Stacey Greenberg was kind enough to include me in a recent article for the Commercial Appeal on what Memphis bakers consider essential tools and ingredients. It's a great article and you should check it out!
Obviously, Stacey had to edit our contributions down, so below is the complete* list of ingredients in my pantry I can't live without! *obviously, this isn't every ingredient I keep on hand, but this is the complete list sent to Stacey!
(I'll post the tools separately)
Kat's Pantry Must-Haves
-farm fresh eggs; we use a lot from Donnell Farms. Don't let some differences in size stop you. A "large" egg should measure right about 1/4 cup, so if you're using fresh eggs of different sizes, just crack and whisk 'em, then measure out what you need.
-whole milk; I drink 2%, but when a recipe calls for milk, they're talking about WHOLE milk!
-semi-sweet chocolate chips. I ALWAYS have a good supply of chocolate chips for late night chocolate chip cookie urges, but also because they're small and melt quickly and they can be easily substituted for other chocolates if I don't have what a recipe calls for on hand.
-fresh herbs and spices. I like incorporating herbs and spices into my baking, so I usually keep stocked on all-spice, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, anise, clove, cardamom, rosemary, sage, thyme, and peppermint.
-vanilla extract. I use Nielsen Massey or Miss Mildred's (homemade at Muddy's by a friend). Don't bother with "double strength" vanilla; if you're following a recipe it'll throw off your measurements.
-parchment paper. (wax paper is NOT the same and should not go in the oven, as my friend Mathilde can attest to!) Use it to line cookie sheets and cake pans, put underneath cookies while icing them, etc. I also like to tear off a piece to put on the counter for my used stuff (batter covered spatula, dirty measuring cups, etc) as I bake- easy clean up!