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25 Gourmet Baking Ingredients That’ll Upgrade Your Recipes

Ready to level up your bakes? Snag some gourmet baking ingredients to make your go-to recipes taste even better.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Nielsen Massey Madagascar Oburbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla extract is called for in most baking recipes. Even basics like homemade whipped cream and simple shortbread benefit from a touch of vanilla flavor. Our Test Kitchen loves Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste. Thicker than extract, you’ll find that paste packs big flavor and gives you those flecks of vanilla bean we all love to see in homemade bakes. It’s one of our favorite gourmet baking ingredients.

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Baker’s Dozen Spice Set

Any home cook will appreciate this baker’s dozen gift set from the Spice House. It’s loaded with 13 baking must-haves, including cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cocoa powder, poppy seeds, flavored sugars and more. Consider gifting it to newlyweds who are outfitting their kitchen for the first time or a baking bestie who needs to replenish their stash. Either way, it’s a top-notch gift for bakers.

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Gourmet Chocolate Chips

You can get the taste of your favorite box of chocolate in your own homemade bakes with See’s Candies chocolate chips. Extra melty and delicious, these oversized chips are perfect for stirring into your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and beyond. (Bake ’em up on the editor-favorite Holy Sheet pan.)

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Chai Spice Nut Butter

We love the warm, spicy flavor of chai—especially in fall and winter months. This chai spice peanut and almond butter from Big Spoon Roasters is the perfect way to impart a dose of cozy flavor in all of your favorite treats, from simple peanut butter cookies to PB pumpkin bread.

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Real Maple Syrup

Bakers, we suggest you get serious about maple. Forego all the faux maple syrup at the grocery store and opt for a bottle of the real deal—you will taste a difference. This pure maple syrup from Runamok is full of concentrated flavor perfect for these maple desserts or for sweetening your favorite bakes.

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00 Flour

Take pizza night to the next level with double zero flour. This Italian bread-making staple is the secret ingredient in Neapolitan pizza. The flour’s extra-fine grind yields a perfectly crispy, airy and chewy crust like the one’s served at your favorite pizzeria. Gift a bag to your favorite bread baker, too.

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Luxardo Cherries

Bartenders know and love Luxardo maraschino cherries. But bakers will also appreciate this gourmet ingredient. Luxardo cherries are candied fresh for a rich and luxurious experience that puts the bright-red version to shame. Try them atop cherry cake, in cookies or covered with chocolate.

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Irish Butter

Serious bakers know that the quality of the butter in their recipes matters. That’s why when you’re making an extra-special bake or are stirring up something where butter is the star of the show, you should turn to a top-notch brand like Kerrygold Irish butter. This extra creamy butter is all the rage with home bakers, and it’s also one of our Test Kitchen’s favorite brands, too. See how it did in our butter taste test.

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Edible Gold Leaf

Does it get any fancier than edible gold? Definitely not! But this next-level decoration from isn’t just for professional pastry chefs. You can brush a bit of elegance onto your bakes. Try it on macarons, decorated cakes and more. It’s also a great gift for cake bakers!

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Espresso Powder

Did you know that espresso powder is the secret to making your chocolate desserts more chocolaty? That’s right! A tablespoon of espresso powder added to your favorite chocolate cake or even chocolate chip cookies can go a long way in making your bakes even more tempting.

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Almond Flour

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make macarons, you’ll need the right ingredients. Almond flour is a necessity for achieving that light, fluffy and chewy cookie. This version from Bob’s Red Mill is super-finely ground and naturally gluten-free.

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Lemon Paste

While we love the bright, tart flavor of freshly squeezed (and zested lemons), there’s a lot of labor involved. Instead of reaching for a knife, cutting board, juicer and zester, grab this lemon paste from Nielsen-Massey. Just a dash imparts sunny lemon flavor into anything you’re baking.

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Fancy Sprinkles

An easy way to add some dazzle to your bakes is with some glitz from Fancy Sprinkles. This company’s dazzling sprinkle blends dress up everyday bakes and special occasion treats in a jiffy. Just imagine how magical your holiday cutouts would look dusted in shimmering sprinkles!

