Whether baking a cake, cookies or pies (and other delicious desserts as well), certain ingredients show up as the basic essentials for the start of most recipes. Having these on hand will save you the troubles of remembering to buy them but will also allow you to whip something up whenever the mood strikes.
Flour. Having a large bag of flour on hand is often the best way to go when buying for baking. Flour is used to not only leaven items but also to stop dough’s from sticking to surfaces. Rub flour lightly on a rolling pin before rolling out dough to help keep it together and off the pin. Generally, the choice of flour is up to you and there are several varieties to choose from.
Sugar. You can’t have baked goods without sugar. Make sure to have both a bag of granulated sugar and light-brown sugar on hand. While granulated sugar can be measured easily, make sure to pack brown sugar down in the measuring cup instead of simply grabbing it out of the bag. If a recipe calls for dark-brown sugar, do not sub the light-brown. Dark-brown has more molasses which changes the taste in the recipe.
Baking Soda. If you’ve dealt with a smelly fridge or musty pantry, you might already have baking soda on hand. Used often to absorb odors in the home, baking soda is a very common ingredient in many recipes. Baking soda is made of a type of sodium bicarbonate and helps baked goods rise. Make sure to add baking soda as one of the last ingredients because it reacts quickly in the recipe and won’t allow things to rise if added to early on.
Baking Powder. It’s easy to confuse baking powder for baking soda or think that with one, the other isn’t needed but that definitely isn’t true. Baking powder is also made of a sodium bicarbonate but has other additives as well and helps to make baked goods light and airy as opposed to dense. Baking powder also reacts very quickly in recipes so make sure to get your mixture in the oven right away.
Salt. It may seem surprising that salt is a common ingredient if you don’t often bake but usually a little bit is added. Table salt or Kosher salt can be used in recipes, the only difference being that Kosher salt has bigger crystals.
Vanilla Extract. Used in most recipes to add a little flavor, even a small bottle of vanilla extract will go a long way. The taste is strong so it’s common for only very small amounts to be added.
Having these items in the pantry at all times will definitely help you when it’s time to put something together. Additional items such as chocolate chips or powdered sugar are not as widely used but also very common. Having a small bag of ingredients like these on hand all the time can only increase the amount of recipes you can quickly throw together.