For some of you, this post may be completely useless because it is truly targeted at those who do not feel comfortable in the kitchen. Let me tell you, baking is VERY easy. Why? Well, it is a mindless process which simply requires careful reading and following steps! When I began my journey of baking, which ultimately grew into a lifestyle and passion, I was clueless. Thankfully I had my Mom, who is amazing enough to guide me and provide me with the tools to be successful! I often have friends who ask me questions I find silly at first, but I have come to realize that when it comes to baking, no question is silly, How the heck could anyone know seemingly simple answers if no one told them!? When a recipe says, “whip egg whites until glossy peaks form,” how is one supposed to know what that means, or what tools they might need? Over the course of this month, I will answer these questions for you! Today, I am going to keep it simple and give you a few tools necessary for baking this holiday season, along with a list of ingredients you should always keep handy, because EVERY recipe calls for one or the other! Happy baking friends, I hope this simple guide sheds some insight and knowledge for those who are a little scared to bake.
First Im going to tell you guys what tools are absolutely essential for smooth baking:
1. KITCHEN AID KITCHEN AID KITCHEN AID! I can not tell you enough that this is absolutely necessary for successful baking. If you want to be a regular baker, but your results are not always the best, It could definitely be a matter of faulty mixing. Mixing may seem unimportant, but over-mixing or under-mixing can totally make or break the outcome. PLUS, it will speed up your process like you wouldn’t believe. I CANNOT bake without a Kitchen Aid. It is worth the investment!
2. Silpat. “What the heck is that?,” you may ask. I did not know either, but let me tell you, it has changed my life – not only in baking, but also in cooking dinners. Silpats are made in France, and are made for the surface of cookie-baking sheets. Silpats are completely non-stick; you can throw any sort of dough straight on top, and even if it burns, nothing will stick. You will spare yourself the dreaded scrubbing that follows any batch of cookies or roasted vegetables. I could not live without this!
3. Rolling pin. May seem silly, but if you want to make cookies or pie crusts this season you simply cannot live without one! I particularly recommend a marble rolling pin, which keeps the dough colder and easier to work with!
4. Cake pans, pie pans and cupcake pans! These are great investments. I often see my younger friends buying disposable ones from their local grocery stores. This is completely fine, but if you want to easily bake and do it well, just invest. You will not regret it! This is completely crucial!
5. Mixing bowls. This may seem dumb, or like a no brainer, but you are wrong. I am amazed by how many people lack a simple set of mixing bowls! When baking almost anything, you will need more than one bowl, and not having two is just grounds for failure! INVEST IN MIXNG BOWLS (PLURAL)!
6. Measuring cups and spoons. Duh…..? So many young people do not have measuring spoons, but you simply cannot bake without them, for exact measurements guarantees you a flawless turnout ALMOST always!
7. If you want to make lots of cute holiday cookies like I do for years to come, you need to get cookie cutters, and a lot of them! They will always come in handy, and a simple sugar cookie is a classic staple that every baker must have down during the holiday seasons.
8. Parchment paper is imperative for a good cake. Tracing parchment paper around your cake pan and placing it inside before adding your batter makes removing the cake a surefire, easy process. Doing so gurantees that nothing will stick to the bottom. You do not want that, because then your cake will be lopsided!
NOW I am going to talk about simple items you need in your pantry. EVERY recipe calls for at least one of these, and if you want to be prepared, always have these principle ingredients at hand! Next time you go to the store, add these to your shopping lists! Pretty self-explanatory.
1. All-Purpose Flour
2. Pure Vanilla Extract
3. Powdered Sugar
4. Pumpkin Pie Spice
5. Baking Soda
6. Heavy Whipping Cream
7. Baking Powder
8. Cane Sugar
11. Brown Sugar