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


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