Grocery shopping in NYC is no easy task! I know so many people that order groceries online simply because they can’t deal with bare shelves and limited selection. However, Trader Joe’s stores are slowly spreading throughout the city. I usually have to wait in an almost comically long line to check out but it’s worth it for these hard-to-find products at TJ’s prices.
Freeze Dried Fruit
Freeze dried fruit carries all the flavor punch of a piece of fruit without the extra moisture. It can also be ground up to disappear into pie fillings or frostings without the gummy texture of dried fruit. With all these benefits it’s absolutely crazy that most grocery stores don’t carry freeze dried fruit...but it’s true! Not the case with Trader Joe’s. I love the freeze dried strawberries, and I’ve heard great things about the blueberries and pineapple.
They are constantly coming out with new kinds of jams and preserves and they are all unique flavors I haven’t seen anywhere else. The Peach Bellini was my all-time favorite (pleasee come back in the summer!) but I’m also loving the Apple Cider Jam that’s out right now. These jams are perfect for the center layer of stack cakes or petit fours.
Nuts can be the most expensive ingredient in classic desserts like pecan pie. Trader Joe’s stocks all kinds of bulk nuts (most with several different preparations like salted, unsalted, roasted, or dry roasted) at rock bottom prices. Many of the bags are re-sealable so storing any extra nuts for your next baking project is a breeze.
Alternate Nut Butter Cups
Those simple thumbprint cookies with a peanut butter cup in the center are always a crowd pleaser...unless someone can’t have peanuts! (Allergies are no joke!) I love the almond butter mini-cups and sunflower butter cups that Trader Joe’s sells. Same yummy texture of the classic peanut butter cup, none of the allergy concern!
Bourbon Vanilla Extract
The price is sooo nice on the Bourbon Vanilla Extract but it’s the flavor I’m an even bigger fan of with this product. The bourbon adds a subtle depth that is almost spiced to this extract that really creates an “it” factor in baked goods. I especially like to use it in recipes with a lot of brown sugar.
They are constantly coming out with new kinds of jams and preserves and they are all unique flavors I haven’t seen anywhere else. The peach bellini was my all-time favorite (pleasee come back in the summer!) but I’m also loving the Apple Cider Jam that’s out right now. These jams are perfect for the center layer of stack cakes or petitfores.
This is the BEST sugar for rolling peanut butter cookies in or making the crunchy crust on a crème brûlée. At standard stores you can usually only find turbinado sugar under the pricey brand name Sugar in the Raw. Sometimes it’s available as little packets for coffee instead of a bulk bag which is no help when you need to roll four dozen cookies! The baking section at Trader Joe’s always has large resealable bags of turbinado.
The cereal varieties at TJ’s might not be name brand but they are just as good and half the price. When I make my Cereal Bowl dough (the recipe is now out in the world in my new cookbook, "Hello, Cookie Dough") I love to experiment with different cereal flavors. The Hot Cocoa Os were a hit last year and they’re back in stock! Even if you aren’t using it to bake a huge box of cereal for a little more than $1 is a great thing to have around the house.
You can use any flavor in my Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie recipe. Trader Joe’s has tons of flavor options (I’m in love with the Maple Ginger Cookie Swirl ice cream topped with my Pumpkin Spice Blondie dough right now) and they come in this nifty three-pint size! One pint is too tiny and a gallon feels dangerous to have close by 😂, somehow TJ’s knew three pints was the perfect size. The Goldilocks test of my freezer!
Living in NYC cage-free eggs can get wildly expensive. But not at Trader Joe’s! They have both standard shell eggs (that I use for the to-die-for crème brûlée in my cookbook, “Hello, Cookie Dough”) and pasteurized egg whites that I use when I’m making all things unbaked and doughlicious. I keep eggs stocked in my fridge so they’re a no-brainer on every grocery trip.
Not exactly a baking essential but when you’re baking it’s often for a party or to brighten someone’s day. Trader Joe’s has adorable cards with all kinds of messages from “Thank You” to “I Miss You” for $0.99! I stock up on all the Birthday and Thank You cards because you just never know when you’ll need to jot down a quick note on a card for someone.