I had to write for an English course, so I thought, why not throw this up here? And I’ll say again, so sorry for being the laziest with posts, but I’ve been really busy getting my catering business off the ground and with school, bear with me 🙂
10. Masterclass Biscuit and Icing Set
9. Silpat Non-stick Baking Mat
This kitchen tool will save you all the headaches that come with soaking and scrubbing your baking sheets. Although Silpat’s are a bit pricey, in the long run, you actually end up saving money on parchment paper (the best substitute for lining pans without a Silpat). These baking mats are a really great investment! They’re made out of sturdy fiberglass and silicone, which helps to make sure your food bakes evenly. I’ve used this baking mat for anything from bread and cookies, to chicken parmesan. It is absolutely wonderful!
8. Silicone Spatulas
Most people own rubber spatulas, which are used to scrape bowls and smooth icing, but silicone ones are definitely more useful. For one, they won’t melt when you use them to scrape pots with hot liquids. You never have to worry about melting your spatula again when making soup, pâte à choux (puff pastry dough), or boiling sugar syrup for candies. You don’t want to be eating rubber, or in my case, for your customers to be doing so, so I really recommend them. My favourite spatulas are these rainbow coloured ones by Nordic Ware. And by the way, you should have multiple spatulas in your kitchen.
7. Stand Mixer
Any stand mixer is great, but I really love my Kitchenaid. You could use an old school hand mixer if you really wanted to, but if you value your time, a stand mixer is the way to go. They can be used to knead dough (something I prefer to by hand, but the feature is there and works well), cream mixtures, make extremely fluffy cakes, whip cream and meringues and, my favourite reason for owning one, whipping marshmallows. If you’ve ever made these fluffy, sweet treats at home, and I suggest you do, you’ll know that if you had a hand mixer you’d have to stand there whipping a seriously stiff and tough mixture for at least 20 minutes. With a stand mixer, you can put your ingredients in and set a timer for 10 minutes and go about your business while it does all the work for you! Also, most stand mixers come with a balloon whisk attachment which aerates recipes better than the double whisks on hand mixers.
6. Immersion Blender
This might actually be my number one kitchen tool, but in the interest of keeping this viewer friendly, I chose to put it in a more reasonable place. I make soups a ridiculous amount of times a week, so my little immersion blender saves my life. There was this one time–in the prehistoric days before I got my immersion blender–when I was blending soup and the steam from the soup in the blender made the top fly off and I literally had burns (minor ones, don’t worry) over most of my body. If you want to avoid that situation, I recommend you buy an immersion blender, and you don’t have to get a crazily pricey one either! This is the one I use, and it barely put a dent in my wallet:
5. A Good Knife Set
I love cooking alone so these are great for keeping people out of your kitchen! (I’m joking guys, please keep your knives pointed towards your food, and your food alone! Hehe.) In all seriousness though, good knives are essential in any kitchen, no matter what kind of food you make. They aren’t just good for chopping vegetables and slicing meat after all. I use them while baking all the time! Portioning off bits of dough, cutting shapes in cookies or pie crusts, crushing nuts for quick breads–you name it, you can probably find a way to use a knife for it. Also, dull knives (now this sounds weird, I know) cause cuts way more than sharp ones do because they may slip off of food instead of cutting through it. So, even though they can be rather pricey, you should spend the money and save your appendages.
4. A Good, Heavy Sheet Pan
My favourite pan is my half sheet pan, which is the size of Silpat I have too, by the way. A whole sheet pan is typically only found in professional kitchens and is HUGE, and anything below a half-sheet is a bit too small. You should definitely get one with sides, even just shallow ones, because it allows you to cook with sauces and to make brownies or sheet cakes in them. Also, ridges on the actual surface of the pan, while not strictly necessary, are a good thing to look for too because food crisps up better when introduced to air on all sides. Why should it be a heavy sheet pan, you ask? Thin, flimsy ones distort their shapes very easily and don’t distribute heat well, causing uneven baking and burnt or undercooked food. Here’s an inexpensive one in several different sizes:
3. Two Sets of Measuring Cups
You could get by with just one set, but having two of these babies is another sanity saver! One of the most irritating things (to me, anyway) is making a recipe and having to stop what you’re doing several times to wash your only half cup measure. Having at least two of everything saves time and makes your life easier, even if you just keep one for dry ingredients and one for wet ingredients. I love the collapsible ones because they save space in your drawers:
2. A Large Pot
A necessary staple piece, especially in my kitchen where soups are a favourite because of their quickness and cheapness. I recommend a dutch oven (although a standard soup pot is fine), because they’re wider and shallower, therefore distribute heat more evenly. They’re also thicker so there is less of a chance of your food burning. Don’t let their prices deter you if you go hunting for them though! Some can cost up to $400, but there are many that are more affordable and just as effective, like this one:
1. A Well Stocked Spice Rack
I know this isn’t a tool, but if you don’t have ingredients, you can’t cook anyway. Spices are my most necessary ingredient because I love very flavourful food. I’m a huge fan of Indian cuisine, so I have a large array or masalas, curry powders and pastes, lots of cumin, and plenty of cinnamon on hand at all times. Don’t forget your liquid spices like soy sauce and various types of vinegars too, for my second favourite, Thai food! There are lots of styles of racks to choose from as well, so make sure you find one which suits your kitchen. For example, mine are standing shelves that pull out from my cupboards, which is the best way to organize them in my opinion. However, if you want one standing on your counter, or attached to your wall, go right ahead!