I have lots of toys in the kitchen. Everything from a giant ice cream machine that churns two gallons at a time, to a refractometer that measures the amount of sugar in a sorbet. I love all my toys but I could get along without a lot of them. Here are my 5 favorite kitchen tools and my favorite brand of each. I love them in both my home and professional kitchen and I think you will too.
1) The Offset Spatula
Great for decorating cakes and transferring delicate projects, an offset spatula is a great tool to have around the kitchen. I recommend getting it in 2 sizes, a 4″ and an 8″. The best bang for your buck is Ateco. It will get the job done for a reasonable price.
2) The Balloon Whisk
Promise me you will never buy cool whip or canned whipped cream again. Please. It is way too easy to make your own whipped cream. All you need is cold heavy cream, a bowl and a balloon whisk. Simple. If you like it sweet add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar for every 2 cups of cream you whip. Homemade whipped cream is delicious and an easy way to impress people. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know you can whip your own cream. Unless you are going to whip a lot of cream I’d stick with a medium size whisk, like this one, which I have and love.
3) The Bowl Scraper
This might seem like an extra tool you can skip. You can just use a rubber spatula to get all the product out of a bowl, right. Sure, I guess you can BUT using a bowl scraper is ideal. It is firm yet pliable, allowing you make one swift swoop through almost any batter or dough and remove it all, leaving next to nothing behind. In every kitchen I’ve worked in, a bowl scraper is a sacred tool. We have about a dozen of them, always an arms length away. For a few bucks it’s worth a try if you bake a lot at work or home.
4) The Gram Scale
Most people resist buying a scale as long as they can. ”It’s too fussy” or “I don’t need one” are comments I hear form home cooks all the time. The fact is you don’t need one, but your world will open up if you make the investment. There are so many great chefs out there that post recipes in ounces and grams. Plus, if you want something to be as close to perfect as possible every time, a scale will help achieve that. Plus, I can measure 12 cups of flour 12 times faster with a scale… In a kitchen, every second you save is an extra second to work on something fun. When buying a gram scale you want to make sure it goes in single increments. Some go up by 5 grams at a time so try to avoid that. After all, you are getting this to be more accurate, right? My favorite scale is the Escali digital scale. I keep one in my car at all times just in case (true story!) It runs forever and has a 5 year warranty, so in most cases you can get it replaced if something does happen.
5) The Immersion Blender
This is, by far, the tool I am most obsessed with. If you work for me chances are this has been your birthday or Christmas gift at some point along the way. If you want it smooth and it isn’t, this will do the trick. If you need to make a caramel shiny, this will do the trick. Making corn ice cream and need it to infuse more? No problem, just hit it with the immersion blender. My cooks know nine times out of ten my solution to anything liquid needing help will be “Did you try using the immersion blender on it?” They can be a bit fussy so I usually stay away from models with multiple attachments but I do like when the bottom half is removable for easy cleaning.
I could keep going on and on about all the tools I love and I can’t promise that you will love these particular models as much as I do, (it takes years and lots of trail and error to figure out what works best for you,) but it’s a good start.