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The Cookus Cupboard: Baking Essentials

Sponsored by PCC Natural Markets, the largest consumer-owned natural foods cooperative in the United States. Nine locations in the Puget Sound area.

Cynthia has a dessert rule that keeps us slim and trim sure you can have sweets, just gotta make them yourself.Jane makes sure that baking occasional sweets doesn't require extra trips to the store.  (Although she might want to make a few more trips if Phil's the checkout boy.)

sea salt

We like sea salt because of all the trace minerals, you can see them, little gray flecks.  For more info watch:  Why Use Sea Salt?

honey


where does it come from?  how is it made?  Very easy questions - the bees do it.

maple syrup

Is made from the boiled sap of sugar maple trees.  Forty gallons of sap (from nine trees) make one gallon of syrup.  Maple syrup is available in three grades: A, B or C.  The temperature used and length of time cooked determine the grade.  Grade A is best for pancakes and waffles, grade B has better flavor for baking, is less expensive and has a higher mineral content. 

organic whole cane sugar

Is the juice that has been extracted from the sugar cane and dehydrated.  This product is less refined than white sugar because most brands include the molasses which retains some of the minerals in the cane juice.  It resembles brown sugar in appearance and taste, though less sweet. Substitute dried cane juice in equal proportions for white or brown sugar. If a food label says dried cane juice or cane juice, this is the same as refined sugar.  Look instead for unrefined cane sugar.
shredded coconut
extract

Need this to make Macaroons.  Cynthia loves macaroons.

baking powder and baking soda
 

Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, but it includes the acidifying agent already (cream of tartar), and also a drying agent (usually starch). Baking powder is available as single-acting baking powder and as double-acting baking powder. Single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking.

Baking soda is pure sodium, bicarbonate. Baking soda must be added if the recipe has anything acidic in it.  Soda is also very handy for burnt food on a pot - fill pot with water, add a tablespoon of baking soda, simmer and watch burnt food lift off the surface.  Yee haw!
baking chocolate Not just for a quick chocolate sauce and to chop up and make chocolate chip cookies, or melt to make brownies...think Mole sauce!


vanilla

Why does Jane always have vanilla in her purse?  We want to know too.

Storage:

Luckily, all of these products keep indefinitely on the shelf.  Maple syrup can begin to ferment some if the weather gets too warm.  During hotter weather, keep maple syrup and chocolate in the refrigerator.

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One of the best ever. I loved 'watch for that video. It'll be short.' A beautiful line.
November 19, 2010, 5:50 pm

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I used to dab a little vanilla extract as fragrance! ummmmm....
November 19, 2010, 7:41 pm

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Not to give up any Secrets: My Great Uncle used to be a plasterer, back in the Lathe and Plaster days for homes. and Great Uncles being Great Uncles he loved to imbibe a little - if not a lot. And those flat little bottles would disappear in one quick swipe of the next layer of plaster. And if you don't know what Lathe and Plaster is 'Google it'. Sorry Uncle Harry, God Bless your soul. Prefer my Vanilla in ICE CREAM!!
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