If you are an avid baker or even just a casual baker, you are definitely familiar with sugar, flour and butter.
You know that sugar adds sweetness to your baked goods and flour adds stability. Butter adds delicious fat that makes baked goods melt in your mouth.
Sure, these classic and necessary ingredients are amazing but maybe you are looking for something new.
If you are ready to give your baked goods an interesting twist, take a look at these unusual baking ingredients that will take your baking to the next level
1 – Corn
Corn is a staple at many dinner tables but it is now crossing over to the dessert world. It is perfect in sweet and savory applications like corn pudding, which makes a great sweet side dish or dessert.
Since certain varieties of corn are actually quite sweet on their own, corn can blend into almost any sweet dessert.
Sweet corn ice cream is a great way to use those extra ears of corn you have on hand!
2 – Avocados
Avocados have been finding their way into desserts for years now. This is due to their subtle taste and high fat content which makes them perfect to use as a fat replacer in many recipes. Skip the butter or oil and use avocado instead!
Chocolate avocado pudding, blueberry avocado muffins or even chocolate cake made with avocado rather than oil are all perfect ways add avocados to your desserts.
Did you also know that avocados are extremely healthy? So not only does this ingredient add interest, it also gives your baked goods a nutritional boost.
3 – Dandelions
Many people see a field of dandelions and think that they are just weeds. Before you get out your weed killer, think about all the ways you could use those dandelions!
Dandelion petals are completely safe to eat (as long as they have not come in contact with any chemicals) and they are popping up on more and more menus across the country.
From dandelion jelly to dandelion ice cream, dandelion cookies or just a few flowers as a salad garnish, these pretty flowers are quite useful.
They add a subtle, sweet taste that many compare to the taste of honey. Next spring, pick those dandelions and put them to good use.
4 – Jalapenos
Sweet and spicy is a classic flavor combination and it is completely achievable by adding some jalapenos to your baked goods. Jalapenos pair very well with fruits and berries so a strawberry jalapeno muffin would be a great place to start.
Remember to remove the seeds from the jalapeno before chopping it up in order to reduce the heat and get more of that delicious jalapeno flavor.
Jalapenos can also be pureed into a vanilla ice cream base to give your cold treat a little extra heat.
5 – Coca-Cola
This popular soda has been added to many baked goods over the years. That unique taste is hard to get anywhere else!
Coca-Cola is often used as an ingredient in cakes and the Culinary Institute of America was even commissioned by the Coca-Cola brand to develop a perfect chocolate cake recipe which used two full cups of the soda.
You can also find recipes for frosting, peanut brittle and ice cream which have this tasty ingredient inside.
6 – Plastic Babies
This is one ingredient you might not want to actually eat! However, placing a small plastic baby inside a New Orleans King Cake is a necessity. These colorful cakes are served at Mardi Gras and have been a tradition since the 1800’s.
A small plastic baby is placed inside the dough before the cake is baked. Whoever gets the slice of cake with the baby in it will have good luck the rest of the year.
While this “ingredient” does not add any flavor or have any practical baking application, it is quite interesting!
7 – Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise has become a specialty ingredient in many chocolate cake recipes. Mayonnaise adds an interesting tang to sweet cakes and is also a good way to replace oil or fat. It also makes the cake dense and extremely moist thanks to the high fat content.
While you may think it sounds strange to have your cake with a side of mayonnaise, baking it into the cake is sure to be something you love!
8 – Cornflakes
While rice krispies have made their way into the dessert world (rice krispie treats are amazing!), cornflakes are now getting their day as well.
Cornflakes stay crunchy when bakes and can add a great texture to your favorite baked goods. One perfect application is in an ice cream cake.
Spread ice cream on the bottom of a pan, sprinkle with cornflakes and then top with more ice cream. The crunchy center layer is sure to be a hit!
9 – Potato Chips
Going with the sweet and salty theme, potato chips have been made into cookies, truffles and even cakes. They sure do add a lot of salt and crunch!
So, if you are looking for a way to make your desserts a little more savory, try tossing in a few potato chips or look up a recipe for potato chip cookies- yum!
10 – Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a perfect addition to bakes goods as they are, after all, sweet! Sweet potatoes are also quite starchy so they can be used as a thickened in recipes as well.
Sweet potato brownies are a great example of how to use this vegetable in baking. The brownies come out dense, moist and full of flavor.
Plus, you get all the health benefit of a sweet potato which means extra fiber, potassium and vitamin C!
11 – Balsamic Vinegar
Of all the vinegars out there, balsamic is in a category of its own thanks to its sweet unique taste. Bakers have been using the flavor of balsamic vinegar to brighten up desserts and the results are amazing.
Balsamic vinegar goes especially well with chocolate and berries. In fact, you can simply reduce some balsamic vinegar in a pot, add some sliced strawberries and voila- dessert!
12 – Cayenne Powder
Once again, the spicy and sweet combo has made the list. Cayenne pepper not only bring some serious heat to your baked goods but it also has a pleasant, rich taste.
A little bit of cayenne inside a chocolate cake or sprinkled into your favorite peanut brittle recipe will surprise and delight anyone who takes a bite.
13 – Wine
Wine is a common ingredient in cooking as it is added into many sauces, reductions and cooking juices. But wine should also be a clear go-to ingredient in baking.
Wine can add some serious flavor to cakes and pies and can also be the centerpiece ingredient in ice creams.
Give a chocolate red wine tart a try, churn some champagne ice cream or add some white wine into your carrot cake in place of other liquid ingredients.
14 – Zucchini
Zucchini cake, zucchini bread and zucchini cookies are just a few of the things you can bake with this versatile veggie.
Zucchini is definitely not just for dinner and salads- it is a clear baking ingredient. Zucchini adds moisture to whatever it is baked into, making for dense baked goods that everyone will love.
As you can see, there are many interesting baking ingredients out there to try. Why, you can bake with just about anything!
Of course, you want to keep your butter, sugar and flour on hand but also grab a few sweet potatoes, a bag of chips, a jalapeno and maybe even a plastic baby for your next baking project!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.