Fourteen of my must-have baking tools - the kitchen supplies I'd hate cook without that will make your baking life easier, plus a few of my favorite baking ingredients.
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I love baking for special occasions and holidays - there's just something special about homemade treats in our busy, buy-everything world. I grew up baking and it became a tradition in our house, too. There are cakes at birthdays, pies at Thanksgiving, goodie bags at Christmas (with things like homemade moose munch made with honey caramel corn, homemade butter mints, and caramel coconut shortbread bars).
In the years I've been cooking and baking, I've found there are certain items that I use again and again - some of which I can't imagine baking without. These are my tried-and-true kitchen favorites - I love baking and cooking with these things, and think you will, too!
There's not much more I like than discussing things I love and why, so you'll find more than just links in this baking tools resource, you'll also find what makes them worthy of the 'favorite' title. I'm also including some great ingredients to have on hand, too, so you can bake whenever you want!
14 Must-Have Baking Tools
1. Bamboo 'wooden' spoon. I find bamboo spoons to be superior to regular wooden spoons, since they don't stain or disintegrate around the edges like wooden spoons inevitably do after awhile. I've had one bamboo spoon for more than 15 years and it looks brand new. I can't say that about my wooden spoons. (note: the link goes to a set of bamboo utensils because that's the best deal to buy a spoon - if you don't need all the others, package them up in a gift set!)
2. Nylon spreader (these are expensive on Amazon, though - there's a better deal on these at King Arthur Flour). This seemingly small item is probably the #1 thing I would find it hard to cook without - really! I LOVE these spreaders so much - you can get ALL (seriously, ALL) the batter, etc. out of bowls, jars and cans with these little gems. (Though my kids didn't like when I started using them, since there was hardly anything left in the bowl to lick, ha!)
3. Lemon squeezer. I've only had this for a year and I can't believe I just used an old citrus juicer for years instead of this, it's so much easier! It makes juicing lemons (or limes) much quicker. The only thing I had to learn is that you put the lemon half in what seems like backwards - that's the way to get the most juice.
4. Cookie scoop. This is the only thing I've used to shape drop cookies for years because it's super easy and the cookies turn out uniformly round.
5. Metal measuring cups and spoons, 5a: 6 cups with 2/3c. and 3/4c. measures and 5b: set of 4 cups and 4 spoons. I like metal measuring cups and spoons so much better than plastic (when they're well-made and not the cheap kind where the handle bends on you). Things like flour and powdered sugar don't stick as much and they're easier to scoop. I love that the cup set (5a) comes with a 3/4 cup measure since it seems to be a size used a lot in recipes.
6. 11-inch tall clear party bags. Bags are the answer to the gift plate of cookies with the plastic wrap cover that doesn't cover well, leaving stale goodies. Use bags like these, plus a few regular sandwich baggies, to hold one to three cookies and candies each, then add the baggies to a small gift bag for a food gift that will stay fresh and be easy to transport. They are also what I use to package up my annual gift of Homemade Moose Munch Honey Caramel Corn.
7. Black silicone baking mat. I've used both black and a light colored silicone baking mats,and find that black mats help cookies to brown better and more evenly than the lighter colored mats.
8. Gold foil mini baking cups. Use these for elegant candies as well as mini muffins.
9. Unbleached parchment paper. I stopped greasing pans for bar cookies - and having to wrestle them out of the pan - years ago and now line all my square and rectangular pans with parchment before adding the dough and baking. The bonus is how much easier the bars are to cut, too, when they can be lifted whole out of the pan first.
10. Truly square 8x8 pan. I've never liked the rounded corners of bar cookies from some pans, so I searched out pans with non-rounded corners for more uniform bars. The bonus? Now I don't feel like I need to eat all the corners, since they never look like the others. 😉
11. Glass tablespoon measuring cup. This cheap little addition to my kitchen a few years ago helped make baking so much easier. It's just what you need when a recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of oil or 3 of lemon juice. No more, "one...two...three...four...where was I?"
12. Commercial weight baking/cookie sheet. I resisted more expensive cookie sheets for many years, but they really do work nicer than the cheap versions - they don't warp as much and they seem to heat more evenly. Plus they've lasted a lot longer.
13. Mini muffin tin. For gift-giving, I like to make treats smaller so that everyone gets a little taste of the everything and using a mini muffin tin for muffins, cookies, and candies does the job.
And last, but not least for sure, my absolute favorite baking tool is this appliance that I can safely say changed my baking life (I am a bread maker because of this!):
A Few Favorite Baking Ingredients
Natural sweeteners, almond and coconut flours, and coconut oil are as common in my kitchen now as the standard whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder and butter. But these more nutrient-dense baking supplies tend to be more expensive and a bit harder to find, which is one of the reasons I like ordering them through Amazon, saving even more with the Subscribe and Save program (click link to read how I use this program to save).
These are some of the supplies I have on my Subscribe and Save list, and I love having them delivered straight to my door!
- Bob's Red Mill Almond flour, 4pk of 16-oz bags
- Anthony's Organic Coconut Flour 4 lb.
- Great River organic pastry flour, 25 lbs.
- Nutiva coconut sugar, 3 pk of 16-oz bags
- Raw and Unfiltered Arizona Desert Wildflower Honey, 3 lbs.
- Organic maple syrup, 32 oz.
- Almonds, raw, 4-lbs.
- Raw pecan pieces, 1-lb
- Nature's Eats Shelled Walnuts, 32-oz.
- Healthworks Cacao Powder Raw Organic, 3 lb.
- Organic coconut oil, 32-oz.
What are your favorite baking tools or ingredients?
This article is part of the 8 Weeks of Christmas Ideas series where you'll find resources for cooking, gift ideas, time savers, recipes, traditions & more all November and December through the 24th.
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