Catch yourself eyeing the dessert case at the local diner? Are you daydreaming of your neighbor’s “Famous Cookie Recipe”? It’s time to tie on that apron, preheat the oven and get baking! We’re here to show you how to stock (and bake with!) the ultimate Baker’s Pantry, full of items you can find right at your local ShopRite.
First things first, you need to stock up on some basic flours. Flour is the foundation of many of our favorite cakes, cookies, breads, brownies and more. The main staples you’ll want to stock up on include:
- All Purpose Flour – this is your basic, go-to baking flour
- Cake Flour – has a lower protein level than all-purpose flour, helping cakes and cupcakes attain a light/fluffy texture
- Whole Wheat Flour – can be added to muffin and bread recipes and others to add a little extra fiber to your finished baked good
- Bread Flour – has a higher protein level than all-purpose flour, which is important for giving bread its sturdy shape and texture
- Self-Rising Flour – all-purpose flour that has been sifted with a leavening agent, such as baking powder
- Rolled Oats – essential for oatmeal cookies!
- Gluten-Free Flours – flours made without the traditional wheat base. These come in a variety of blends, with corn, rice and nut flours making up the majority of the foundation of the flour. Some gluten free flours can also include leaveners or stabilizers to help gluten-free baked goods retain their structure
Note: all of the recipes we share throughout this series use all-purpose flour, because it’s what most of us have on hand in our pantries. Once you’ve nailed down the basics, head to your local ShopRite and pick up some of these other flours to change up your favorite recipes!
Fats and Oils
Fats are what give baked goods their flavor and to a lesser extent their texture; different fats react differently to produce different flavors and textures in our baked goods. Love crispy cookies? The recipe probably used melted butter. Do you prefer soft, pillowy cookies instead? The butter should be soft, almost at room temperature, but definitely not melted.
We can’t talk about baking without talking about butter! Butter is a major player in your baking pantry and the quality you choose counts. Your favorite buttercream frosting is just 3 ingredients: butter, powdered sugar and a splash of cream. If you’re butter isn’t good, you’re buttercream won’t be either.
Our go-to butters come from our Wholesome Pantry line. Our Wholesome Pantry Organic Sweet Cream Unsalted Butter is perfect for your favorite brownies, cookies, cakes and more! Our Wholesome Pantry Organic Salted Butter can add a touch of flavor to recipes like classic corn muffins and sweet/salty desserts.
Besides butter, you’ll want to be sure to stock up on other classic fats like vegetable oil, canola oil and coconut oil.
Leaveners are what make our favorite cakes and cookies rise. If you stock up on these 3 essentials, you’ll be covered for most basic baking recipes:
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Cream of Tartar
Dairy and Eggs
These go hand in hand with the fats we discussed earlier. They add flavor and texture to our baked goods and can adjust their overall consistency. Start with eggs (we vote for our Wholesome Pantry Fortified Eggs) and build out your list with these essentials:
- Whole Milk
- Plain Yogurt
- Heavy Cream
- Half and Half
Sweeteners and Mix Ins
You didn’t think we forgot about sugars, did you? Sugar, much like many of the other categories we’ve discussed here, plays a pivotal role in providing flavor and texture to desserts and baked goods. Granulated sugar helps the edges of cookies become golden brown, while brown sugar lends added moisture to our favorite morning muffins. Other sweeteners, like honey, add a hint of unique flavor and can be instrumental in lowering the sugar content of baked goods.
Keep these sweeteners on hand for easy quick baking:
- Granulated Sugar
- Brown Sugar (Light or dark is a flavor preference, choose what you like best!)
- Powdered Sugar
- Honey or Agave
Flavorful Mix Ins
This is where many bakers get to stretch their creative muscles! Making oatmeal cookies? Throw in a handful of raisins, chocolate chips or even fresh blueberries to change up a single recipe.
Our go-to mix ins for baked goods include:
- Chocolate chips
- White Chocolate chips
- Dark Chocolate chunks
- Dried fruit
- Chopped nuts (think almonds, pecans, etc)
- Shredded Coconut
- Crushed toffee bits
And don’t forget about fresh fruit! These simple sweets can take your desserts from good to out of this world in moments:
- Lemons or Limes
But What Do I DO With All of It?
Now that you’ve stocked up, it’s time to put on that apron, preheat the oven and get baking! We’ve listed out a few of our favorite recipes to help you get started below:
Cakes Cupcakes and Pies
Cookies and Bars
- Coconut Sugar–Lemon Bars
- Easy Berry Bars
- Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies with Pistachios, Orange & Sea Salt
Muffins & Breads
Stay tuned for next month’s spotlight on Latin cooking, where we show you how to stock your pantry to cook with classic Central and South American flavors!