November 10, 2012

Baker's Kitchen: Most and Least Useful Tools

I've been baking a fair amount. No, scratch that. I've been baking at LOT. Muffins. Doughnuts. Tea cakes. Slowly but surely Klatch kitchen became more functional, more attuned to the baker's needs. The frequently used tools are now within arms reach and we've stocked up on additional baking tins, while other clutter has been relegated to the space above the fridge.

So here is a round up of the best and most undervalued baking equipment and also the items that seemed like a good idea but turned out to be utterly useless.

First, the Hall of Fame.If you have been telling yourself all these years that KitchenAid is only for serious bakers, stop this nonsense and get yourself one. Aqua or bright pink are both formidable options. And if you have one, plant it firmly on your counter and never ever move it (when you do not have to pull it out, you WILL use it). I may one day upgrade to a professional grade with extra juice, but my basic model, black with little specks, has served me well for the past few years.

I have my eye on Kitchenaid ice cream attachment but please skip fripperies like citrus juicer and meat grinder.
Don't underestimate the cookie scoop. This little fella gets a whole lot of use around our kitchen. When handling sticky dough it is the best way to fill up muffins or cupcake cups.

After countless muffins, my cookie scoop met its untimely demise just this morning. I have my eye on this slick one but will probably go with the more practical OXO.

A pretty ceramic pie dish, from France like so many other good things, goes the distance. I have not made an actual pie in some time, but this dish is a standby, whether we are making Sheppard's pie, a crumble, or just need a pretty plate to pile on the veg.
Ceramic pie dish with wavy edge just makes everything more special.

Surprisingly enough, my doughnut pan gets a whole lot of use around here.The thing is, a homemade and baked (rather than deep-fried!) doughnut isn't all that unhealthy. We had doubts, but this doughnut pan is worthy of the cabinet space.

If you are GF like us this pan is a MUST.

On these few things, the jury is still out. Obviously, measuring cups and spoons are very useful. But mine are, well, boring. I am not a fan of over-designed measuring tools but am on the look out for simple, functional, and cute ones to replace the current ones.
how cool are these measuring cups from The Container Store?

c Much of the year I wonder why a cookie press box is occupying valuable real estate in the baking cabinet. It is a one trick pony, if you know what I mean. But then holidays roll around, and I am glad to have spritz cookies, even if it means battling this deceptively simple device.

We are also fully stocked with loaf pans around here. From banana bread to meat loaf, no kitchen should be without a solid set of two (because one just doesn't cut it)l. But this Crueset loaf pan is adorable. It would look lovely next to the previously mentioned ceramic pie dish.
 Now for the overrated category. Don't get me started on the Bundt pan. Don't get me wrong, I like it and it is so pretty, but truthfully, how often does one make a bundt cake? I like my bundt pan and won't part with it, but that pan is lucky to see the daylight once a year.
Maida Heatter's Lemon White Pepper and Ginger Bundt cake is my favorite! Perhaps it is fine time to adapt it and make a GF version!
Cookie cutters are oh-so-pretty, especially the copper ones. But, seriously, how often do you bake roll-out cookies? They never quite turn out with edges slightly over-baked and oftentimes spread out in baking to look like a big doughy blob instead of intended Fleur de Lis or Lobster.

My cookie-cutters are comfortably stashed out of the way.

You might also enjoy last year's cookie posts.

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