This $3.99 Trader Joe's Find Is Only Available During Summer—I'm Stocking Up Now

It’s a treat for both kids and kids at heart, alike.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

As an aspiring cookbook author and food journalist, I love visiting Trader Joe's to get ideas and see what's trending. On a recent visit with my family, it was obvious that strawberries are the theme this summer at TJ’s. If you’re like me and pink is your color and vibe, you’ll be right at home amidst pretty displays of pink yogurt-coated almonds, fizzy strawberry juice, strawberry shortcake cookies, and TJ’s new and limited-edition Strawberries & Crème Pancake & Waffle Mix.

The pancake and waffle mix comes in a pink box that’s both cartoonish and adorable, immediately catching my eye. On the box, copy-and-paste cartoon strawberries and white chocolate chips, plus a stack of pink pancakes topped with a whipped cream, greets you. The box promises “sweetened dried strawberries and white chocolatey chips.”

With a price of only $3.99, this mix is hard to resist. Without hesitation, I dropped a box into my red shopping cart, and now I wish I had gotten two.

Why I Love Trader Joe’s Strawberries & Crème Pancake & Waffle Mix

The moment I pulled the clear bag of mix out of the cute box, I gasped. I was expecting the mix to be as pink as the box. Instead, it was white, like unbleached all-purpose flour. I took a whiff, and a strong, sweet, and fruity scent immediately hit my inner child, reminding her of strawberry-flavored Pocky, Hi-Chew, and Nesquik.

Oh, and strawberry lip gloss and scratch-and-sniff stickers. Digging around the white mix, I found hidden teeny-tiny white chocolate chips and smaller-than-pea-sized bits of dried strawberries. Once cooked, the white chocolate chips soften and become slightly melty, and the dried strawberries get rehydrated.

Something magical happens once you add milk (or plant-based milk) to the mix. Everything immediately turns strawberry-milk-pink. I assume it’s the vegetable juice—likely beet—in the mix that reacts with liquid and blooms from white to a vibrant pink that matches the color of the box. Note, however, that when you cook the mix, the color fades into a pinkish-tan-brown.

<p>Simply Recipes / Trader Joe's</p>

Simply Recipes / Trader Joe's

How To Make This TJ’s Treat (and Make It Your Own)

The box comes with instructions to help you make either waffles or pancakes. For two eight-inch waffles or eight four-inch pancakes, you’ll need to whisk up a batter with 1 1/2 cups of the mix, 2/3 cups of milk or plant-based milk, two tablespoons of vegetable or neutral oil, and two eggs. Let the batter rest for a few minutes, then make either pancakes or waffles.

Being a recipe developer and a scientist at heart, of course, I deviated from the box instructions and decided to make jiggly Japanese souffle pancakes with the mix. Japanese pancakes are notoriously hard to master at home, but I succeeded.

Since my experiment was a success, I am positive I can make strawberry muffins, cakes, cake pops, and even cookies from this mix. After all, the mix already comes with components needed to bake various goodies, such as baking powder and flour.

How I Served My Pancakes Made from This Mix

Typically with pancakes and waffles, I always serve them with melty cubes of butter and, because I’m Canadian, a generous pour of real Canadian maple syrup. But since the not-too-sweet and subtly tarty pancakes I made from the mix were slightly pink and strawberry-flavored, I served them with a generous mountain of whipped cream from a can topped with slices of fresh strawberries to mimic strawberry shortcake. Inspired by Japanese desserts, I can also see myself serving these pancakes or waffles with sweetened red bean paste and a dusting of matcha.

I know I’ll be heading back to TJ’s soon to grab another box or two of this mix. I can’t wait to experiment and make more strawberry-flavored treats all summer long.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.