8 Recipes That Only Need Sugar, Flour, Butter, Salt, and Eggs

8 Recipes That Only Need Sugar, Flour, Butter, Salt, and Eggs

These five simple staple ingredients open up a world of baking possibilites.

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One of the reasons I love baking so much is that it requires only a few simple, shelf-stable ingredients to make something way more delicious than the sum of its parts. Sugar, flour, butter, salt, and eggs—that’s all you need to treat yourself.

You might not even need all five, but as long as you have some of these on hand you can transform them endlessly. These ingredients are no doubt sitting in your refrigerators and pantry already, so here are 8 easy things you could make using these versatile ingredients.

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Shortbread

Shortbread

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For the beginner baker, starting with a shortbread is the perfect way to discover just how much a few simple ingredients can work wonders. This simple shortbread only requires three ingredients, and not a whole lot of other skills, besides a good eye and/or nose for when to remove them from the oven. In fact, it’s fair to say that shortbread cookies are perhaps the least intimidating cookie ever made.

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Pound Cake

Pound Cake

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How could a cake with a literal pound of butter in it be anything but heavenly? It can’t. Pound cake is one of the oldest and simplest bakes in history, and TikTok user @bdylanhollis shows us just how easy it is to follow a pound cake recipe from 1904. Sure, half the cake sticks to the pan, but those are small tweaks that can be worked out. The point is that a pound of butter leads to a guaranteed tasty cake.

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Arepas

Arepas

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Arepas are a traditional food made from three ingredients: corn flour (cornmeal), water, and salt, explains Familia Kitchen. In Venezuela these fluffy little dough pockets are usually stuffed with a long list of fillings, from breakfast (eggs, tomato, onion) to seafood (octopus). Alternatively, a simple arepa can be enjoyed all on its own after it’s been cooked on a griddle or popped in the oven.

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Cream puffs

Cream puffs

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A French croquembouche is the perfect example of how the simplest of ingredients can come together to make a dazzling showstopper. A tower of caramel cream puffs held together by a caramel drizzle can all be made using the core five ingredients: butter, flour, sugar, salt, and eggs. Although this particular baked centerpiece requires more skill than others, and some clever substitutions to keep things at five ingredients, there’s no denying how incredible it is that you could assemble every piece of it with pantry staples.

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Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry

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Puff pastry is hard, but the widely accepted shortcut, rough puff, is a wonderful base for so many different baked goods. When it comes to this pastry dough, it’s all about the folding that leads to buttery, flaky layers. Once you have the technique down, everything else should be smooth sailing. Working with pastry dough can be both an upper body workout and an opportunity for creativity. Hard to believe rough puff only requires butter, flour, salt, and water.

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Swiss roll

Swiss roll

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Every bit of a Swiss roll, from cake to filling, can be made using these five standard ingredients, as demonstrated by TikTok user @benjaminthebaker. This TikTok recipe even goes the extra mile by browning the butter and torching the meringue to give a little extra flavor to an otherwise plain sponge cake. What truly matters here is the way you whisk and manipulate both the egg yolks and whites to create this perfect spiral roll. (You can always add vanilla extract for flavor if you don’t have a torch—but then it’s not a five-ingredient cake, now is it?)

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Paratha

Paratha

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Plain paratha is a commonly eaten food in India. Most often it is served stuffed with spiced potatoes, vegetables, paneer, lentils, or a combination of fillings. However, the paratha itself made using just wholemeal flour or wheat flour, butter (clarified into ghee), and salt. Making paratha actually requires a specific folding method like puff pastry does, and it’s a process that is very satisfying to watch.

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Flour tortillas

Flour tortillas

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I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: kneading tortilla dough is just as therapeutic as kneading bread. Although making flour tortillas usually requires a mix of flour, vegetable shortening, warm or hot water, and salt, you can substitute butter in for the vegetable shortening and still end up with a great tortilla. Just remember to go slow with adding the water so that you don’t end up with a soupy dough.

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