This season, Trader Joe’s added a new pumpkin baking mix to their fall lineup: Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Baking Mix. The mix promises to be a good alternative to TJ’s popular pumpkin loaf mix, which is a more traditional mix that uses wheat flour. As a fan of all things pumpkin, I couldn’t resist picking up a box to taste test at home.
This mix contains dried pumpkin and there is enough of it to translate to a good pumpkin flavor in the finished loaf. The bread has a wonderful aroma in the oven and smells even better once you take it out. The loaf was very moist and very tender, with plenty of pumpkin and spice in every bite. I did find that the bread needed a longer baking time than the package indicated by about 5 minutes in my oven, but a few extra toothpick-tests ensure dthat the bread baked evenly. The loaf that I underbaked was unpleasantly soft, so I really recommend double checking for doneness before taking your loaf out of the oven. Once I had the baking time sorted out, the loaf was very good – gluten free or not!
I would definitely consider picking up another box of this mix to have on hand for the holiday season, especially if I thought I would need to be prepared for gluten free items on short notice. It has a good flavor and is easy to use. The only modification I would recommend making is to cut down on the oil by 2-3 tablespoons. The bread is both moist and tender even with less oil, and cutting back helps the bread seem a bit less dense (and makes it a little lower in fat, too). Another nice addition might be to stir in 1/2 cup of chopped, toasted nuts to add some contrasting texture to the loaf.