For the most part, I buy Ghiradelli brand chocolate products, as they make the most quality chocolate that is within my price range. I like to stock up on their semi-sweet baking bar and their milk chocolate chips, but if a recipe calls for some other kind of chocolate, I will most likely still buy the Ghiradelli version. The exception to this is sometimes white chocolate (see below).
- White Chocolate.
If I am using white chocolate chips, I usually buy the Ghiradelli brand. If I am melting white chocolate, I will typically buy Baker's White Chocolate because it is more affordable than the Ghiradelli White Chocolate Baking Bars. Occasionally, I will splurge on the Ghiradelli bar if I only need to melt a small amount.
- Cocoa Powder.
I am very loyal to Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder because I like how intensely chocolatey it makes my baked goods.
- Peanut Butter.
I am similarly loyal to Jif Creamy Reduced Fat Peanut Butter. I like it better than the regular because I think it has a better texture and flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour.
I always like to have either White Lily and King Arthur flour in my pantry.
- Butter.I like real butter. I normally just buy my store brand butter, but I usually buy the salted, regardless of what the recipe calls for because, well, salted anything is just better if you ask me.
If I use milk in a recipe, I am using whole milk 99% of the time. I like to have whole milk in my fridge because it is good to have for making ice cream on a whim and because it seems to help any recipe along just a little bit.
- Italian Seasoning.
I have Italian seasoning, but I hardly (i.e. never) use it. I use Urzi's Bread Dipping Spice instead, and I use it like it's going out of style. I buy it here, and I think it is perfect for anything with cheese, garlic, or tomatoes (i.e. anything Italian).
If a recipe calls for sliced cheese or if I am making a sandwich, I usually buy my cheese already sliced, either from the deli or in a package, depending on what looks better and what is more economical. When I use shredded or grated cheese in a recipe, I always buy a block of cheese and use my Microplane Cheese Grater to grate it myself. I find grating cheese myself not only saves money but gives me fresher cheese.
I have no garlic press, and I have no intentions to roast garlic every time I need it, so I typically buy the Gilroy Farms Crushed Garlic in a jar, which I find in my grocery store near the dry garlic.