Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to get down to some Holiday baking. Cookies, pies, cakes, candy (ok, candy is not baking). All those things that I tend to steer clear of the rest of the year, but really enjoy making. All bets are off for the holidays. As my dad said, it’s always better if you have the right tools for the job. So, I thought it might be helpful if I listed some of my favorite baking tools and why I love them. That way, you will know exactly why you must have these 5 things guaranteed to make your holiday baking delightful. :o)
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Tools to Make Your Baking Delightful
First, a good mixer is essential. A couple of years ago the Accidental Cowboy gave me my KitchenAid Professional Stand Mixer. I felt like it was a huge splurge at the time (I could have gone with the Artisan Model) but in retrospect it was the way to go. I love the dough hook for making bread. The big bowl and flat beater are just what I need when making a big batch of Speculoos Cookie Dough and the whisk attachment works like a dream for whipping egg whites or heavy cream. I still have making my own butter on my to-do list. This mixer is the home baker’s ultimate work horse.
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Now, on a smaller scale, I absolutely think everyone needs several Silpat Silicone Baking Mats. I use mine for kneading bread and pizza dough. You won’t need to add a bunch of extra flour. I also recommend rolling out cookie and pie crust dough on these. I can’t tell you how much easier life is when you use a Silpat. It’s like buttons on shirts. Really!
Next, for all those recipes that call for zest, lemon, lime, orange…. You need a good microplane zester. You can attempt zesting with a fine grater, but make your life simple and get a good microplane (your knuckles will thank you). You will use it for baked goods as well as zesting for salads, salsas and stews. With a good microplane, you are guaranteed to get just the sweet tasting zest not the pith. It’s fast, it’s easy. Just do it.
I love my Wilton non-stick loaf pans. I can use just a bit of canola oil or cooking spray with these. My yeast breads, quick breads and cakes come out of these beautifully. How about being able to skip making a parchment paper sling so that things come out nice and clean. Can’t you just see that perfect pound cake loaf?
About, pie crust. My favorite tool for light, flakey pie crust is a good pastry cutter. I have used my food processor, two forks, two knives and my fingers. Hands down, my best pie crusts are made with a pastry cutter. It’s fast and cuts the fat into the pastry in big enough chunks that you get an amazing light crust. Over-processing is the enemy. Won’t happen with a pastry cutter.
I always like to have a couple of pie crusts in the freezer. They are so much better than store-bought. Use them for sweet pies like pecan (my absolute favorite) as well as savory pot pies. A light and flaky pie crust is a breeze with a good pastry cutter.
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What are your must have baking tools? Let me hear from y’all!