Most people assume that I have a kitchen full of fancy baking utensils and gadgets.
In fact, I bet I have fewer items than you think, and most are not expensive or fussy at all. Over the 25+ years I’ve been baking, I’ve learned that you don’t need an arsenal of equipment to execute almost any recipe. So I thought I’d share with you my own “baker’s dozen” of must-haves in the kitchen:
Mixer: This is hands-down the most important piece of baking equipment I own. It’s the workhorse of my kitchen and I use it at least once a week – way more during the holiday season. And because I use it so often, I’ve invested in a high-quality mixer. For me, the two most important features are a strong and sturdy motor, and a 5 to 6 quart capacity bowl. As you know, I often double recipes and need a mixer that can easily hold a large quantity of dough or batter without burning out on me.
Rubber Spatula: I know what you’re thinking –this is an important utensil? But it is. Again, I am often working with large quantities of dough, and need a spatula that will scrape out the bowl cleanly and easily. Most spatulas are flimsy and wind up bending under the weight of the dough. I had my Grandma Fay’s for years and when it finally gave out I searched high and low for a suitable replacement. This spatula is thick and sturdy, and I love the spoon-shaped head – a minor detail that makes all the difference.
Measuring cups and spoons: Obvious, but again, since I use these every time I bake, I look for cups and spoons with sturdy handles and easy-to-read measurements.
Food scale: Since I’ve written an entire post on why I love weighing ingredients, I’ll keep it simple – if you bake, get a food scale. That is all.
Baking sheets: This can be overwhelming as there are SO many options – non-stick, rimless, double-thick, insulated…… I pass on them all for these basic, heavy duty aluminum sheets that don’t warp or buckle. They distribute heat evenly and are the perfect weight for all of my cookies. Love these.
Angled spatulas: I have two sizes – 9 3/4″ and 4 1/4″ – for different uses. The smaller spatula is handy for smoothing cake batter, frosting cupcakes, and loosening cakes and bar cookies from their pans. The larger size is essential for making frosted cakes with a smooth, professional finish.
How about you? Do you have just a few basic essentials or are you always on the hunt for the latest gadget? What are some of your cooking and baking “must-haves”?
Stay tuned for the rest of my favorites later in the week!