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Blog

Gifts for Bakers

Patricia Reitz

Here are some last minute gift ideas for the baker in your life.  If you're an Amazon Prime Member, you already know members receive Free 2-Day Shipping on eligible purchases, free access to Amazon Instant Video, and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, all for only $79 a year.  If you're not a member, they offer a FREE 30-Day Trial.  Can't beat that!  

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Mauviel Copper Sugar Pot - The French designed this small narrow saucepan specifically for boiling sugar.  The copper heats very quickly and evenly, and it inhibits the formation of sugar crystals which can ruin a batch of melted sugar in an instant.  I use mine every time I make caramel or Italian meringue buttercream.

USA Pans - Top quality commercial-weight bakeware.  Time to replace those warped and discolored dime store pans that burn everything.  This set is the bomb - simply the best bakeware I've ever used.

The BeaterBlade - This item is probably the single most important baking tool since the invention of the stand mixer.  The silicone ribs completely eliminate the need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Be careful when ordering - these are available for many makes and models so you'll need to know specifics when ordering.   

Ateco Rotating Cake Stand - this is a must for anyone who wants to delve into cake decorating.  My cake decorating skills went from so-so to pro when I started using this rotating cake stand.  I wouldn't dream of decorating a cake without it.  And it's pretty enough to use for display too.

Microplane Zester/Grater - Nothing grates citrus zest, nutmeg, or chocolate quite as well as a microplane grater.  Mine is almost 20 years old, I use it all the time, and it works just as well as it did when it was brand new. A tool you'll reach for again and again and again.  

USA Pans Round Cake Pans - We already discussed the wonderful commercial quality of USA Pans, but it's important to use straight sided pans when baking a layer cake instead of pans that nest together and have slanted sides which can make decorating a cake a very difficult and frustrating task.

POURfect Bowl - This is the best bowl for anyone who has trouble adding dry ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer while the mixer is running.  Every speck of flour or sugar goes straight in the mixer - no more mess wax paper, no more spills.  And the drip-free spout works equally well for liquids.

Oxo Digital Scale with Pull-Out Display - Those who want to bake like the pros know the pros measure their ingredient by weight.  There are tons of digital scales out there, but this one has a nifty pull-out display which is extremely handy.  I used a different brand scale for years and it worked very well, but a large bowl or plate would block my view of the digital display so I'd have to resort to very creative ways to read the display (plate or bowl stacked on an upside down cup = potential disaster).  Not anymore!  Measures in Imperial and Metric, has a tare (zero) function, and will weigh up to 11 pounds.

Cuisipro Meauring Spoons and Cups - For those who prefer to measure by volume, this set is the one to get.  Not all measuring spoons and cups are accurate, but Cuisipro measuring spoons and cups are precisely calibrated, and they're not flimsy at all so they won't bend.  They look really cool too.

Vitamix 750 - What an amazing piece of equipment.  It's no wonder thousands of restaurants, cafes, and smoothie bars choose Vitamix.  This thing is awesome, and not just for making smoothies - you can use it to make nut butters, hot soups, frozen desserts, grind flour - it'll even make pizza dough!

Nordicware Heritage Bundt Pan - Of all the Bundt pans I own, this is the one that gets the most Oohs and Aahs from friends and family.  Everybody loves the shape it give to cakes.  

Just check out my Biscoff Bund Cake with Espresso Ganache

.

Stainless Cookie Scoop Set - These little gadgets are the reason why bakeries can make cookies, cupcakes, and muffins that are all the same size.   And when everything is the same size, everything bakes evenly.  They're neat and tidy too, especially when filling muffin pans.    

Oxo Mini Measuring Beakers - Perfect for measuring small amounts, this set includes 4 nesting beakers that measure from 1/4 teaspoon to 4 tablespoons.  They have easy pour spouts, are dishwasher safe, and they're so darn cute!

Le Creuset Ramekins - I love to use these ramekins for serving things like creme brulee, pudding, and ice cream, but I love-love-love that they stack together without tipping over.  And they're available in a rainbow of colors too.

Kitchen Torch - This is one of those items everyone wants to have in their kitchen.  Use it to caramelize sugar on creme brulee, toast meringue, or melt cheese on French onion soup.  

