Top Ten: Baking Essentials in Our Home for 2017

One of my favorite things about spring is baking. Something about the temperatures dropping and the nights coming later makes me all nostalgic and draws me into the kitchen to bake and cook and make our home cozy and comforting.

The few days we have had below 70-degree weather, I have been in the kitchen cooking and baking and concocting yummy new recipes.

I decided that it was time to tell you all about our favorite tools in our kitchen. These are our essentials for baking, in no particular order.

1. KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer

This is an ESSENTIAL for baking. If you don’t have one, buy one. Save up for one. Set aside pennies every month for one. Just get one. I grew up with one of these, and they are the absolute best for whipping up a batch of cookies, a cake or whipping meringue or marshmallows. Give your arm a rest from the hand mixers. This thing is a sturdy piece of equipment and they last forever!

2. KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater

This is a newcomer to our kitchen. C gave it to me for my birthday about a month ago, but it’s my newest favorite accessory. As you can probably tell, it’s a beater attachment for the KitchenAid stand mixer (4.5 and 5-quart tilt-head varieties only for now). It does what it says it does and scrapes the bowl WHILE it’s mixing. It’s pure genius if you ask me. No more stopping halfway through creaming to scrape the sides of the bowl!

3. Stainless Steel Measuring Cups

I grew up on plastic measure cups, which do what they’re supposed to do. They’re cheaper than stainless steel, so why do I choose stainless steel? Because of durability and versatility. With stainless steel measuring cups you can go ahead and dig your flour straight out of the bin without and concern of bending or breaking the handles. The ones above are the ones we have, there are plenty of other options on the market, but these are my favorite because they’re one piece – most others out there have the handle soldered to the cup, which could eventually break. Also, the ones above have a halfway mark on each, so no more grabbing two cups for 1.5 cups of flour! We also own the spoons, and love them.

4. Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling Pin

This is also a relative new-comer to our home (we were lucky enough to snag it off of The Foundary for super cheap once after drooling over it for months). This has become my new favorite for rolling out cookies! Just put on the disc that corresponds to the width you’d like, and voila! your cookies are all the same thickness.

5. Norpro Pastry Frame

If you’ve never seen/used one of these, you MUST. I grew up rolling out pastry and cookies on these, and after last year’s Christmas cookie baking, I was dying for my own. It’s a cloth that is held taught by a wood and metal frame. You sprinkle your flour onto it and roll out your dough. It is less messy, sticks less and is overall MUCH better than using the counter. This is one of those things that, once you use it, you’ll never go back. Plus, it has measurements that help you roll out the right size pie crust every time!

6. Silicone Baking Mats

C and I got one of these for our wedding, and we LOVE them. I hadn’t ever used them before, but I thought they were an interesting idea. I’m glad someone got us one for our wedding because we probably wouldn’t have purchased one ourselves. Recently, we ran out to buy another so we could have two for baking cookies! These things make your cookie sheets non-stick, so no more need to grease the sheet! And they save so much clean-up time. Just wipe them at the end and they’re clean. Most importantly, cookies just slide off the pan, no more scraping baked-on cookie. The popular brand is Silpat, but these were cheaper and work well. The only downside is they’re made for jelly roll pans, and we use air bake sheets, so they’re not quite size compatible.

7. Airbake Cookie Sheets

This is another goodie I grew up using. They’re simple cookie sheets, but they bake cookies so much more evenly than jelly roll pans. Do know, that because of the two piece construction of these sheets, you cannot immerse them in water.

8. Wilton Indulgence Bakeware

These are my FAVORITES for baking. They bake evenly and are nonstick. But my favorite feature and the handles on each pan – they’re so much easier to grab out of a hot oven than other pans. We have the round cake pans, loaf pan, muffin tin, and a few others that I’m currently forgetting. They’re the first pans I grab.

9. Stainless Steel Handled Spatula

Unfortunately, the spatula that I own is apparently not available anywhere, but it’s the idea that I like behind it. Our silicone and stainless steel spatula is from Crate and Barrel, but variations of it can be found elsewhere. It’s my go to spatula because of its flexible-yet-sturdy silicone head and stainless steel handle which never threatens to break from scraping a thick cookie dough. Any of you who bake, know from experience that the right spatula is important, it can’t be too soft or too hard or it won’t do anything. This is one of my other favorite spatulas.

10. Jumbo Cookie Spatula

I must admit, this spatula looks utterly ridiculous because it’s HUGE. But that’s a good thing. I first giggled when C said he really wanted it, but I realize now what a genius decision it was. I use it primarily to lift cookies that have been cut from dough onto the cookie sheet so they don’t break in transit.

11. Wilton Comfort Grip Cookie Cutters

I was only going to give you our top ten, but I couldn’t leave these off. They are my utmost favorite cookie cutters (that I’m gaining quite the collection of). They are sturdy, cut well, and don’t dig into your hand when you’re cutting multiple cookies out. They are more expensive than your average cookie cutter, but the results are awesome. And your hand will thank you after especially large batches! They come in all sorts of fun shapes. I have my eye on the snowflake. .

So there you go, our current, go-to baking tools. What are yours? Do you have anything in your kitchen that you can’t live without for baking?

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