Nov 24, 2012

Holiday Baking Pantry Essentials

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Psst. Over here! Hi! Peeking out from behind the curtain of Thanksgiving weekend! Is it time yet? Can we all start baking like deranged, totally inspired people? 

I seriously hope so. We’ve been holding out too long, my fellow kitchen elves. I have so many recipes clipped and bookmarked, it’s ’bout to get crazy up in here. Let’s do this!

To kick things off, I thought I’d pull out a video from the archives that has me rattling off my baking pantry essentials. It’s basically a top 10 list of a bare bones bakers’ arsenal that will allow you to make pretty much whatever, whenever with craveworthy results (minus leaveners like baking powder and soda–now’s a good time to buy fresh boxes of both). Here’s the rundown:

1. All-purpose flour. Obvi.

2. Granulated sugar. The cornerstone of many a great baking recipe.

3. Cornstarch. The baker’s magic ingredient. See video for evidence.

4. Eggs. Large, please.

5. Unsalted butter. So you can control the salt in recipes. Also, because salt is a preservative, unsalted butter is most often fresher than its salted counterpart.

6. Salt. Table salt is just fine, fine sea salt is great. Flaky, coarse salt (like Maldon) is divine for finishing and adding crunch.

7. Dark brown sugar. Same price as light brown, major flavor points.

8. Vietnamese cinnamon. You’ll never go back to plain old ground cinnamon. Trust.

9. Pure vanilla extract. I keep two varieties: one basic, all-purpose supermarket vanilla, one fancy for vanilla-forward recipes.

10. Instant espresso powder. Bumps up chocolate flavor, big time.

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