Friday, December 25, 2009

My New Best Friends: Kitchen Tools

I am a total baking hack. I like to try to find the quickest/ shortest route to anything involving the kitchen... this year is no different. And this year, I found some great tools that sincerely have made my time in front of a hot oven considerable easier.

First up, my new KitchenAid mixer. I can just thrown in the ingredients and then start putting things away or start another recipe... whatever. And it is so powerful, it mixes chocolate chip cookie dough (chips included!), banana bread and pretty much any other ingredients I can throw in it. Love it!

Next up: Reynolds parchment paper. How did I make it 33 years without learning about this? Where my girlfriends at? Why didn't you tell me I could shave hours off cleaning time and probably have saved many a baking pan in the meantime? You just line any pan with the paper and bake your cookies and treats without fear of them sticking. I think it's rated up to 420º- so you are safe for pretty much any baked good. AND, you can just fold it up and reuse it over and over. Think of the energy and resources you are saving from scrubbing all those pans (and the extra calories from buttering/ greasing pans.) Parchment paper is my new favorite green tool.

Most versatile: My cookie dough scoop. I just grabbed one on a whim at Target when I had to make a few dozen cookies for Ariana's dance recital. I hate it when all my cookies are different sized (OCD much?) That $2 plastic worked out so well I actually went to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought a nicer one. But, it's not just that it makes perfect shaped cookies (which it does) they are all cooked perfectly when they are the same size too. And then... the 1" scoop is perfect for making the perfect sized mini muffins too. (like what I've pictured here.) It just makes things go so much quicker, like an assembly line, and it makes things easier for the kids too, when they are helping.

Last is my double boiler: I have tried melting chocolate in different ways (microwave, makeshift boiler) and having the real deal this year was a lifesaver. I am lucky enough to have Calphalon cookwear (thanks, Mom) and this double boiler is basically a stainless steel insert that sets into my pans. When double boiling, you are basically using the heat (steam) from the pan below (while not actually having the double boiler touch the water below) and, when it's done right, you can make some yummy treats very quickly and easily. The Oreo cookie bark that I made this year was the most popular treat and I was able to prepare a ton of it in short order with the help of my little friend: mr. Calphalon double boiler.

Do you have any special tools that you can share? I know there are probably a bevy of hacks out there like myself who know dirty little secrets of Momma's kitchen... do tell!


  1. I love my new KitchenAid! I started using parchment paper a few years ago and I never bake without it. Even Pigs in Blankets go on the paper!
    I love my flour/sugar shaker. Mine's from Pampered Chef but I'm sure you can find them anywhere. They have a handle and the top is covered in the metal mesh stuff like a sifter. Great for rolling out cookies and sprinkling stuff with powdered sugar.

  2. I love my KitchenAid! My FIL gave us his old industrial one. I don't know how I ever baked without it. I even make homemade pasta with my attachment!

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