8 Essential Pantry Items for Baking

by zesty on August 13, 2012 · 20 comments

Happy Monday!!

We are driving back this morning from a family trip to Hakifax but I know when I get home, I have a couple of cookie orders to create for zesty junior.  So for that I give to you:  “Zesty’s Top 8 Essential Baking Ingredients”

Here is a list of necessities I put together after trying to bake the other night and realizing I had expired baking powder and no brown sugar.  Oh dear I said… off to the store I go – or better yet lets lie down on the couch and have some chips!

1. Flour

Instead of relying on just one kind of flour, lately I have been buying two small bags, both all purpose flour and cake & pastry flour.  Pastry flour has a finer texture and a high starch content.

I never buy the large bags of flour even when they are on sale as I find we don’t use them enough around here and after the bag has been unsealed, flour only keeps for six to eight months.

2. Sugar

For me, I like to have all the necessary ammo for sugars… White, brown and icing sugar should be on hand at all times.  Pretty much every baked good calls for good old sugar of some sort.

3. Spices

There’s a reason why holiday baking has a distinct aroma and that’s because of holiday spices. I find that ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg are essential spices for this time of year. be sure your spices are fresh before you start baking… nothing worse than a flat package of cinnamon.

4. Chocolate

Stock up on chocolate — if you can resist eating up your inventory. I suggest buying bittersweet, semi-sweet and unsweetened baking squares in advance, but to hold off on the more tempting varieties.

I recommend buying milk and white chocolate as required — otherwise they might get eaten before you need them. I am also a fan of chocolate chips. High quality semi-sweet chocolate chips are always good to have on hand for last-minute cookies.

5. Baking powder and Baking soda

Baking powder and baking soda help make dough rise and are essential components in the science of baking. Make sure to check the expiration on these babies or you will have a flat biscuit like I did one time when my baking powder had expired.

6. Nuts and dried fruits

A variety of tasty extras elevate humdrum holiday recipes to family favourites. Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, currants and cranberries to keep things interesting.

And don’t forget the nuts. Almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts are mainstays in many a festive dish, but feel free to substitute your favorites. You can buy nuts early and store them in the freezer until needed.

7. Vanilla

Pure vanilla extract is far superior in flavor, There really is no comparison to artificial, which is synthetically produced and one-dimensional.

8. Butter

Like it or not – there is nothing like the real thing.  Always have butter on hand as it freezes really well.  Don’t skimp and try to cut calories.  You are baking.  Use the real deal.  you will be rewarded in the end.

Now that you are stocked and ready to go, it’s time to break out your favourite recipes, pre-heat the oven and kick off the baking.

 

Have a super start to your week and I will talk to you on Wednesday.

Take care

zesty

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 coco

I think I have them all! :D
looking forward to see who will be the lucky winner!

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2 HangryPants

Great list – don’t forget the eggs!!!

I am going to be baking lots of cookies this year and hopefully, a special Christmas dessert yet to be determined!

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3 Mara

Cool! Thanks for the list! I always tend to forget SOMETHING

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4 Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter)

Hey Zesty, I’ve heard flour will keep longer in the freezer. Is this true? I hope so because I’ve got an ice cold bag I’m hoping to use. Great list, although we can’t keep chocolate chips in the house. My husband went through an entire Costco sized bag not too long ago. Dangerous!

This weekend, I’m trying a new cookie recipe. I think I will call them chocolate peppermint clouds. I love peppermint bark, but wanted to try a cookie version. If they turn out, I’ll post the recipe next week. Have a good weekend!

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5 VeggieGirl

Great list!!

Happy Friday!!

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6 Pearl

Hmmm zesty… what is the difference between pastry and cake flour? Or are they the same?

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7 Pam

Awesome list! I always have milk chocolate on hand- but at the same time, I don’t have a hard time refraining from eating it all.

I am starting in about 20 minutes with my neighbor gifts. I am gonna be baking (not kidding) 30 mini loaves of bread. Yeah- I am a glutton for punishment! :) BUT- Christmas isn’t Christmas without my mothers super (and I mean truly AMAZING) English Toffee and Peanut Brittle. Both of which are nearly impossible to make in the state I currently live in (darn high altitude!).

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8 Live.Love.Eat

Awesome list!!!!
I just baked some cakes in jars last night that I posted today but for Xmas I will be making a honey ricotta cheesecake, amaretto squares and maybe an apple cake.

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9 Jenn (eating bender)

Great list, Zesty! I did not know that about the flour – good thing I just bought a new bag :)

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10 Reeni

Great list, all the essentials. I have a list a mile long, 8 kinds of cookies, a gingerbread cake, cherry-chocolate cupcakes, a cheesecake,and a dulce de leche cake. Assorted candies, truffles, and chocolate covered pretzels. I’m tired just thinking about it!

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11 Judith

My next two projects are mint chocolate creme brulee (I don’t know if you’d call that baking, probably not) and quad shot espresso brownies, both recipes culled from blogs. I’m looking forward to a little chocolate kick.

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12 Marianne

Thanks for the list, I also only buy the small bags of flour, I have a small kitchen and storage is my main reason. I’ve heard of keeping flour in the freezer but haven’t tried that yet. I will be baking cookies, snickerdoodles, fruitcake, gingerbread men (and ladies of course) and the standard sugar cookies. Also will have to make my grandmothers pecan pie, everyone tries to steal my recipe but I am sworn to secrecy on that one! My son, home from college is going to bake some cheesecake brownies and a few other interesting desserts. We have a huge crowd on Christmas eve, so we have a dessert bar set up and it is always fun to see and taste the new treats that everyone brings.

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13 Chez US - Denise

These are GREAT tips – I have been doing the same thing on flour so much easier to have a few different ones instead of one big fat bag of flour. As well I learned something …. did not know that baking soda & powder expire – better go check mine!

Happy holidays.

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14 The Other Jessie :)

great list! I agree with the expiration dates, always check the packages because it will either come out funny or taste weird.

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15 Culinary Cory

Nice little list. I would also add eggs to the list. Since most cookie and bread recipes require eggs.

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16 Megan

I will be making a double layer pumpkin cheesecake. It is a favorite of my friends and family!

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17 AMY

I won’t be doing much baking but I have a list of several no bake cookies and candies that I plan to make for friends and neighbors this year. I decided to make peppermint bark for the first time and everything else is chocolate, peanut butter and pretzels in one form or another!! I also found a recipe for a buttermilk congealed salad that my grandma used to make on southernplate.com. I made it once this week and it disappeared overnight!

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18 Chef E

Great Post!

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