8 Baking Essentials I Always Buy from Costco, As a Professional Pastry Chef
Costco is a paradise for many things, and that includes baking. For more than a decade, I’ve done all of my baking-related shopping, both for personal use and my business, at the bulk warehouse. I’d like to think that this makes me an expert on what baking items to buy at Costco.
The baking basics, like flour, sugar, butter, and eggs are obviously staples because they’re available year-round and are consistent in quality and price. I’ve included some of my go-to favorites below. What I want to highlight, however, are the standout deals I’ve discovered over the years, or items you might typically overlook at Costco. Or both.
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As a professional baker, being able to buy these items in bulk is a huge plus. It means fewer shopping trips and more savings in the long run. But even if you don’t frost cakes for a living, these eight items can be used in non-baking recipes or stored in your fridge, freezer, or pantry for months (if not years). Let’s take a look.
1. Kirkland Signature Almond Flour, $11.79 for 3 pounds
Almond flour is such a versatile flour to add to most any baked good. In addition to all-purpose flour, I always seem to have some on hand to make my muffins or pancakes lighter and fluffier. Quick tip: Storing almond flour in the freezer maintains its freshness for months. This is also a superfine flour and does not have any large grains, which lends itself beautifully to baked goods.
2. Kirkland Signature Organic Cane Sugar, $9.99 for 10 pounds
While adding sugar to a baking list may seem a bit obvious, this is both organic and a fine cane sugar. Some cane sugars have larger granules, making them difficult to use for baking. With this however, we’re checking several boxes: organic, pure cane sugar, and super-fine texture. Also, the bag is large enough to use for multiple bakes, but not too heavy to figure out how to lift it into your car.
3. Pure Vanilla Extract, $11.99 for 16 ounces
As a baker I’m very picky about the kind of vanilla extract I put in my bakes. Given that vanilla extract is in almost all baked goods, its flavor becomes paramount. (Fragrant vanilla cupcakes, or sugar-topped butter cookies, anyone?) This pure vanilla extract is one of the best out there, and at an extremely reasonable price. I buy two bottles whenever I’m at Costco, mainly because I go through them fast.
4. Fresh Berries, $3.99 for 12 ounces
Berries are perhaps my favorite thing to buy at Costco for baking. They’re always affordable, always good quality, and a wide variety is always available. Having access to fresh berries allows me to make my own fresh jams and fillings.
5. Cuisinart Smart Stick Variable Speed Hand Blender, $39.99
This immersion blender set does a lot. It blends, purées, chops, whips, and mixes, all for around $40. Also, it’s lightweight. But what I love most about immersion blenders is that you can blend something directly in your bowl (no need to dirty a bunch of dishes!). Super big win!
6. Maola Heavy Whipping Cream, $4.69 for 32 ounces
I don’t have to tell you how simple-yet-magical whipped cream is to whip up. But the low price is the reason it’s on this list. At other grocery stores, you’ll pay about this amount for half of the heavy cream: This whipping cream has four cups of cream as opposed to the two cups you’d find at the grocery store for this price.
7. Kirkland Signature Parchment Paper, $12.99 for 2 rolls
Parchment paper creates a nonstick surface for all the cakes and cookies, making for an easy cleanup. Throughout my baking career, I’ve used parchment paper so thin that it would tear really easily, but not this one. This parchment paper is sturdy enough for just about any baking job! Depending on how much baking you’re doing, these two rolls should last at least a few months.
8. Kirkland Signature Super Extra-Large Peanuts, $6.99 for 40 ounces
Another fantastic deal for bakers are the nuts at Costco. You can get a single type or mixed nuts, salted or unsalted, in the shell or not. These make my list because of their high quality and their low price. I also love snacking on them while baking to keep my energy up … and because they taste really good. From time to time I’ve bought nuts in bulk to make my own nut butter. My favorite was hazelnut. Skinned hazelnuts ground with cocoa, sugar, and vanilla, and voila! Your very own chocolate-hazelnut spread made from scratch.
What are your favorite Costco baking finds? Share them below!
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 8 Items Every Baker Should Pick Up at Costco, According to a Pastry Chef.