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Decadent Cocoa Powder

Valrhona cocoa powder is a favorite in our Test Kitchen. It has a deep color that gives chocolaty bakes a decadent color. And, of course, it tastes like sumptuous milk chocolate. If you’re serious about chocolate, it’s worth it to spend a bit extra on your cocoa powder.

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Sea Salt Flakes

Yes, salt should absolutely be in your baking pantry, especially Maldon sea salt flakes. While this isn’t the salt you’ll stir into your cookie dough or pie pastry, it is absolutely the gourmet baking ingredient you need for finishing off bakes. These large salt flakes make for a pretty finish (and that satisfying sweet-salty combo) on all sorts of bakes, but especially salted caramel treats.

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Ruby Chocolate

An easy way to take your baking to the next level is with unusual (but delicious) ingredients like ruby chocolate. This pink-hued cocoa tastes similar to white chocolate but with a touch more sweetness and a bit more tang—not to mention the gorgeous color. Use these ruby callets (that’s the pastry chef term for chips) in any recipe that calls for chocolate chips. You can also use these chips to make candy like this pretzel strawberry bark.

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Cinnamon Variety Set

There are different types of cinnamon out there each with its own unique profile. Ceylon cinnamon is more mild and sweet while Korintje and Saigon cinnamons pack a bit more spice. There’s no one right cinnamon for baking, so try each option in the Spice House’s cinnamon variety set. You may find that spicier cinnamon tastes best in cinnamon rolls and sweeter cinnamon is great in coffee cake. This is also a great gift for pie bakers who are prepping for Thanksgiving.

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Vanilla Beans

Fill your baking cupboard with more than just vanilla extract; be sure to add Nielsen-Massey vanilla beans to your grocery list. The inside of these pods add concentrated vanilla flavor to your bakes. You can also use them to make homemade vanilla extract.

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Rye Flour

Even basic ingredients like flour can get a gourmet upgrade. King Arthur Baking produces all kinds of top-notch flours including this organic rye flour. Experimenting with an alternative flour like this can be a lot of fun for bakers. Start with this rustic rye loaf and salted brown butter rye cookies. Bread bakers, you’ll appreciate owning the Challenger bread pan and KitchenAid bread bowl attachment, too. They’ll help you yield picture-perfect loaves!

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Wildflower Honey

When you’re looking for gourmet baking ingredients, be sure to scope out a great wildflower honey (not the grocery store stuff). This Jacobsen Co. honey is rich and sweet with mild floral notes. It’ll stand out in any honey recipe and be a decadent addition to your morning cup of tea.

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Edible Luster Dust

Want to add a touch of shine to your desserts but aren’t quite ready for gold leaf? Edible luster dust is a great place to start. Brush this iridescent powder onto any bake or candy for a spectacular finish. And don’t worry about the flavor—luster dust is tasteless so your recipe will shine. This ingredient makes a great gift, as do these baking subscription boxes.

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Lavender Buds

From cookies and cheesecakes to muffins and bars, lavender is having a moment. These lavender buds bring a sweet, herbal flavor to baked goods. And they look equally beautiful as a garnish.

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Lemon Curd

Fans of lemony desserts know the value of good lemon curd. When you don’t want to make it from scratch, rely on a store-bought option that tastes just as good as homemade: Beth’s Farm Kitchen lemon curd. This silky smooth spread is a spot-on addition to this limoncello pie and lemon shortbread sandwich cookies.

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Gel Food Coloring

“Go big or go home” is our motto when it comes to food coloring. And you can’t beat the vibrant hues of these gel-based, high pigment food colorings. Enjoy decorating with five core colors: Abu Dhabi purple, Montreal red, Malibu pink, Casablanca orange and Dublin green. Consider these a gift for cookie bakers, too—especially anyone who decorates with royal icing.

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Cocoa Nibs

Fans of dark chocolate, we encourage you to experiment with cocoa nibs. These ground cocoa beans taste of the darkest chocolate—slightly bitter, not extremely sweet but packed with chocolate flavor. These nibs are a great way to add texture to your bakes. Stir them into any batter or dough or sprinkle them over any treat including your morning oatmeal.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.