Well, it’s sort of a play on words.
I do want to talk about sweets — but only because I want you to be prepared for the season! [and because I love you.]
I realize it’s a Saturday and this blog post will get little to no views because you’re probably off doing something more important — but this was on my mind and I felt like writing a bit.
When the holidays come, there is always an influx in baking, at least in our little kitchen. The cravings of pumpkin and pecan and apple pies and cookies and good Lord — All these things start balling up in the ole’ ventral striatum (the “craving” part of your brain, so scientists say.)
It’s good to be prepared, they say. ‘They’ being people like me who have this compulsive ability to recognize what’s low in our kitchen. “What!? I’m down to two cups of flour! How did this happen!?” “Am I really already out of butter?”
Okay, I don’t freak out that bad. But, I love to have the things I need to bake and cook. I’ve been over this a dozen times and there’s never a need to beat a dead horse. NEVER.
So, you decide you want to start baking delicious holiday treats over the next month or two. There are some things that you need to have in your cabinet.
Flour. All-Purpose, Unbleached. Really, as long as you have baking powder and baking soda, you don’t need self rising.
Since mentioning it, baking powder and soda are CRUCIAL. Make sure they’re fresh because they can and will go bad on you. Keep it fresh…know what I’m sayin’? [If you’re a whole wheat fiend, feel free to do it that way.]
Sugar. Brown and white sugar. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know sugar is the real enemy here, but you can’t bake that legit stuff without it. Sure, you could use honey or agave, I guess, but we all know what you really want. If you’re baking with sugar, just use a little less or do a little half and half and see how it comes out. Use corn syrup at your own conviction. I use it when making pecan pie, along with molasses. Keep that around too. I love molasses.
Spice! Allspice, pumpkin spice (I guess…) cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and ground ginger.
Vanilla extract is huuuuge.
Eggs! Eggs are the great binder. They add fat and substance and a wonderful lift to your tasty bits. Keep them stocked. Keep them fresh. Bake with them at room temperature, if you can remember. Same with…
Butter! Unsalted. The better quality butter, the better the treat.
And always, a little salt. A little pinch of salt in your sweets will enhance the flavor. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s what salt does. It brings out flavor. And it’s crazy. Crazy flavor.
Then, there are the various little bits you can keep in your pantry like: pureed pumpkin, pecans (various nuts), dried cranberries, chocolate chips, Combos and miniature Kit-Kat bars.
I hope this was somewhat helpful and if not, at least it was fun to write. Happy Saturday to you!