I thought that it would be a good idea to share with my fellow bakers a list of my top 10 favorite Kitchen Items. There are certain things that I just can't imagine trying to bake without, i.e. Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (funded by wedding money, Yay!) I hope this list might help you in your baking endeavors as much as it does for me.
10. A Good Apron: Baking is a messy job and sometimes we just need to wear an apron. Jessie Steele's vintage inspired aprons are absolutely beautiful while still being functional. I personally do not own one because my Grandmother made me some adorable hostess aprons for Christmas and my Mother-In-Law gave me a ridiculously cute lingerie looking apron for Christmas as well. I think three is enough... for now.
9. Baking Stone: I actually don't really use my baking stone for it's intended purpose, even though we have a super nice All Clad pizza stone. I find that baking stones are wonderful temperature regulators in your oven. I leave mine on the bottom rack in the oven all the time. We have a gas oven and it had been proving difficult for me to get my goodies to turn out right all the time until I read a tip to keep a baking stone in there. Voila! Perfection every time. Of course though, I have heard that baking stones turn out some really great bread.
8. Rolling Pin: If you work with dough, a rolling pin is a necessity. However, there are so many different variations; tapered, marble, straight, wood, silicone. Find the one that is the most comfortable for you and be on your way to rolling out perfect dough! There is a great review on rolling pins in the Cuisine at Home August 2007 issue, but I cannot seem to find it online. When it all comes down to it though, play with it before you buy it, because this comes down to personal preference.
7. Measuring Spoons: Baking really is an exact science, the main reason "cooks" don't like to bake. It's important to have a versatile measuring spoon set handy at all times. These measuring spoons are so great because they have narrow heads that can fit into those pesky tiny openings on spice jars and the heads are pointed to break up the clumps that like to appear in our baking soda. An added bonus to these is that they have flat bottoms to prevent tipping while resting on the counter top.
6. Glass Measuring Cups: It's always good to have lots of sizes handy, but if you only get one, the two cup is the most versatile. The clear glass makes it easy to see the contents and its sturdy construction makes them very durable. I haven't even broken one of mine yet.
5. Pyrex Bakeware: What good is a baker if she/he doesn't have anything to bake in? Pyrex is the best option in my opinion. Everything browns beautifully in glass dishes and the dishes also double as serving dishes. There are also many Pyrex sets that include lids for all the dishes to prolong shelf life.
4. Double Boiler : A must have if you bake with baker's chocolate as much as I do. These are great for melting anything because it is next to impossible to scald or burn your ingredients. Also great for melting candy melts.
3. Santoku Knife: I am not a big knife user but when I received my wonderful KitchenAid Santoku Knife as a gift, I changed my tune a little bit. This great knife, I suggest 6-7", is great for pretty much anything. It chops baking chocolate effortlessly, a task that can get very messy, and it cuts cinnamon roll dough with ease. If you only ever buy one knife for your kitchen, I suggest this.
2. Spatula and Spoonula: I adore my kitchen tools from Williams Sonoma. Someone over there is a genius when it comes to making things out of silicone. Their spatulas and spoonulas are as sturdy as sturdy can be, they come in lots of fun colors, and they work wonders. If you only buy one, go for the spoonula. It scrapes down the sides of bowls beautifully and when you use the backside it easily doubles as a spatula. It really is the best of both worlds.
1. KitchenAid Stand Mixer (mine is Orange, the most fun color): Every home baker or chef really needs to have one of these. I always thought that it was just something that everyone registered for when they got married just so they could have one. I have noticed that a stand mixer has risen to become a status symbol, with thousands of newlyweds receiving them on their big day, only to never use them. I on the other hand wasn't that keen on getting one, but my husband was, so after our honeymoon we used our leftover gift money to spend about $600 at Williams Sonoma. Ask him how many times he has used it and he might say a handful of times, usually only to make his killer mashed potatoes. Ask me on the other hand and I can't even begin to tell you how many times it has been used. This essential tool can give you an extra set of hands when you have multiple things to prepare at once. It can take the hard work out of mixing extra stiff doughs, and it can stand in for you when you really don't feel like holding an electric mixer for the 10 minutes that the recipe calls for. Hands down, everyone needs one of these, check out your local Craigslist and you can probably find one for under $150.