This $3.99 Trader Joe’s Find Is Only Available During Summer—I’m Stocking Up Now

This $3.99 Trader Joe's Find Is Only Available During Summer—I'm Stocking Up Now

As an aspiring cookbook author and food journalist, I love visiting Trader Joe's to get ideas and see trends. During a recent visit with my family, it was obvious that strawberries were the theme this summer at TJ's. If you're like me and pink is your color and vibe, you'll be right at home amid pretty displays of pink yogurt-covered almonds, sparkling strawberry juice, strawberry shortcake cookies, and the new edition TJ Limited. Strawberries and Cream Pancake and Waffle Mix.

The pancake and waffle mix comes in a cartoonish yet adorable pink box, which immediately catches my eye. On the box, copy-pasted cartoon strawberries and white chocolate chips, along with a stack of pink pancakes topped with whipped cream, greet you. The box promises “sweetened dried strawberries and white chocolate chips.”

Priced at just $3.99, this blend is hard to resist. Without hesitation, I placed a box in my red basket, and now I wish I had two.

Why I love Trader Joe's Strawberries and Cream Pancake and Waffle Mix

The moment I took the clear bag of mix out of the pretty box, I gasped. I expected the mixture to be as pink as the can. Instead, it was white, like unbleached all-purpose flour. I took a whiff and a strong, sweet, fruity scent immediately hit my inner child, reminding him of Pocky, Hi-Chew, and strawberry Nesquik.

Oh, and strawberry lip gloss and scratch and sniff stickers. As I rummaged around the white mixture, I found tiny hidden white chocolate chips and pieces of dried strawberries smaller than the size of a pea. Once cooked, the white chocolate chips will soften and melt slightly, and the dried strawberries will rehydrate.

Something magical happens when you add milk (or plant-based milk) to the mix. Everything immediately turns milk-strawberry pink. I assume it's the vegetable juice – probably beetroot – in the mixture that reacts with the liquid and blooms from white to a bright pink that matches the color of the can. Note, however, that when you cook the mixture, the color turns pinkish brown.

Simple Recipes / Trader Joe's


How to Make This TJ's Treat (and Make It Your Own)

The box comes with instructions to help you prepare waffles or pancakes. For two eight-inch waffles or eight four-inch pancakes, you will need to whip up a batter with 1 1/2 cups of the mixture, 2/3 cup of milk or plant-based milk, two tablespoons of plant-based or neutral milk. oil and two eggs. Let the dough rest for a few minutes, then make either pancakes or waffles.

Being a recipe developer and scientist at heart, of course, I deviated from the box instructions and decided to make Japanese soufflé pancakes with the mixture. Japanese pancakes are notoriously difficult to master at home, but I managed.

Since my experiment was a success, I'm sure I can make strawberry muffins, cakes, cake pops and even cookies from this mixture. After all, the mixture already contains the necessary components for baking various treats, such as baking powder and flour.

How I served my pancakes made from this mixture

Typically with pancakes and waffles, I always serve them with cubes of melting butter and, because I'm Canadian, a generous dose of real Canadian maple syrup. But since the not-too-sweet, subtly tart pancakes I made from the mix were slightly pink and strawberry-flavored, I served them with a generous mound of canned whipped cream topped with fresh strawberry slices to mimic shortcake of strawberries. Inspired by Japanese desserts, I can also see myself serving these pancakes or waffles with sweet red bean paste and a sprinkling of matcha.

I know I'll be heading back to TJ's soon to pick up another box or two of this blend. I can't wait to experiment and make more strawberry treats throughout the summer.

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