I could purchase my preferred brand at a good price. The last time I was there, I noticed the price had gone up. That didn’t bother me too much; prices on everything are rising, and it was still a dollar or two cheaper than at other stores.

    I live in the San Francisco Bay area and I have seen KA flour at Safeway and PW Markets. I can’t remember the exact price, but I believe it was in the $6 range. I’ll have to check out Smart & Final, as previous commenters mentioned they purchased 10 lb. bags there.

    I would love to see 10 lb. bags in the Costco’s in this area. I go to Costco regularly (and I rarely go to Smart & Final).

    Reply
  95. Julie T.

    For Lulu who likes McCann’s steel cut oats. Love them also but not available in our rural area. I order steel cut oats (not McCann’s) in 25# bags from Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukie, Oregon. Very reasonable price.

    Reply

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