baking
HEALTH & FITNESS, RANDOM MUSINGS

10 Things That Make Me Happy: #2 Baking

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2 – Baking

baking

THE BACK STORY

My son was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when he was 5. Once you realize the ramifications of going through life with a child who has a food allergy, it’s mind-boggling. Obviously, understanding, examining and considering all foods is of paramount importance. After countless class parties and birthday celebrations, it became apparent that the biggest struggle would be with baked goods. So, I became a baker. It was just easier (and cheaper! And healthier!) to start making my own goodies. I knew exactly how the foods were prepared and exactly what went into them. I could rest assured knowing my son is safe, at least with me!

Bonus – I learned that not only am I pretty darned good at it, but it makes me happy to do it! Now, it took some time to get to the point where I could just have ONE of what I would make (I mean you have to taste test it…duh) and then either save the rest for my children or whatever person/activity/etc. I was making them for. I will be sharing my favorite recipes often, but for now, here is a list of my baking essentials:

FOR PREPARATION

  • Mixing Bowls – I have these bowls and I also have this set. (I’m not too particular or fancy about my mixing bowls. I gravitate towards glass, but I’m sure stainless steel works just as well too.
  • Measuring Cups – I have these Pyrex cups and these smaller measuring cups/spoons. Measuring cups are essential and I love the way these look and fit into various openings.
  • Whisk – The OXO brand keeps things clean and simple.
  • Spatulas – I love the variety (and color!) of these spatulas.
  • Hand Mixer – I have this Cuisinart one and it works beautifully. Clean up is a breeze and they do sell replacement beaters, which I have needed more than once…
  • An apron! Baking is a messy business (cornstarch anyone?!). I love this retro apron – I feel sexy when I wear it (my boyfriend can vouch for that). I also love this funny one (for those of us who don’t mind a potty mouth!). Both make great gifts!
  • Rolling Pin – I love this rolling pin. I love that it doesn’t have handles because it makes clean up so much easier. It’s also a great size for little hands to help be a part of the process.
  • Cookie Cutters – This Wilton set is ginormous. It has every holiday, shape, number, letter, etc. you can imagine. It does an awesome job and you can throw them in the top rack of the dishwasher to clean.
  • Kitchen Storage Containers – Brown sugar that has turned into a cement block drives me nuts. These days, I have gotten to the point where I put all opened baking supplies – flour, sugars, chocolate chips, etc. into these storage containers. I don’t empty them into the container because I like to know expiration dates. I just seal them up and put them in a container for storage and an extra seal. There are many storage containers out there and the type with the flip lid gets the best protection, in my opinion.

FOR THE OVEN

  • Sheet pans – These are hands down my favorite baking pans. I love that there are no edges – mostly because that means water doesn’t get stuck in the edges so they don’t rust quite as easily. They come in two sizes and I have two of each. I use them for everything!
  • Parchment Paper – Any parchment paper will do, but I love the convenience of pre-cut sheets. Anytime I use a pan, I’m using a liner so I go through these fairly quickly.
  • Muffin Pan12 cup and 24 cup pans. These are your basic pans for cupcakes, muffins and even my famous egg muffins for a quick breakfast!
  • Bundt Pan – I make my grandmother’s Red Velvet Pound Cake at least twice a year. Recipe to come! A bundt pan is a must for the perfect pound cake!
  • Bread Pan – Once again, I prefer everything without some sort of a lip to it – it really does make cleaning easier. Rust is an issue with any dish, so I usually defer to glass to avoid that issue. I LOVE Oxo’s whole line with these lids. They are amazing and make storage of your dishes easy as can be. These particular pans are perfect for baking your favorite loaves of bread – recipes to come!
  • Springform Pan Set – This is a great set that enables you to make a layered cake, or cakes of varying sizes. The small option is great for an individual cake or 1st Birthday smash cake.
  • Silicone Molds – You have your standard muffin/cupcake shapes, but how fun are these molds?!?! I have not tried my hand at donuts, but love them for muffins and little cake treats.

FOR DECORATING

  • Cooling Racks – These are especially essential during the holidays when you are baking multiple batches. Cooling your sweets is such an important step and it is crucial NOT to do it on a baking sheet.
  • Wilton Icing Colors – I bake sugar cookies at least twice a year, at Christmas and Easter. It makes the decorating process a lot more fun if we have a variety of vibrant colors to choose from. Note to self and to you: food coloring and granite don’t mix well. Be careful with it!
  • Decorating Kit – sometimes we just use butter knives and sometimes we be fancy. This kit will help you be fancy too!
  • Decorating Knives – when you have multiple icing colors, you need multiple knives. I prefer the smallest for my children, but the bigger ones work well for me.
  • Sprinkles – We love decorating our cookies with sprinkles, M&M’s, mini chocolate chips, etc. I love having pretty frosted cookies, so I veer towards the sparkling white sprinkles, the gold pearlized sprinkles, the gold star glitter, and sparkling blue sprinkles. I also love this wonderful silver, gold and white set. This Valentine set is super cute as well as this Christmas set.

FOR PRESENTATION/DELIVERY/STORAGE

  • Cake Carrier – I love this cake carrier. It’s pretty and super functional. It clasps securely shut, vents to release moisture and it even has a cake server attached to the lid. I have only used this to carry my pound cakes, so I can’t vouch for any other baked goods.
  • Cupcake/Cake Carrier – I use this one for my cupcakes on the go.
  • Cookie Storage Containers – I have long since used these Rubbermaid containers for home storage. They are durable and have stood the test of time. I typically use these Ziploc disposable containers when gifting cookies or treats. Ziploc makes cute designs during the holidays too.

FOR MY WISH LIST

  • KitchenAid Mixer – I do not have a KitchenAid mixer. I know. I’ve been told I’m crazy not to with as much baking as I do, but I’ve gotten this far without one! That being said, it’s on my wish list. So we shall see!
  • Silicone Baking Mat – Up until now, I have just used parchment paper and a bit of flour to roll out dough. I love that this mat is very large and has measurements for a mix of baked goods – pizzas, pies, loaves of bread and even homemade pasta. You can put it in the dishwasher too, so it makes clean up a breeze!
  • Cake Pop Maker – I have always been curious about making cake pops, but was intimidated. This cake pop maker has awesome reviews and seems super easy to use. Plus, it comes with a recipe/instruction booklet with tons of ideas.

Don’t forget to read all about my beloved coffee station in part one of my 10 Things That Make Me Happy series. Next up – candles!

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