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TJ's Gingerbread Mix

Last year I thought Trader Joe's Gingerbread Mix was the best gingerbread I had ever tasted. This year it seems like a whole other product. (They stock it only in the holiday season and this year's just recently appeared.) Is this just me? And. if so, I'd really like to know who made last year's.

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  1. I made last year's mix in as a cake in an 8x8 pan. Used applesauce instead of oil. I thought it was delicious. How is this year's product different?

    2 Replies
    1. re: cheesecake17

      I didn't try last year's, and have not baked any this year, but we had some at a friend's house the other night and I was not impressed. Pale brown, dry, not particularly rich nor gingery, and tasting a little too much of soda. I was dying to grab the whipped-cream can and really douse it, but that would have been impolite. This stuff is so easy to make from scratch, I kinda don't see the point.

      1. re: Will Owen

        I guess I won't buy it then. Last year I bought the mix because it was cheap and I've never had gingerbread before that. It was something new to try without buying all the ingredients...

    2. Querencia,

      I am so sad to read this. I tried the mix last year on a weird whim - was looking for some gingerbread cookies they sold one year during the holidays and not finding them, I somehow ended up with the gingerbread mix.

      I used a couple of shots of espresso in place of some of the liquid and added dark chocolate bits. It turned out really well, nicely spicy and my friends who had it loved it. I was looking forward to buying the mix again this year, but now will probably skip it.

      If anyone does know who made it last year, please share the info!

      1. if anyone has a box left over from last year and can post the ingredient list, i can probably figure out who made it...

        10 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Amazingly enough, I found in my stack of recipe notes, that I had cut open the box from the mix and saved the portion of the box which includes the ingredients. I used it on 12/13/2009; not sure exactly when I bought it; probably within a few weeks before this date.

          Here is the ingredients list:
          Enriched unbleached flour, sugar, molasses powder, modified corn starch, ginger, cinnamon, soybean oil, salt, cocoa, polyglycerol esters, cloves, nutmeg, natural flavor.

          GHG- if you can figure it out, that would be great!

          If anyone has a box from this fall, I'm curious to know how different, or similar, the ingredient list is. -sou

          1. re: souvenir

            okay, i'm about 99% sure it was made by Dassant...

            http://www.dassant.com/product/4/ging...

            it's the only one with the exact same ingredients, though they're not listed *precisely* the same way...which makes sense, since the TJ's versions of these products are often mildly tweaked to be proprietary formulations.

            i hope this helps!

            1. re: souvenir

              Okay, here's this year's - seems similar: Enriched unbleached flour, sugar, molasses powder, modified corn starch, ginger, cinnamon, soybean oil, salt, cocoa, polyglycerol esters, sodium bicarbonate, cloves, nutmeg, natural flavor, tricalcium phosphate. Only the baking soda has been added; even with my nose burnt out I could taste that. The reason I have some, after dissing it, is that Mrs. O wants it for a prank, about which more later maybe …

              1. re: Will Owen

                The earlier recipe must have had baking powder or the equivalent in baking soda and powdered acid, other wise the result would have been a dense brick.

                1. re: paulj

                  I posted a follow up last night, but can't find it this morning, sigh.

                  Anyway, I saw Will Owen's post and went back over the list of ingredients. Indeed, sodium bicarb is on the box. Then I went to Dassant's web site and found it was on the ingredient list there as well. So, perhaps TJ's is still made by Dassant, and they decided to make the mix less spicy this year, based upon feedback from last year...? Or perhaps Dassant's is also less spicy, though since their product is called Ginger Gingerbread, I would hope not.

                  1. re: souvenir

                    Getting the right level of ginger is a challenge. If you like a strong ginger flavor you may need to add several tablespoons of the powdered (depending on its freshness).

                    As for making the bread moist, you need to look at methods for making any quick bread moist.

                    1. re: paulj

                      That's why the mix last year was such an unexpectedly pleasant find. I don't usually use mixes, so even though I had heard glowing things about it, I wasn't expecting it to be as good as I found it to be.

                      If I need to do this, I'd probably opt to try the 'Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread' you mentioned below instead, thanks!

                      1. re: souvenir

                        for the record, i think i just erased my 1% of uncertainly about Dassant being the manufacturer. there was a post in another thread about TJ's Truffle Brownie Mix, and after some sleuthing i determined that Dassant makes that one as well!

              2. goodhealthgourmet, souvenir, and all: brilliant sleuthing and a great group effort. As the saying goes, all of us are smarter than any of us. BTW Dassant is available on amazon.com in case it's not locally, wherever one may be. Screw Betty Crocker.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Querencia

                  Q- if you buy it and try it, please post how you think it compares. I'm not sure I would use 6 boxes. I wish Amazon or Dassant had a 6 box assortment. There are a couple other flavors I would try once as well. I am in California, and don't remember seeing this brand before, though I don't usually buy box mixes.

                2. There are 5 threads on homecooking about 'Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread', which is a good rich gingerbread.

                  1. I have a pkg left over from last year! I was getting ready to throw it out, but looked on the expiration date and it's still good. So I'm going to bake it up!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bjaye

                      Just wondering: how long after the expiration date is it still safe to use a dry cake mix?

                      1. re: LidaK

                        I do not believe there's any danger from any component, however old, as long as it's neither infested nor moldy and has been kept dry.

                        1. re: LidaK

                          it's not about safety as much as quality. as WO said, as long as its kept dry (and cool) it will still be edible well past the date, but the flavor may be less than ideal, and leavening agents such as baking powder can lose their oomph.

                      2. Alas, Querencia, I'm afraid its just you (or just me!) I have been purchasing this mix for maybe 5 years and it seems as great as ever... After all its been a whole year since the last TJ's Gingerbread mix was sold so taste and memory can change. I always buy half a dozen or more boxes (at only $2.50 each) and stash some in the freezer to keep and use till next year. I pulled the last one out a few weeks ago (as you noted, the best gingerbread or cookies...the mix can be used to make both...I have had...including many scratch "gourmet" recipes. I also just purchased eight mixes for the 2011/2012 supply and baked one...still pretty much the same...great. Mixes, ovens, ingredients added change such as water vs milk, special butter, free-range/organic eggs, raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. But I think this year's mix is as great as ever. It was the suggested that Dassant's may be similar, but at $7 a box on their website, why bother? Happy Holidays though!

                        http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-fl...

                        http://dassantstore.mybigcommerce.com...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: smachs

                          I still love TJ's gingerbread mix, including this year's (I don't know if they ever actually changed the recipe). I know gingerbread is super easy to make from scratch, as I've done so many times, but this mix is pretty killer. Nice and dark and spicy, and not overly sweet.

                          Found this thread in a web search and the Dassant information is fascinating -- thanks!

                        2. Maybe TJ's has gone back to the old recipe, but I just made up a pan and it is everything great gingerbread should be. I added a pinch of salt and a scant TBSP. of melted butter, 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans, 1/2 cup raisins; frosted it with buttercream w/the zest of a lemon. Tastes just like my grandmother's.