Trader Joe’s always offers great value on their baking mixes, putting out products that are both of higher quality and at lower prices than comparable baking mixes from other stores. One of their most recent additions to their array of baking products is Trader Joe’s Lemon Shortbread Bar Mix, a very summery option for lemon-lovers. As a lemon fan myself, I couldn’t wait to give these bars a try.
The mix contains two packets: one for the filling and one for the shortbread base. You need to add your own butter to the base, as well as fresh eggs and lemon juice to the filling. The base mixture comes together in seconds with softened butter in a mixing bowl, and it is the pressed into a pan and baked until it is golden. Both the filling and base mixtures contain powdered lemon juice, which gives the shortbread a great flavor on its own and also helps to amplify the lemon flavor in the filling. It’s a small touch, but a thoughtful one that works well.
The mix uses a technique that I often use in my from-scratch bars, where the base is baked and the filling is poured on top while the shortbread is still hot. I love this technique because it saves a lot of time, but still produces bars with a tender filling and crisp bottom crust. The technique didn’t fail me with this mix, either, and yielded bars that were perfectly cooked both top and bottom.
I really enjoyed this mix and would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes lemon bars and wants an easier way to make them. The filling is creamy and has a great lemon flavor. It sets up well and is easy to slice, but doesn’t feel like it has too many fillers in it (a problem with some commercial mixes that from-scratch lemon bars avoid). The shortbread is crisp, yet tender, and has just enough lemon flavor to support the filling. While sometimes I feel that a mix needs additional ingredients to amp up the flavor, I didn’t feel that this was the case here. This is a great option for an easy lemon bar on short notice – so keep a box on hand and pull it out when life gives you some lemons!!