essentials for baking

I think it’s important to share what I feel are essentials for a kitchen today. I know a lot of people don’t have a ton of space and aren’t going to go out and buy everything on my list right away, but it can be a slow accumulation. If you are registering to get married , this is your golden opportunity, even if you think you’ll never possibly use some of what’s here. Trust me, you will.

Also, most of my recipes call for the freshest ingredients. I prefer cooking fresh food with fresh ingredients, and it’s always worth the effort.

Essentials for the kitchen/tools of the trade

  1. wooden spoons (as many as possible; you can never have enough)
  2. cutting boards (at least 3; different kinds as well)
  3. great knives (at least the basics)
  4. meat thermometer
  5. cake tester
  6. immersion blender (Cuisinart is awesome and it comes with a (very) handy mini-chopper attachment so you don’t have to lug out the large processor every time)
  7. slow cooker (awesome, just awesome to own)
  8. large food processor
  9. cookie racks
  10. baking sheets (at least 2 large and 2 small)
  11. black pepper grinder
  12. measuring cups and spoons (you cannot have too many of these either; liquid and solids and yes, there is a difference)
  13. Kitchen Aid Mix Master (my favorite)
  14. Jars (Ball) are the best for storing salad dressings
  15. reamer (a must-have for lemons/limes. I prefer wooden ones)
  16. zesters (citrus and cheese; shop around for this but it is a must-have for lemon zesting!)

Pantry Essentials

  1. fresh garlic (keep at least 1 head of garlic in the house)
  2. olive oil *****
  3. Canola oil***
  4. vegetable oil**
  5. balsamic vinegar
  6. champagne vinegar
  7. flour
  8. sugar
  9. brown sugar (usually light)
  10. baking powder
  11. baking soda
  12. maple syrup
  13. canned whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano is the best)
  14. tubes of tomato paste (better than a can because you can measure by spoonful and don’t have to use the whole thing in one shot)
  15. dijon mustard
  16. macaroni
  17. spaghetti (Perciatelli is the best)
  18. rice
  19. pignolli nuts
  20. eggs
  21. chicken, beef, and vegetable stocks (the boxes are the best)
  22. Lemons (keep at least one on hand at all times)


  1. kosher salt
  2. cinnamon
  3. oregano
  4. herbes de provence
  5. ground and whole nutmeg
  6. curry powder
  7. crushed red pepper
  8. black whole peppercorns
  9. vanilla (for baking)
  10. bay leaf
  11. dried thyme
  12. hungarian paprika
  13. cumin
  14. cayenne powder

I love fresh herbs and use them whenever possible. Parsley, rosemary, thyme, and when it is called for nothing else will do. However, you must buy that as needed, and they don’t stay long. Sometimes I prefer dry, as with oregano. Fresh oregano is hard to measure and quite strong.

These are just guidelines, and as you food shop you will hopefully be inspired to cook some of these recipes and make them part of your home.

8 responses to “Essentials

  1. great- now i’m having martha stewart for dinner!!!

  2. you are truly a multi-talented woman!!!!

  3. Sanderella's Crochet

    What an awesome post!! Thank you!

  4. cynhthia arstark

    Ken and I had a wonderful shrimp dinner at your awesome sister-in law Susans apartment- so glad to learn about your website
    Thanks,Cynthia Arstark

  5. Hi Candi, I made the peach farfel and it was delicious! I love your website!
    Say hello to Joel!! xoxo, joan hayman

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