Pantry Basics for Holiday Baking
These coming months are filled with baking opportunities and sometimes they are last minute – the school bake sale your child forgot to tell you about, the eleventh hour potluck invite – so it makes sense to have your pantry ready to go at a moments notice. Here are your 10 Must-Haves for Your Holiday Pantry to get your through the season.
Butter! – Start looking for sales on unsalted butter and keep a few pounds in the freezer.
Cinnamon – You should probably take a look at your ginger, nutmeg and cloves, too, but cinnamon is by far the most used spice and you want it nice and fresh and in quantity so that you don’t run out.
Light Brown Sugar – Chances are you have granulated white sugar on hand but light brown sugar is in demand for everything from pumpkin pie to fruitcake, banana bread and gingerbread cookies.
Confectioners’ Sugar – While we are talking sugar, stock up on confectioners’ sugar, too. It will come in handy for royal icing and glazes for decorated cookies, buttercream and cream cheese frosting.
Lemons/Lemon juice – It’s nice to think that we will always have a fresh lemon around but we have no problem with frozen pure lemon juice. Fruit pie fillings are enhanced by lemon juice as is cream cheese frosting and lemon curd is a great item to keep in the fridge.
Leaveners – Baking powder and baking soda have a shelf-life and you want to make sure they have enough oomph for helping your holiday baked goods rise to the occasion. Buy new ones! We like to transfer our baking a soda into an airtight container like the one shown in the image.
Fluted Paper Liners – Cupcakes are in demand for bake sales and birthday parties (school and office) and muffins make a great hostess gift or breakfast for visiting guests. Fluted paper liners make a pretty presentation and make for easier clean up. Stock up on some basic colors as well as some with holiday themes.
Colored Sugars – Reaching for colored sugars might be obvious for decorated cookies but if you have them on hand you will use them for decorating casual cakes, on top of muffins, cupcakes and more. Add some sparkle to the holidays!
Airtight tins – We are dollar store devotees and we especially love to stock up on cookie tins this time of year. They are perfect for gift giving or even for your own baked goods – you do store your chocolate chip separately from your gingerbread, don’t you? Flavor transfers easily from one baked good to another, which is why we are proponents of every cookie getting its own tin. You will most likely find a plethora of holiday inspired tins, but keep an eye out for solid red, green, gold and silver and stockpile those for year-round. Read about shipping baked goods, too.
Zipper-top bags – With all the baking happening you are bound to end up with extra nuts, coconut, cookie crumbs (from crusts) and other assorted ingredients leftover from a recipe. It takes room to store containers, but you will always have space for a box of heavy-duty zipper-top bags. They are our go-to storage solution – just make sure you label the bag! And freezing most of these items is the best way to go.
Image: Peter Muka