USA Pan Half Sheet Pan - Whether making cookies, roasting vegetables, or baking bread - these pans can handle the task.  So versatile - I use them for everything.

CIA Cooling Racks - These cooling racks are my favorite because they're super sturdy and they fit perfectly inside the half sheet pan listed above.

Silpat Baking Mat - Line half sheet pans with these reusable silicone baking mats.  Absolutely nothing sticks to a silpat - bake cookies, make fudge, pour taffy, bake bread, and so much more.  Heat-safe up to 480F, wipes clean with a damp cloth, and can be used thousands of times.  I own five of them.

Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream - Without question, the best ice cream and gelato maker around.  Unlike pre-freeze machines that have a bowl that needs to be frozen for a full 24 hours between each batch of ice cream, this is a compressor machine.  No need to pre-freeze a bowl, and you can make batch after batch after batch.  There are a lot of great compressor machines out there, but this is the quietest and easiest to use, has 12 hardness settings, and it will will churn and hold your frozen treat at your preferred serving temperature for up to 3 hours.  You can choose between a silent, ding, or song to signal the end of the cycle too.  

CDN Digital Candy Thermometer - A must for making candy or Italian meringue buttercream.  Can be used for deep frying or testing the temperature of breads and roasts too.  It has a temperature range of 40-450F, a large easy-to-read digital display, 7 preset temperatures (soft ball, hard crack, etc), a meat temperature guide printed on the sheath, and it has an audio signal to let you know when your target temperature has been reached.

Chicago Metallic Pie Weight - Baking empty pie shells has never been easier.  This metal and silicone pie weight is brilliant.  The silicone edges fit 9 to 11-inch pie crusts and the perforated metal base keeps the bottom crust flat and allows excess moisture to escape.  Never mess with flimsy foil, hot pennies, stinky dried beans, or icky clay beads again.  You'll wonder why it took so long for someone to come up with this ingenious idea. 

Brod and Taylor Folding Bread Proofer and Yogurt Maker - The ultimate bread baker's toy.  This folding bread proofing box helps maintain consistent humidity and temperature for the ideal environment to ferment and rise bread dough, make yogurt, and melt chocolate.  Temperature range is 70-120F (humidity range or approx 60-80%).  Folds flat for easy storage.

Flat Whisk - Kind of like a whisk/spatula hybrid.  It functions like a whisk and it scrapes the bottom of a sauce pan when cooking puddings or custards - gets into the corners of the pan too.  Pretty nifty tool.  

Breville Sous Chef Food Processor - This thing is built like a tank!  Let's start with the die-cast metal base, non skid feet, a count-up and count-down timer, huge 16-cup work bowl, silicone gasket to keep crumbs and splashes in the bowl, a small 2.5 cup mini bowl, 3 blades, 5 discs (including one that adjusts to 24 different thickness settings), and a storage case to hold all the extra blades and discs.  I've tried a lot of food processors over the years, and this is one is my favorite by far.

Oxo Oven Thermometer - Nothing threatens to ruin the success of your baked goods as much as baking at the wrong oven temperature.  This Oxo thermometer is calibrated for accuracy, has a clear back which makes it easy to read, and it can sit on top of or hang under any rack in your oven.

Breville Pro Stand Mixer - Another winning kitchen appliance from Breville.  This super sturdy stand mixer is a new favorite of mine.  The mixer has a tilt head, 12 speeds to choose from, a 10-minute timer, a 5-quart capacity bowl, 4 attachments including a scraper blade, and the motor "purrs like a kitten" even at the highest speed.  I love it.

Oxo Kitchen Timer - I have quite a few timers and this is my current favorite.  I love how easy it is to use.  when not counting down time, it functions as a clock.  When you want to use it as a timer, you don't have to change modes, all you do is enter the time and push start.  That's it.  A few minutes later it reverts back to clock mode all by itself.  Super easy, and I love that the timer display is angled so it's easy to read.  The timer has a sturdy flat base too so it doesn't rock on the counter when you push the buttons.  

Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract - Any baker would LOVE to get this 32-ounce bottle of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.  One of the most intoxicating flavors and aromas in the world - in a size large enough to last for a really long time.  You definitely can't go wrong with this one.