Week six of eight in a series:
We’re nearing the end of this series on how to stock your pantry with baking essentials over several weeks rather than doing it in one expensive fell-swoop.
This week, inventory your pantry and make sure you have the flavoring extracts and emulsions, as well as butter and other fats needed to bake whatever your heart and family will desire during the holiday season (and beyond).
Let’s talk first about butter and other fats used in baking. Recipes will call for everything from butter, salted and unsalted, to vegetable oils and shortenings. I stock up on high-quality butters and coconut oil for most of my recipes. Many recipes require vegetable oils and even Crisco. Be careful if you are wanting to make substitutions in this area, whether for convenience or healthy optimization. Changing up the fats in a recipe will change its structure, appearance and taste significantly, especially in cookies and pie crusts.
Also super important to flavor in baking recipes is the addition of flavor extracts, pastes and emulsions. Thinking about the items you are wanting to make this season, you will definitely be using vanilla extract or whole vanilla beans. A quick note about extracts; use REAL vanilla, not imitation! Some lesser common extracts may not be available in the pure form, but whenever you can find real flavors, it’s worth the extra cost.
Other flavorings might include instant coffee or espresso. These crystallized flavorings deepen any recipe made with chocolate and will bring a chocolate ganache over-the-top in flavor.
- Salted butter
- Unsalted butter
- Crisco or other shortening
- Coconut Oil
- Vanilla extract and/or vanilla bean
- Almond extract
- Instant coffee crystals
- Instant Espresso