Published on December 7, 2019

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Photo by Aaron Bengochea

Aside from being the center of the occasional debate on the best way to cook cauliflower gnocchi, Trader Joe’s isn’t known for being controversial. (Probably a good thing, considering it’s a grocery store.) But a recent podcast episode may have just changed that: Employees walked listeners through a few upcoming products slated to hit shelves in the near future, and, suffice to say, things got weird. 

Examples like “an advent calendar for cats” and “pumpkin spiced face masks” were tossed around casually. The announcement of Beyond Burger–esque plant-based patties—meant to resemble actual meat, though they “don’t do [faux] blood,” says Marcy Kopelman of the product development team—was met with excited laughter. Then amid the flurry of new products, they mentioned a couple Frankensteinian goodies arriving soon. Whether they’ll become pantry staples or not is still very much up in the air, but here they are: the two wonderfully bizarre Trader Joe’s releases we can’t wait to get our hands on, along with funky serveware suggestions befitting their character.

Chocolate Lava Gnocchi 

Yes, you read that right. The dumpling-like dinner favorite has taken a turn for the dessert table, inspired, according to TJ’s product development team member Lori Lotta, by a similar item at Harrods in London. This version takes around the same time as its cauliflower counterpart to cook—they only need a quick pan browning with a little bit of butter.

Serve: In individual bowls at your next dinner party. No one needs to know they came from the frozen aisle. 

Kung Pao Chicken Mochi Balls

Trader Joe’s just turned an entrée into a last course, so it’s only fitting that it does the reverse, too. Traditionally a sweet treat, this new mochi is anything but: “The idea of this came from a meal we had in Tokyo, where we had some mochis,” explains Lotta. “Something similar [to them] was in a soup, and then some were fried. The fried ones were incredible, so we asked someone to make a [more flavorful] version of what we had in Japan.” The TJ’s ones have the standard rice-based exterior but are filled with spicy Kung Pao chicken. The whole thing takes about 12 minutes in a toaster oven to get crispy. What’s not to love? 

Serve: As an appetizer on a large platter, to pass around to bemused cocktail party guests. 

See more Trader Joe’s stories: 
10 Products Domino Editors Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
The Easy Hack That’ll Take Your Cauliflower Gnocchi to the Next Level
Trader Joe’s Released Its Best-Seller List; This Product Is a Clear Winner

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