Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tools and Ingredients

I’m not sure I have a more coveted cooking tool than the small offset spatula. I use it to frost cakes, cupcakes and cookies. I use it to quickly peel off hot tuiles right out of the oven and often to gently place a component of a dessert on the plate before it goes out to a guest. It is an extension of my right hand and the only tool I really feel I can’t live without. But then again, there is my heatproof spatula that I affectionately call my “spat”, my many sized ice cream scoops and my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. Oh, oh, oh AND my whisks! Ok, well there are many tools in my kitchen that are vital to creating what is on this blog. I have been asked on several occasions what tools are essential to the home baker. The list varies from person to person, because even though a casual baker probably won’t need 5 different sized whisks, and avid baker might not either. But when asked, I make a simple list:
Heatproof Spatula
Wooden rolling pin
Measuring Cups and Spoons
8 or 9 inch round pan or cupcake pan
13x9 inch rectangle pan
8 inch square pan
Cookie sheet or baking sheet
Parchment paper
A small set of piping tips with a piping bag

Now you have a few essential items and you can begin to bake…except first you need ingredients, right?

Baking with really good ingredients makes so much difference in your final product. Buy good butter on sale and freeze it, make sure you have fresh, local eggs, milk and cream-local because some eggs in the grocery stores are shipped from different states…so make sure you know where your food comes from.
Since vanilla beans are really expensive, make a smaller investment and buy a really good vanilla extract. And before you use the baking soda and baking powder that has been sitting in your cupboard since the holidays, check the expiration date.

Now, I would like to ask you a question. What is your favorite kitchen tool? Anything that you use in the kitchen to make your time go by a little faster or anything that is just super fun to use! While you're at it, tell me about your favorite ingredient too! Leave a comment and let me know.