Thursday, February 10, 2011

my top 5 baking must-haves!

reading food blogs is like having the chance to peek into the recipe books of all different kinds of people and read the scribbles in the margins. the little tips & tricks that you can only learn from trying and tweaking a recipe until it's perfect.

being the overly curious person i am, i also adore when people show not only how they cook - but with what. y'know, all the kitchen tools and gadgets that make the baking experience easier, more fun, or more delicious.

along with being curious, i'm also pretty cheap with a tendency to go overboard in the stuff department. therefore, i do my best to only buy things that i will use on a regular basis.

so, without further ado, here are the five things i could not do without when i bake!

parchment paper

let's start off simple! parchment paper is the best for cookies, whoopie pies, or anything else you bake on a sheet. you can reuse the sheet a few times, so doing multiple rounds of baking is no problem - really helpful when you have to bake several batches off. a roll costs about $3.

a set of mixing bowls

i've been in the market for a good set of mixing bowls for a while now. this might surprise you, it might not, but i had a lot of requirements in my search. i needed them to nest (for space reasons), to have a spout (for pouring purposes), to be light-weight (i'm lazy), dishwasher-safe (i'm double-lazy), and microwave-safe (for melting chocolate in, then licking, in laziness). this set of three was about $25.

batter scoops

i use these, quite literally, 9 out of every time 10 times i bake. the smaller one is about two teaspoons (cookie size!) and the larger one is about a quarter cup (cupcake size!). they also make portioning and making evenly sized baked goods really easy. together these were about $12. 

batter blade

okay, so this is a new and slightly frivolous addition to my top five, but it absolutely blows my mind. this is an alternative blade attachment for a traditional kitchenaid mixer, but the amazing part is that it simultaneously scrapes down the bowl while it mixes. seriously, an unbelievable invention. this was a valentine's day gift, but i think it's around $25.

kitchen scale

okay friends, i saved the very best for last. kitchen scales can be incredibly helpful for making accurate measurements, specifically for dry ingredients. sometimes recipes - macarons are a great example - will require you to measure things to the gram, and this little machine makes that possible! 

my scale has also been maybe the most important staple in my kitchen since i health-ed up my lifestyle. it's been really crucial in understanding and serving correct portion sizes, and therefore making good decisions about what i put in my body. i think americans have a very skewed perspective on what portions should look like, and this takes all the guesswork out of it. it is absolutely the first tool i would recommend to anyone looking to adjust their diet. they generally run around $20.

i hope this has been informational and at least a little entertaining! i'd love to know what you guys use in your kitchens. 

this weekend is going to be jam-packed with baking fun, so stay tuned!



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