Food, Food & Swine

Top 12 Gifts For Bakers

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I’ve compiled a list of my favorite gifts for the kitchen this year.  Last year I had a nice little list, but this year it is quite a bit bigger.  These 12 items can be found in my kitchen and I hope they make their way into yours.  There is an array of gifts, some more expensive, some less expensive, some dispensable, some gadgets and more.  Hopefully, with the variety, you will have some inspiration for the special cook or baker on  your list.

Of the links that are added, I will not make money on anything you click or buy.  I’m just sharing my love for the best products in my kitchen.
*Note: A few months ago, I was provided a Thermopop at no charge, to test against my regular Thermapen (I got from my husband 2 years ago), as the people from Thermoworks (makers of the Thermapen) see me profess my undying love (on Twitter and my blog) for my Thermapen on a daily basis.

Stay tuned to the end of the post to see the new addition to our farm… Merry Christmas, “this is your only gift“, to my husband!

#1.  Thermapen or Thermopop
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THERMAPEN: (Cost: around $96) There is not one single gadget, flavoring, pan, pot or book that I utilize more in my kitchen than my digital instant read thermometer, the Thermapen.  I use this thermometer to test the temperatures of meat on the grill or smoker, oil for frying, loaves of bread, dinner rolls, pies, cakes, brownies, peanut brittle, jams and jellies, and more with the super-fast 3 second readout.  This instant read thermometer is top of the line. and worth every penny.
Cost: Around $96
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THERMOPOP:  Thermopop is a less expensive instant read digital thermometer, like its more involved cousin, the Thermapen.  The Thermopop is useful when grilling, roasting, baking, and for other general uses. The display rotates 4 ways and is backlit and I like the cover on it with the ‘pen clip’. There is a 5-6 second readout time on this model.  For the money, this is a great unit, and a great beginner model that covers the basics. *Full disclosure: Thermoworks kindly sent a Thermopop to me at no charge to test against my Thermapen and give my opinion.
Cost: Around $29
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#2.  Silpat half sheet silicone baking liner
I can’t say enough about these.  I never bake without them and they are singlehandedly the biggest factor in my improved cookie baking.  They promote even baking and browning and best of all are reusable!  I have 4, one for every sheet pan.
Cost: Around $14.00 each
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#3.  Aluminum 1/2 sheet pans
Sheet pan see under the silicone liner here.  My sheet pans are well worn you can say, but are perfectly functional. Pitch the dark non-stick baking sheets if you have them.  Traditional aluminum half sheet pans are the ultimate sheet pan for baking, in my opinion and they will never go out of style.
Cost: Around $15 each
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#4.  Cutco 7 5/8″ Petite Chef’s Knife
Kitchen chopping can be a chore with a dull knife or a breeze with the perfect one.  I have big hands but still prefer the perfect size of this Cutco 7 5/8″ Petite Chef’s knife.  It is the ultimate chef’s knife for beginners or for anyone looking to improve the quality of the knives in their kitchen. PS: The handle is perfectly molded.  I’ve had mine for 8 years and it is still just as perfect as the day I bought it. (Yes, I have sharpened it!)
Cost: $123 (but there are typically discounts)
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#5.  Beater Blade Paddle Attachment
If the gift recipient you know has a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, check out the “Beater Blade” attachment.  This attachment scrapes the sides of the bowl of the mixer so the cook doesn’t have to.  Best investment for my small stand mixer.  I love this item. (Note: Be sure you know the model of stand mixer you are buying for as each blade is shaped to fit the various bowls of each model.)
Cost: Around $25+ each depending on model
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#6.  Balloon Whisk
The King Arthur Flour website hosts many of my favorite kitchen utensils and gadgets.  Their balloon whisk (which is a large 10″ whisk) is sturdy and well-made.  It is the perfect size for me.  My balloon whisk is one of my favorite kitchen tools.
Cost: Around $13 each
#7.  Spatulas and Scrapers
Spatulas and scrapers are used frequently in my kitchen, here is a link to the page full of quality spatulas and scrapers, manufactured to withstand repeated use.   I just counted and I have 9 spatulas in my kitchen.  That officially classifies me as a spatula hoarder.
Cost: Around $10+
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#8.  King Arthur Vermont Cheese Powder
Some of the best gifts to give are those that are dispensable.  Ones that can be used over time and thrown away.  If you truly don’t know what to get the budding cook or baker in your home, this cheese powder unlocks plenty of quick meal ideas (I make a mean Sweet Corn Mac N Cheese with it) and is great when added to bread dough.
Cost: Around $10
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#9.  King Arthur Pizza Dough Flavor
If you aspire to make “real pizza dough” this Pizza Dough Flavor is the key to elevate your standard homemade pizza crust to having flavors of  your favorite restaurant’s crust.  One whiff of this (think parmesan and garlic) will have you proofing yeast and whipping up a batch of pizza dough stat.
Cost: Around $9
#10.  Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste
Vanilla bean paste is the best product to buy in the wonderful world of baking.  I’ll never scrape and seed a vanilla bean again.  This paste has all the flavor and vanilla bean flecks in it already.  1 tsp = 1 vanilla bean pod.  Much less expensive than using vanilla bean pods, this stuff is the best thing since the invention of the wheel.
Cost: $13 for 4 oz.
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#11. Giant Spatula
For pie bakers everywhere (cake and bread bakers too), this giant spatula makes the dreaded pastry-move from counter to pie plate a cinch.  I have 3 of these and use them when I’m transferring bread dough, cake layers, pie pastry and Homemade Memory Ornaments seen in the picture above.  I love this spatula!
Cost: $15 each
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#12. Offset Spatula
An offset spatula is a baker’s dream.  This can be used for spreading frostings and fillings during cake baking, smoothing batters out when baking bars and is useful in cooking too.  I often use this spatula to flip small pancakes or mini grilled cheese sandwiches.  (7.5 inch model is what I prefer.  There is a 4.5 inch model that is useful for frosting cookies and cupcakes as well.)
Cost: Around $8 each

Or… if you are in our family: you get a pig (due to farrow in 2 weeks) for your Christmas present.

Merry Christmas honey! (More on this gilt we’re calling “Vanilla Ice Cream” in my next post!)

Welcome home Vanilla Ice Cream.

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8 Comments

  • Reply Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] December 6, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Absolutely excellent list! Putting that KitchenAid paddle on mine next year!

    • Reply Cristen December 6, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Thank you Sarah! You will love it, no more annoying bowl scraping!

  • Reply Janine December 6, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Love your list Cristen! I share your love for many of the same helpful items!

  • Reply Jessica December 6, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Funny thing, I just used most of these items in your quick focaccia bread tonight! Great lists!!!

  • Reply ceil slings December 7, 2014 at 2:59 am

    I really really need that therma pen for Christmas! !!!

    • Reply Cristen December 7, 2014 at 3:40 am

      Yes you do, Mom! 🙂

  • Reply jenieats December 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I love Vanilla Ice Cream:) I want to take her on a walk too when I visit. Great list of practical gifts. I want a thermapen. That cheese powder is amazing. We keep throwing it into sauces and mac & cheese.

  • Reply Lori Slings December 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    You have compiled an amazing lift of great gift ideas and why they are a good idea!! You are so thorough!! Love the list and thank you!!!

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