Regular readers will know that Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to shop and I always look forward to their seasonal products. Seasonal releases include staples like canned pumpkin, puff pastry and sweetened condensed milk, but they also include fun new candies and baking mixes. This Trader Joe’s Maple Pecan Shortbread Bar Mix caught my eye in the “new products” section on my last visit and I was sold once an employee told me how good they were.
The box mix includes two packets of ingredients – one for the shortbread base and one for the topping – and you’ll need to provide your own butter, egg and water to bring everything together.
I like that the mix gives you a couple of different options for making the crust, allowing you to choose between cutting the butter in to the dry ingredients or softening the butter and creaming it in, depending on how much time you have and what tools you have in your kitchen. The crust mix is pressed into a square baking pan and baked, then topped with the crust mix. The crust mix is packed with nuts and creates a perfect layer on top of the shortbread. The maple pecan mix is sweet, so it’s good that it’s not too thick. The baked bars are very well balanced with their crisp, buttery base and a chewy, nutty topping. You get a lot of maple flavor because the topping uses maple sugar (an ingredient I would like to see again on shelves!) and not artificial maple flavoring. In fact, the bars have a very short ingredient list that reads almost exactly like a made-from-scratch recipe.
Not only were the bars tasty, but the baking mix was easy to use and the baking time on the package was accurate. In short, these bars get a thumbs up from me and I’ll definitely keep a box in my pantry for a quick dessert option this fall.