Now that I have my new camera I have all these ideas in my head of fun posts to do. I also want to start doing some more video posts...of course that will mean I have to look half way decent when I cook...that might be a problem for me. Or I could just wear a mask while I cook...pretty sure we have a Ronald Reagan mask lying around somewhere. Come on, who wouldn't want to cook with Reagan?
When my little sister got married 2 years ago she asked me what she should register for things in the kitchen. After thinking about it for a while I came up with this list of kitchen must haves. I use these gadgets many times a week and thought you might like to hear about them too! : )
Whisked Away 2's
Top 5 Baking Gadgets
1. Kitchen Aid Standing Mixer
I don't remember life before my mixer. This gift was the best and most useful gift I have ever been given. It allows you to make cookies in under 5 minutes! It is awesome! You can let it mix while you walk away and get other ingredients prepped, or do the dishes. It is AMAZING! Growing up we never had a stand mixer, just numerous hand held ones that quickly burnt out from my over zealous mixing habits. I didn't get my first stand mixer until 2 years after college. This appliance really helped light the fire for my passion for baking. My first mixer lasted about a year then it sparked and fizzled and wouldn't start back up. I called kitchenaid crying and they promptly sent me a new one and a tissue box. AMAZING customer service! My current mixer is now 5 years old, and I love it. Sometimes I have nightmares about it breaking down...I finally decided to start an emergency mixer fund just in case that nightmare comes true. Dave Ramsey would be proud. For a while my Mom was determined to keep it stored in the cabinets but since I use it so much I finally convinced her it deserved a place of honor on the counter top.
My mixer was $200 on sale at Kohls. I also highly recommend the tilt head version and not the bowl lift one. I originally bought the bowl lift one, but after 2 days with it I returned it and got the tilt head one. The bowl lift one was clunky and awkward to work with, of course that is my personal preference.
If you don't bake all that much, but would like to start - I would recommend this appliance. On the other hand, if you don't bake all that much and don't want to start learning then don't get this mixer.
2. Parchment Paper
This isn't really a gadget or an appliance, but it really is vital for good baking results. I never used parchment paper before Pastry school, and when I did start using it I was shocked I had never used it before. Parchment paper is great for 2 main reasons. 1) It helps your product not stick to the pan - which means it stays nice and pretty and easily peels off the paper. 2) It helps your product not stick to the pan - which means you spend less time cleaning all those darn baked on crusty parts that are usually stuck on the pan. Seriously cuts back on clean up time like you wouldn't believe.
Parchment paper is also great for making piping bags
The cheapest and best way to buy parchment paper is to go to your local Restaurant Supply store and buy the paper in bulk. It will cost from $40-$60, but it will last you forever! I have had my latest box for 2 years now, and am just now finishing it off. If you buy the stuff on the roll from the grocery store it costs a ton - and won't last very long.
3. Rolling Pin
If you plan on making iced cookies or a lot of pies you need a good rolling pin. I have 2 rolling pins. A super heavy marble one, and a thin tapered wooden one.
I use the marble one for making iced cookies. I really like how heavy it is, and when you use the spacer bands it works well to make a uniform cookie. I use the tapered one for pies and tarts. In case you missed my post about how to make iced cookies - be sure to check it out.
Rolling pins are also very useful for pounding things...in case you can't find your hammer. They also make you look like a professional baker when you hold one in your hand and pose for a picture.
4. Mixing Bowls
I am a firm believer that one can never have too many mixing bowls. The more bowls you have the less often you have to wash bowls while in the process of an endless day of baking. Of course in the end you have to wash them all, but during the process you can get away with washing less. : ) This is also another reason why it is so nice to have so many brothers and sisters - they make excellent dish washers.
I love this set of mixing bowls and always use them!
5. Good Spatula
A good spatula with a long handle is essential to good bowl scraping. If you think about how many cookies are lost every year due to poor bowl scraping you would be shocked. I recently heard about a government funded program to stop these injustices called "No cookie left behind." Word on the street is that the President is going to make sure that every American household has a good spatula in their kitchen.
After all, everyone is entitled to one.
By the way, are you watching round one of the Presidential debates tonight?
Not the ones that you stick under your armpit, but the ones that you stick into pots full of boiling sugar. I make a lot of heaven bars, and that means I make a lot of caramel sauce. My nifty thermometer helps me make perfect caramel sauce every time! It is also very helpful when cooking meat and making any kind of candy where the sugar needs to be cooked to certain temperatures.