There are so many traditional ways of cooking that have skewed many peceptions of cooking in many modern American households.
First: Flour is essential in all yummy baked goods.
This is absolutely false! Recipes that call for flour are usually substituting for something generations decades past would have had access to: oats. Oats are one of the healthiest grains trending grains out there. It’s so much easier to make cookies, cakes, and brownies with oats because most of the time, you rarely have to cook them as long or at all!
Second: Eggs are another essential ingredient. Nothing will go right without them.
Once again, this is inaccurate. As a university student, where college funds can be tight, I understand the value of an egg. Not just any egg, mind you, a cage-free, grass-fed, Chicken laid egg. The ones with the biggest yellow yolks that give the egg its highest nutrients. THIS egg is easy to come by (thankfully) but not without paying the price. As such, I prefer to enjoy my egg poached, scrambled, or fried. Not tucked away underneath layers of baked fabric. In most recipes, you can omit the egg. And what does this do the recipe? Nothing. For most recipes, it just means you now can a) store it longer in the fridge, b) not have to worry about over/under-baking it, and c) not worry about egg allergies with your guests.
Third: Vanilla Extract is a necessary component of every baking endeavor .
Alright, this one irks me slightly. Once again, university students like to save money. I bake very infrequently. So infrequently, that when I do bake, I can get one cup of flour at a time from the local Food Coop. I don’t want to buy a whole bottle of vanilla extract just for one or two baking excursions a semester. Yes, people, I am that cheap. And it’s been a good thing too! I’ve learned that most recipes that call for vanilla extract use it only as a flavor additive. Nothing more, nothing less.
So when you look at your pantry and realize some “key ingredients” are missing. Step back and think for a minute. What do you have in your pantry? What do you actually need for your baked treat?
As I realized, you don’t need eggs, flour, and vanilla extract to make something scrumptious. You just need a dash of gumption and whole lot of baking love.