There are a number of tools that I use when I bake and create that I couldn’t live without.
I thought I would just share a few of them today for a couple reasons. Sometimes you don’t realize you’re doing something the hard way until you see someone else doing it their way. Or you don’t even know that certain tools exist until you hear about it from someone else. I’m sure there are easier ways of doing some of the things I do.. if you have any ideas for me please feel free to share!
A lot of my items are Pampered Chef. I am spoiled when it comes to kitchen gadgets and I just LOVE my Pampered Chef items. Speaking of, I am having a party next week so if you are interested in ordering anything let me know and I can direct you to my wonderful consultant’s site!
These are in no particular order…
Mini Spatula (Pampered Chef). I have 2 of these. They’re the perfect size to lift my rolled cutout cookies to place on my cookie sheet to bake. The second one I use to move the cookies from the sheet to the drying rack without cross contaminating my cooked vs. uncooked.
Toothpicks and Boo Boo Sticks. Toothpicks are a bakers #1 tool. You test your cake with them, use them to add gel food coloring to cakes and frostings, to poke, push, swirl, pop, and scrape your cookie icing… the uses are endless. I recently purchased a few boo boo sticks from Karen’s Cookies. The sharp end I use in every way I use my toothpicks, except it never gets dull or splinters into my icing. The other end is a perfect icing scraper for when you make mistakes or need to start over.
Squeeze Bottles (some Pampered Chef). A few years ago I went to a Pampered Chef party and saw these little accordian squeeze bottles. The consultant said they are great but a pain to clean… but she had put buttercream in hers. Somehow it hit me to use them for my cookie icing. See before that, I used to have my icing in a small bowl and spread the icing on with a cheese spreader or small knife. Turning to these bottles made the whole process faster and more fun! Back then I also didn’t flood my cookies. I would just squeeze the icing on, then spread it around with a little knife. After I learned about flooding, I realized that everyone uses squeeze bottles. And I thought I was a genuis for thinking of it. Oh well… Michael’s also sells squeeze bottles. I like their big bottles, but their small bottle have these teeeeny necks and it’s impossible to fill them without making a mess.
In case you don’t know what flooding is, it’s when you outline a cookie first with a thicker icing (I actually use buttercream for this part) then you “flood” or fill-in the cookie with the thinner icing. Gravity is your friend here, and the icing dries smooth and perfect. Everyone will ask HOW did you get it so smooth?!
Marble Rolling Pin. I LOVE my rolling pin. Most cookie bakers use wood or plastic pins because the weight of the pin can make it hard to get an even width of dough. Lots of bakers also use tools to ensure the dough is even. Some use bands (think rubber bands) that you slip on the pin, other use wood slats on the sides (like those paint stirrers you get at Home Depot), and others use special boards to roll on. I think I just know my width from so much practice, but I never feel the need for any of these things. Maybe someone wants to try to change my mind? What do YOU use?
Cling Wrap and Parchment Paper. I use cling wrap when I roll my cookies. I lay it over my dough and then roll roll roll. It keeps the dough from sticking to my pin and helps make it smooth. Parchment paper goes down on the cookie sheets and then the cookies are baked on it. Without it, the cookies stick (just a little bit) to the pan. I have never broken a single cookie since I started using parchment paper. And it makes clean-up easier!
Flour Shaker (Pampered Chef). When I first saw this little shaker, I thought it was silly. Then one day I realized that the way I was flouring my surface was silly! (Hand in flour bag not so pretty.) It shakes lightly or heavy, depending on how hard I shake it and what I need. And my hands stay clean(er).
My Sheila. My KitchenAid is the best investment I could have ever made. I would forsake all other items on this list for my beloved mixer. If you love to bake, save up and do everything you have to do to get yourself one. It will change your life!
There are of course many other tools that I use, but these are the most important items and those items that probably set me apart. If you use something unique, I’d love to hear about it!