Last night I started my holiday baking, and it went much as it has in years past. I picked out my recipes, preheated the oven, pulled out all the ingredients, and just as I started measuring I realized that I was 1/4 cup shy of cocoa powder. So, everything was put on hold while I ran out to the grocery store. While the ingredient shortage always varies, I find myself in the same predicament every year.
Before you dive into holiday baking, make sure you have everything you need. Now is the time to take an inventory of what you have on hand. Here's a checklist to get you started!
There's no better time to stock up on baking supplies than right before you begin holiday baking. From the basics, like butter, sugar and flour, to some fun extras, like marzipan and colored sugar, here's everything you'll need!
- Butter - Keeping an extra pound or two of butter in the freezer is always a good back-up.
- Flour - If you have the room, purchase an extra 5 or 10-pound bag of flour. Store it in the freezer if you don't think you will use it up quickly to keep it fresh.
- Sugar - An extra bag or box of white, brown, and confectioners' sugar will come in handy.
- Cocoa powder - Don't worry about having too much cocoa powder — you can always use the leftovers to make hot chocolate all winter long.
- Chocolate - Stock up on a couple bars of good quality chocolate, as well as dark, milk, and white chocolate chips.
- Baking soda and baking powder - Now is the ideal time to check if these important ingredients have expired, and if necessary, replace them.
- Extracts - Good vanilla extract is a mainstay, but also consider almond and peppermint extract.
- Kitchen wrap - It never ceases to amaze me how much parchment paper, wax pepper, and aluminum foil I go through at this time of year.
- Instant espresso powder - Stir in a spoonful (or, two!) to the dry ingredients when you make any type of chocolate cookies. It will bring out the chocolate flavor even more!
- Colored sugar and sprinkles - These extras for perfect for decorated sugar cookies!
- Nuts - Pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds are a few our essentials.
- Shredded coconut - Whether you add it to cookies and bars, or make macaroons, this is a great ingredient to keep around.
- Molasses - It's a key ingredient for gingerbread and molasses spice cookies.
- Spices - Make sure you have plenty of cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
- Candied fruit - This is a less popular item, but an essential in fruit cakes and stolen.
- Puff pastry - It's always handy to keep puff pastry stashed in the freezer for a quick, last minute dessert.
What are your must-have ingredients for holiday baking?
(Image credits: Xiebiyun/Shutterstock; Christine Gallary)