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I was going through some old posts and deleting ones that were just terrible and not really relevant anymore, and I came across one I did for a blog hop years ago where I had to talk about my favorite Christmas gift. The gift I chose? My beloved KitchenAid Mixer. And I still love that thing! I’ve come a long way in my baking endeavors since then though, and I’ve got a lot more kitchen favorites. So I thought I’d share them!
Some of these will seem a little obvious for those that work in the kitchen a lot, but I decided to include them to make the list inclusive, and therefore perfect for someone who is new to baking and needs to start building their arsenal of kitchen tools without missing anything important. Most of the items listed are the ones I actually use and love.
Here’s my list of essentials:
Cake Pan with a Lid – Having a cake pan with its own lid is super helpful, and I highly recommend having one. It’s so convenient to just throw the lid on batch of brownies to keep them fresh and not have to fumble with foil or cling wrap.
Cookie Scoop – Scooping cookies is so easy with one of these babies. They come out the perfect size and shape, so your cookies bake up nice and even. Keeps your hands from getting super messy too, which I appreciate!
Cookie Spatula – This cookie spatula is amazing. It’s nice and big so you don’t have to worry about larger cookies not making it over to the cooling rack. It’s also good for flipping grilled cheese sandwiches. And Quesadillas. Basically anything with cheese in it.
Cooling Rack – You gotta have a place to cool your baked goods! I prefer the stacking racks, especially if you’re making a lot of cookies at once. But a single baking rack works too.
Cupcake Liners – Pretty cupcake liners aren’t a must, I guess, but you won’t catch me without them. I am a big fan of these from Wilton that don’t fade when you bake. I mean, cupcakes still taste good even when the papers are greasy and faded, but it sure is nice when they look pretty.
Food scale – I was really resistant to the food scale at first, but the thing sure is handy. Some things you just need to weigh ingredients for. It’s also good for weighing other small things, like packages and gerbils and things. I recommend washing it off after weighing gerbils. DISCLAIMER: I do not weigh small rodents on my food scale.
KitchenAid Hand Mixer – If you’re not into a stand mixer taking up counter space, this hand mixer is a great alternative. I have both actually, and I use this one for really quick jobs like preparing cake mixes.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer – How many times can I sing the praises of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer? It makes baking a breeze, and looks super sweet up on your counter. I don’t want to go as far to say that everyone needs one, but you probably do.
Lemon Squeezer – I really hate juicing fruit. I always seem to have a small cut on my finger that the juice gets into and then I’m cursing under my breath about it. This lemon squeezer is pretty great. Just cut the fruit in half, stick it in, and push down. No mess. No seeds. No problem.
Loaf Pan – These longer, skinnier loaf pans are amazing. The one I have is actually from IKEA, but these are very similar. I’ve had some mishaps with things not cooking well in regular loaf pans, but these haven’t failed me yet.
Measuring Cups and Spoons – These are obviously an absolute must-have. Unless you’re some kind of crazy genius (true story, i just spelled it “jenius” and had to correct it. me so smart.) I don’t think you can eyeball a cup of flour (i also spelled this “flower” and had to correct it. me learn real good.) or a teaspoon of vanilla.
Mixing Bowls – I like these mixing bowls in particular because they have lids, so they can do double duty as storage containers when you’re not mixing stuff up in them. Or sometimes you need to let things sit in the fridge before continuing on with the recipe, so these are perfect.
Muffin Tin – There’s really no substitute for a good muffin tin. There are alternatives, like silicone baking cups, but I am not a super big fan of those. If you want to go really crazy, you can get a mini muffin tin as well. Then you’ve got all your muffin/cupcake bases covered. And don’t even get me started on the mini cheesecakes you can make in them.
Pie Dish – Confession: I’m a fan of frozen pie crusts. They’re easy and they taste pretty good. But sometimes you just need to make your own crust, and that means you need a pie dish.
Piping Tips – You don’t have to go crazy here, just get a basic set to have on hand. You don’t have to be a decorating pro to use them for simple things, like frosting a cupcake. But using them gives your baked goods a much more professional look without a lot of extra effort. Oh, and don’t forget the piping bags.
Rolling Pin – I am a big fan of this french rolling pin. I find it much easier to use than a traditional rolling pin. It’s a lot easier to clean too.
Scraping Beater Blade – If you have a stand mixer but not one of these scraping beater blades, get yourself one pronto! It scrapes the bottom and the sides of the mixing bowl so you don’t have to bother with it. It completely replaced my regular beater blade.
Scraping Spatulas – You gotta have a couple of these bad boys in your arsenal too. I like this set because it comes with differences sizes. I use the little one all the time to get at the inside of jars or cans. I don’t like to leave any food behind.
Sheet Pans – Please get good, sturdy baking sheets for your kitchen. The cheaper ones warp in the oven, don’t distribute heat well, and are just overall not worth the headache. I prefer the style with the higher rim so they can do double duty for things like roasting vegetables.
Silpat Baking Mat – I really don’t even remember life before my silicone baking mat. How did I even bake things before they entered my life? I once made these caramel-stuffed cookies that basically exploded all over my cookie sheet. I can’t even imagine the cleanup if they hadn’t been on the baking mat. The caramel just wiped right off. This stuff is magic. You need at least one of these, but two is even better so when you’re making cookies you can alternate between baking sheets.
Square Baking Dish – This baking dish hasn’t let me down so far. It’s sturdy, has a lid, and words for baking, making layered desserts, or for food storage.
Whisk – This KitchenAid whisk is nice and sturdy, but the one I had inexplicably broke one day. It shouldn’t have, so I sent a message to the company just to let them know (not expecting anything from them) and they asked for my address and sent me a new one free of charge. The new one has been going strong for a while!
Whew! That was a long list, but really fun to put together. Did I miss anything though? Do you have any must-haves for your kitchen?
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