Howdy guys + girls!!
So, with the holidays nearing ever so closely, it’s about freakin’ time you guys get a leg up and start shopping (assuming, of course, you’re not crazy like me and already done.. and wrapped).
As a food blogger, I’m constantly asked by readers, coworkers, or friends about products I use and love on a daily basis. Stuff I can count on to produce amazing, quality food that fits my exceptionally high standards not only as a food blogger, but as a personal family cook and baker.
So if whether you’re making your own personal wishlist, orrr you have a baker in mind and maybe need some shopping guidance, here’s your ultimate wish-list! I would be smitten to receive any of these items over again, and if I could, I totally wish I could give you all one of everything!!
Cookie Dough Scoop: I use it to scoop out cookie dough for perfectly sized cookies or cake pops, and for perfectly portioned batter–I only use this to distribute my cupcake batter among liners. Trust me, it’s worth it!
Kitchenaid 5qt Stand Mixer: I use it for virtually every one of my recipes. Creates dough, blends batter and whips cream with ease and is easy to clean. The worst part? Choosing which color you like the best! (Mine is the ice blue one, shown above).
Mini Spatula: It’s smaller, so it’s nicer and easier to glide under cookies for transfer from baking sheets to wire racks. Also works great as a server in removing bars or brownies from the middle of the pan.
Hand Mixer: Most think that, with a stand mixer, hand mixers are unnecessary. I don’t believe so! I like using hand mixers for smaller baking jobs, like quickly creaming butter or baking up a small batch of cupcakes. Less cleanup and storage.
Santuko Knife: This is my favorite knife of all time. I will not buy anything else–period. It glides through pans of even the stickiest bars and I use it all the time for cutting chicken, dicing veggies, chopping fruit and anything else cooking-wise. Plus, it’s $10.
SilPat Baking Mat: I would have no cookies on here without SilPat. The innovative technology makes cookies come off the pans in one piece (!!) and makes working with sticky stuff like caramel breezy. Just use it in place of parchment. Easy peasy!
Rubber Spatula: Seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of people I know don’t have one (and are 99% deranged). I have at least 10 and use them for everything. They’re like the LBD in cooking–they work with everything from baking to cooking, stirring to spreading. LOVE.
Pie Shield: I never believed these were needed, but why sacrifice too-toasty pie edges when you can toss this on and get perfectly golden crust? Love mine.
Disposable Piping Bags: Some swear by cloth bags but I love me some disposable ones. Easy clean up, and you can buy ’em in large packs for cheap.
Wilton 1M Star Tip (and tips in general): This is the tip I use for most of my piping. I love the polished way it looks. I also use Atecco 807 and Wilton 2D, but I think investing in a tip sampler pack is a good idea for experimenting with shapes you like.
Offset Spatula: Creates a finished, smooth product for things like icing or ganache, and works well in getting into tiny crevices to gently lift up edge brownies. Also helps tremendously in making a gorgeously frosted cake!
Gel Icing Colors: In my opinion, gel colors are more concentrated than liquid and don’t generally affect the consistency like liquid coloring can in larger doses. Plus, they come in a lot more colors!
Vanilla Bean Paste: Many see this as a splurge item as it’s expensive, but it’s so worth it. It gives a richer, deeper flavor to baked goods and lasts a long time. A little goes a long way! Check at unexpected places for it like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Ross… I have seen it there for as little as $5 and always stock up when I spot it on shelves.
Mixing Bowl Nesting Set: I love sturdy, durable mixing bowls in different sizes–helps with different proportions of batter, but also storing chopped candies and stuff too. It’s awesome having the measuring spoons so conveniently stored right there, and I LOVE the fun colors!!
Conversion Dishtowel: I own and LOVE this dishtowel. Not only is it convenient, it’s adorable! I have mine hanging up in my kitchen as “art.” 🙂
Fun Cupcake Liners: While I usually stick with the plain-jane, boring white ones, I secretly adore fun, colorful ones and like to stock up when I find especially adorable liners! Layer Cake Shop has some really cute ones, and look at all the fun polka dotty colors!!
Epiphanie Camera Bag: Okay, I don’t actually own this (yet) but I’m totally drooling over it. I don’t currently own a bag to properly store my Nikon D60, so I usually lug it around in one of my purses where it gets jangled up with all my knick-knacks, or keep it around my neck. This purse is especially designed to carefully hold your camera, as well as your other essentials. And I love this style, called Ginger, on their site 🙂
As far as food props go, I don’t have specific brands or places I shop. However, I always keep my eyes open for unexpected treasures in thrift stores, consignment shops or discount places like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, where a lot of my plates and serving ware have come from.
(My) Rule of Thumb for shopping: I make sure plates are small enough that they’ll be focused on in the shot. Dinner plates are too large; appetizer plates are perfect. Likewise, miniature silverware, dishes, and accessories are perfect for framing in shots.
In addition to all these things, I think every baker should have on hand: Tons of sprinkles!; cake, brownie and muffin mixes; a wire whisk; insulated muffin tins and cookie sheets; cooking spray; a sturdy cutting board; a serrated knife; kitchen shears; good oven mitts; wet & dry measuring cups and spoons with atypical measurements like 1/8th and 2/3rd; good light for taking pictures, and an open mind!
Again, this is my personal opinion here–I use all of these products on a regular basis and swear by them on my personal experience only. I hope you find something you like and have fun shopping–and baking!
Full disclosure: I was not compensated in any way from these companies or brands and my opinion expressed is solely my own, based entirely on experience with these products. But if any one of these companies wanted to send me some free stuff, I would have an open mind to it.