Last week I talked about a new feature on my blog...Shades of Pink! It's a series about things that I get asked by readers or things that are just important to my everyday life! You can find last week's post, all about cooking essentials, here.
Today I am talking about something that I love even more than cooking and that is baking! I have definitely come to love cooking, especially since I am a much less picky eater than I used to be...but baking will always be my first love!
1. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
If you do not have one of these in your kitchen, you need to go out and buy one...like right now! Or put it on your Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary gift list! This thing is A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!! I got my kitchen aid, in pink of course, as a gift from my Mother-In-Law at my bridal shower, and I have never looked back! This baby sits on my counter and gets used many times per week. I should also mention that while I use it predominately for baking, I definitely use it to make dinners and such as well! It is so versatile. For over five years now this has been hands down my favorite kitchen tool. They are expensive, but they are such a worthwhile investment (and you can definitely get them on sale, especially during the holidays).
2. A Hand Mixer
As much as I use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for so much, it is really nice to have a hand mixer for small quick jobs! This was another bridal shower gift from John's Grandmom and it is still going strong! I don't use this as often...but when I have to whip up a small batch of glaze or icing, I am so happy to have it! And of course, I have it in PINK (but unfortunately they don't sell my model in that color anymore)! Another great advantage to a hand mixer is that you can really use it for any baking recipe that calls for a stand mixer if you don't have the counter space or room in your budget to splurge on a stand mixer right now. My mom has never owned a stand mixer, so all of the baking I did before John and I got married was done in my parents kitchen with a hand mixer that is probably the same age as me!
3. Really Great Baking Pans
Buy a couple of really good baking pans from the start. Your cakes and cookies will bake evenly and never ever stick to the pans. I cannot say enough good things about the gold touch baking pans that I have from Williams Sonoma! They are just the best! Here's what I would recommend getting: two loaf pans (1 pound capacity), two 12-well muffins pans (for making muffins and cupcakes), one 9x13 cake pan, two cookie trays, one half sheet tray, and two eight or nine inch round pans. Those are what I use the absolute most in my everyday baking!
4. Set of Mixing Bowls with Different Sizes
This may be a given, but I am always using mixing bowls to prep ingredients. I think it's nice to have a set with different sizes so that if you only need to combine a small quantity of ingredients you can use a small mixing bowl - it will take up less room in your dishwasher! But you definitely want the option of having a large mixing bowl as well! I like mixing bowls that also have a pour spout!
5. Measuring Cups and Spoons
This one may seem silly or obvious but it is so important for baking! See when I cook I don't really measure...in fact I mostly only measure when creating a recipe for the blog so that I can give my readers exact amounts. However, when you bake it is crucial to use exact amounts, especially when it comes to flour, baking powder, etc. (I mean if you don't want to measure chocolate chips that is not the end of the world). Make sure you are using measuring cups and spoons for dry ingredients and a separate measuring cup specifically for liquid to measure wet ingredients!
For your dry ingredients:
For your wet ingredients: