10 Fun Ingredients to Have on Hand Just Because

published Feb 22, 2017
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(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

Snow days are like unplanned, inconvenient little vacations. All your plans are cancelled whether you like it or not. (Surprise!) Resistance is futile. There is nothing to do but lean in. That includes partaking in cooking projects and indulging in some special-occasion treats. What else are you going to do?

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  1. Unpopped popcorn: The ultimate snack for hunkering down and staying in, popcorn is satisfying, festive, and very, very easy. Top it with salt, or cinnamon-sugar, or matcha with dark chocolate, if you are feeling more ambitious.
  2. Basic baking supplies: Do you have flour, salt, sugar, yeast, etc.? I would not classify yeast, in itself, as a “fun ingredient,” but it is handy to have around for baking projects of all kinds. What are snow days even for, if not for getting in touch with your inner pioneer?
  3. Real maple syrup: Drizzle it over pancakes. Add a splash to your drink for a very seasonal cocktail. For a truly classic snow day, make maple snow candy, Little House on the Prairie-style (although depressingly, this one depends somewhat on your comfort with the air quality in your area).
  4. Cocoa powder: I mean, you don’t have to drink hot chocolate on a snow day, but don’t prematurely deprive yourself of the option.
  5. Marshmallows: See above.
  6. Sprinkles and icing: Cookie decorating is an ideal snow-day activity. I was going to add “for little ones,” but that would be incorrect. It is an ideal snow day activity for everyone, and we should be prepared at all times.
  7. Chocolate chips: Another baking supply, I know, but if ever there is a time to make classic chocolate chip cookies, it is now.
  8. Good cheese: Snow days aren’t just about sweet treats. Have on hand some wedges that you can eat off a cheese board and also stuff to mix into hearty comfort foods like mac and cheese and lasagna. After all, you must replenish your calories. You’ve been shoveling so much snow!
  9. Dumpling wrappers (and stuff to put in them): For a change of pace, a savory snow-day cooking project. Hand-filled dumplings are delicious but labor-intensive, which is perfect because it’s not like you’ll be going anywhere.
  10. Red wine (plus mulling fruits and spices): There comes a time, during a snow day, when it becomes appropriate to transition from hot chocolate to stronger stuff, if you are so inclined. It is perfectly respectable to drink your wine straight — you might quite reasonably prefer it — but to achieve peak coziness, some mulling is in order.

What else do you treat yourself to on a snow day?