Now that it is officially fall and I have finished (well, almost) decorating the house (you can see my fall decorating results here), I can think about holiday cooking, baking and entertaining.
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Tuesday Tip Day
As you think about cooking, baking and entertaining, you might check your pantry for some essential ingredients. Here are what I think are
10 Essential Ingredients for your Fall Pantry
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If you don’t already have these ingredients, put them on your grocery list. Most of these are available at your local market or you can buy them online at Amazon, King Arthur Flour, Sur la Table. Some ingredients, such as spices will keep for about 6 months. Others, such as nuts, will last longer if kept tightly wrapped in your freezer. And some, such as vanilla extract, will last until they are used up.
Let’s start with an absolutely must-have. I keep several cans of pumpkin puree on hand for cake, cupcakes, bread, cheesecake, even pancakes. Libby’s is my go-to brand.
I can’t bake without having pecans on hand. They go in breads, brownies, salads, mixed with other nuts and spices to make a tasty snack. I buy mine in bulk and keep them in the freezer. Unless your recipe calls for pieces, buy the halves; they are a little more expensive, but I think they keep longer.
Walnuts are another favorite nut to use in baking. I also love to add them to fall and winter salads.
I love pumpkin seeds. They are great to eat out of hand and they are good for you. Sprinkle them in salads or toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
Now for baking ingredients: Pumpkin Extract can add an extra flavor dimension to pumpkin pie, bread or anything you want to have a more intense pumpkin flavor.
Apple Pie is part of our fall baking and Apple Pie Spice increases the flavor of any baking apple. Although ingredients may vary, apple pie spice can be a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, mace, or nutmeg. Great for adding to applesauce, muffins, cookies and quick breads.
Cinnamon is always an essential ingredient in fall baking and cinnamon from Vietnam is considered the best. Its flavor is richer than other brands.
Have you ever made a cake without vanilla extract? Probably not. It is such an essential ingredient in all baking. Buy only pure vanilla extract. Don’t scrimp or go cheap on this ingredient; avoid the “vanilla flavor” versions. Here’s where spending a little more pays off in clean vanilla flavor and aroma. My favorite brand by far is Nielsen-Massey made with vanilla beans from Madagascar and steeped in Bourbon, not vodka. A little goes a long way. As wonderful as it smells and tastes in baked goods, don’t try to taste it ~ it doesn’t taste good.
Maple syrup isn’t just for pouring over your pancakes, French toast or waffles. I love to use it to make a vinaigrette. Pour over bacon and bake (that is so OMG good). Drizzle it over ham or pork.
If you want an even richer flavor and thicker texture, try molasses instead of maple syrup. It’s strong, so I buy the mild version.
I hope that these recommendations will get you thinking about fall baking. Do you have some other favorite ingredients? Share with me and other readers what they are. And let’s get baking.