My Favorites

These are a few of my favorite baking related things...it's likely to be an ever-changing and expanding list.

Baking Tools/Ingredients

KitchenAid stand mixer:

This is the real workhorse of the kitchen when it comes to baking.  Oftentimes, I feel like I'm just gathering ingredients when I bake because the mixer really does all the work in minutes.  While there are many recipes that don't require equipment and certainly could be done by hand, this is a good practical investment for someone who bakes often. 







Rubber spatulas:

I love Le Creuset and their rubber spatulas are among my favorite kitchen tools.  I've had the red one for about 10 years and just recently added its cousin in yellow.  While I have other spatulas in slightly different forms, I find these thin ones most useful.  A rubber spatula is essential for scraping down every last bit of that batter into your cake pan and for folding and incorporating your ingredients.  I use it every time I bake.




Pernogotti cocoa powder:


This unsweetened cocoa powder is divine and smells sooo good.  If you are feeling down, just take a whiff of this.  I like to use it in any recipe that calls for cocoa.  You can buy Pernogotti at William Sonoma and in bulk online at Chocosphere.com.








Chocolates:

I simply love chocolate and bake chocolate treats more than anything else.  There are many great options to choose from.  For taste as well as convenience and accessibility, I love to use Callebaut.  It's pretty widely available (you can find it at Whole Foods) and reasonably priced.  The catch is the chocolate comes in random size blocks so you'll need to chop it and weigh to measure. 

Another chocolate I often bake with is Ghirardelli.  This is widely available in any supermarket and comes in easy to separate 4-ounce bars that you can easily break apart according to your needs.  For other occasions, I also love to use Scharffen Berger, Guittard, and Valhrona chocolates.


Espresso powder:


IF you love chocolate and bake with it very often, it's useful to have a little jar of espresso powder.  Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate and a little of this instant espresso powder is used for that purpose.  A jar like this will last a long time.








Kitchen scale:


I recently bought a little kitchen scale and realized why so many people say you need one in the kitchen.  I'd resisted since who really wants to invest in another piece of equipment that needs to be stored.  But if you're using chocolate or following recipes where ingredients are measured in grams, this is so handy.  Being small and lightweight, it's fairly easy to find a place to stow it.










Serrated Knife:


I've discovered that a high-quality, sturdy serrated knife is a very good investment.  This is especially true if you bake with chocolate a lot like I do.  Use it to chop bars of chocolate and for slicing cakes.  It's a must for cutting through different textures like a cake with a hard coating on top and a moist center.






Food related sites/blogs I like to check into:

David Lebovitz  I love this man!  I've tried a number of his recipes and they consistently wow me.  I've yet to try something I didn't love so it's very appropriate for him to be on my favorites tab. 

Martha Stewart  I am a big fan of Martha's.  When it comes to baking, she is my go-to source and has rarely let me down. 

http://www.thekitchn.com/  Great source for food and cooking related tips and subjects.  Their posts are short and updated regularly on a daily basis (less so on the weekends).

Smitten Kitchen

Orangette

Serious Eats

...and too many other inspirations to name individually...



Random

I love shopping for baking tools and general kitchenware/diningware at Sur la table, Crate and Barrel, and Anthropologie.

I love chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat.  I love chocolate from a lot of places.


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