Ready or not, friends, the holiday season is quickly approaching! Before I go full out with all the holiday goodness up in here, I thought we’d start by talking about stocking the pantry. Today marks three weeks until Thanksgiving, which is, yes, utterly mind boggling. That said, it’s also the perfect time to start thinking about your upcoming holiday baking! I personally love to bake during the holidays so right about now is when I start to grab extra flour and sugar here and there during my regular grocery trips. It makes baking a pie or whipping up cookies on the fly much easier when you have a fully stocked pantry! Here is my go-to list of things I like to keep on hand at all times. Any other suggestions? I’d love to add your favorites to my list! (Want a printable checklist? Scroll to the bottom of the post to download, print and take with you while shopping!)
Generally I like to keep a lot of all purpose flour around as it’s the most commonly asked for flour in holiday recipes, but it’s also a great idea to pick up a bag of whole wheat flour and cake flour to have them handy, too.
Baking soda + baking powder.
If you haven’t baked in a while, it might be a good idea to ditch your baking soda and baking powder! A good rule of thumb is to refresh your supply every six months or so, because their effectiveness can become compromised over time. One container of each will be plenty for all of your holiday baking needs.
At any given time I like to make sure I have a couple of bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips in my pantry. Additionally, it’s a really great idea to have unsweetened baker’s chocolate and baker’s white chocolate, too. (Especially if you like a good ganache!)
You never know when you might have a hankering for pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin you-name-it during the holidays. Keeping a few of the smaller 15 oz. cans around is a great idea and it won’t go bad if you don’t use it up!
There’s always a chance that a recipe will call for something else, but in general if you have a stash of cinnamon (both ground and sticks), ground cloves, nutmeg (again, I prefer whole and ground), all spice and cardamom you’ll largely be all set for most holiday recipes.
We’re talking white sugar, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar and powdered/confectioner’s sugar. Let’s be real. Holiday baked goods are anything but health food so you’ll probably go through quite a bit of sugar!
In general, vanilla extract is the only variety I keep on hand year-round, but during the holidays it’s a great idea to have peppermint extract in your pantry, too.
Most chocolate cookies use cocoa powder to impart the chocolate flavor so I like to keep at least one fresh container on hand at all times during the holidays. I also really like having carob powder around, too. It’s kind of like cocoa powder’s slightly better for you older cousin.
Old fashioned or rolled oats are the way to go when it comes to oatmeal. If you only have quick oats they’ll often work for baking, but oatmeal imparts such a great texture that it’s best to just go with the larger old fashioned oats. You’ll be glad you did!
Most of the time I prefer to bake with butter if it’s an option (I just prefer the flavor), but some recipes are just best with shortening so I like to keep a tub of basic shortening around.
A lot of holiday recipes call for nuts so it’s never a bad idea to keep a supply of almonds, walnuts and pecans at the ready. Bonus points that they make great snacks even if you don’t even up baking with them!
Sprinkles are fun for topping any kind of brownie or bar cookie and, of course, classic sugar cookies. So load up on all the festive sprinkles you can find!
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]