The 6 Baking Supplies I Only Get at Trader Joe’s
Before I moved to Martha’s Vineyard, I shopped at Trader Joe’s regularly for both my household groceries and my baking business. The quality is consistently high and the price tags are impressively low. While the shop is a treasure trove of affordable ingredients — maple syrup, honey, jam, dried fruit, nut butters, flours, oils, spices, and extracts — I’ve whittled my must-have, only-from-Trader-Joe’s baking essentials down to a manageable list. Every time I’m on the mainland (sadly, the island has yet to get its own location), I make sure to stock up on these items.
1. Freeze-Dried Berries, $3.99 for 1.2 ounces
These are the best for adding flavor and color to buttercream. Incorporating fresh fruit in frosting can cause the texture to become watery or runny before getting a robust berry flavor, while jam can make an already sugar-packed icing way too sweet. I’ve found the best way to make berry frosting is to give freeze-dried fruit a whirl in the food processor, then beat the pulverized dried berries in with the butter and sugar.
I really go overboard in the nut section. They’re just so affordable here! On my list: Raw Slivered Almonds ($3.49 for 8 ounces), Raw Pecan Pieces ($4.99 for 8 ounces), Raw Pistachio Nutmeats ($5.99 for 8 ounces), Roasted Unsalted Peanuts ($2.99 per pound), Raw Walnut Halves & Pieces ($4.99 per pound), and Pine Nuts ($9.99 for 8ounces). The quality is awesome and the price is about half what I would pay at a mainstream grocery store. I buy half a dozen bags each time I go to Trader Joe’s and store them in my freezer until I need them.
I love the 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Chips ($2.49 for 10 ounces). They’re the base for my triple chocolate cookies and many other of my favorite baking recipes. The Pound Plus ($4.99 for 500 grams) giant chocolate bars (which come in both dark and milk varieties) are perfect for making chocolate shavings and curls for cake decorating. I also recently started buying Completely Cacao Chips ($2.99 for a 6.34-ounce bag). These chips are organic and great for recipes that call for unsweetened chocolate; no need to chop up a bar of “baking chocolate.”
4. Lemon Curd, $2.99 for 10.5 ounces
While I love to make as many things from scratch as possible, homemade is not always the best solution when trying to operate a business. Sometimes, there’s a better, cheaper product out there that can save you time and headaches. For me, that’s lemon curd. This magic little jar of curd does the trick for lemon cake and cupcake fillings.
5. Butter, $2.99 per pound
For a (non-vegan, non-Paleo) baker, butter is the backbone of the kitchen. Specifically, having a stockpile of unsalted butter on hand is a must. I purchased 12 pounds of Trader Joe’s butter on my last run because the price and quality are hard to beat; I just keep it in my freezer and use it as needed.
6. Whipping Cream, $1.39 for 8 ounces
This might be my favorite Trader Joe’s product of all. While a staple in other countries (at least in Europe), shelf-stable cream is remarkably hard to find in the United States. I love having a robust stock in my pantry for making ganache, pie fillings, whipped cream topping, mousse, cream biscuits, sauces (both sweet and savory), homemade ice cream … I could go on. But, instead, I think I’ll change gears and book a ferry for my next Trader Joe’s stock-up expedition.
What are the baking supplies you only get at Trader Joe’s? Tell us in the comments below!