What To Stock Up On Now for Your Holiday Baking

Have you ever run out to the grocery store at the last minute in search of an ingredient for your holiday cookies, only to find that they're sold out? It's rare for a grocery store to sell out of an item but if they do, it's usually around the holidays. And for certain, the more holiday-like an item is, such as red and green colored sugar or marzipan, the more likely it is that you'll arrive only to find an empty shelf. It's better to be safe and stock up early.

This is especially true if you don't own a car or live in a large city and can't easily hop from one grocery store to another. I'll never forget the time that I took a bus to the store to purchase red and green colored sugar for my family's Santa treat, only to find that they were sold out. It was another two busses to the next store which was, of course, sold out, too. That was the year that Santa ate yellow and blue cookies.

The Basics:
It's unlikely that your local supermarket is going to run out of these, but it's nice to have them on hand for last-minute baking projects or emergency entertaining.

• An extra pound or two of butter in the freezer is a good back-up.
• 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.
• Extra bags of white, brown and powdered sugar are necessary. Dark brown sugar is nice, too.
• Several bars of good chocolate.
• Double check your supplies of baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla.
• You can go through a lot of parchment paper, waxed paper, and aluminum foil this time of the year.

The Extras:
• Stock up on colored sugar, especially if you have specific colors in mind and double-especially if they're red or green, as well as other cookie decorations.
• It's not at all unusual for a grocery store to run out of marzipan
• Check your supply of holiday spices such as cinnamon, ground cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and be sure you have enough.
Nuts, especially pecans, walnuts and almonds are essential.
• If you're thinking of gingerbread, make sure you have molasses.
• Fruitcakes and stolen often require candied fruit.
Coconut is also a poplar holiday baking ingredient.
• Frozen puff pastry and frozen pie dough (either homemade or a good brand) are nice to have stashed in the freezer.

What holiday baking items are you sure to stock up on this year?

Related: Good Food with Evan Kleinman: Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Baking

(Image: Dana Velden)