Sometimes it can be challenging to thinks of gifts for the holidays. We can get overwhelmed and then the stress takes over. To ease that stress and to give you some gifts for yourself if anyone needs guidance, here are a dozen gift ideas for the cooks, bakers, and food lovers in your life.
These are items that I have used for years in my own kitchen, that help me create meals for my family and friends. I bought them over the years and all of them are investments that will last for years.
Sharp, Heavy-Duty Knives
It is well documented that professional chefs consider their knives their number one tool in the kitchen and I have to agree. It is the first thing I reach for when I start prepping and the tool I use the most. Quality knives are easier to sharpen and hold their edge longer. Consider knives an investment and buy them when they go on sale. My collection has been built over many years, buying them one at a time. Each style has its advantages; I recommend getting a great chef’s knife and paring knife to start your collection. Take a knife skills class at your local cooking school to learn how to use them properly and how to keep them sharp. And buy a sharpening steel so you can keep the edge honed.
Dutch ovens are true work horses of the kitchen. Made of cast iron, they work on the stove and in the oven, can be used to make soups and stews, bake breads, boil pasta and much more. Be sure to get an enamel-covered version for the easiest cleanup and care.
Imagine being able to puree soups and sauces right in the cooking pot without having to mess up a blender or food processor! That’s what you get with an immersion blender, pure convenience. Once you try it you will wonder how you ever lived without it!
Electric Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)
Electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot are all about easy, hands-off food preparation. You can cook the best pulled pork, ribs, and pot roast you’ve ever had in about half the time they normally take! Other recipes are more about not having to stir (like risotto) or fuss with while it is cooking. Just set it and walk away and dinner is on the table in no time! And to make it easier and more fun to play with, buy a copy of my latest cookbook, The Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook for great recipes and helpful hints to get you started.
Whenever I am making food for a crowd, I pull out my food processor to quickly prep all the veggies and chop nuts. It is especially helpful during the holidays when we are making large batches of recipes. It is terrific for evenly slicing potatoes for the perfect side dish. It is my go-to for making pie crust dough with little chance of overworking the dough. I may not use it as often as I used to, but it is a real time saver and has paid for itself many times over the years.
Heavy Duty Stand Mixer
Another must-have kitchen tool is a heavy-duty stand mixer like the KitchenAid. Other than my knives, this is the most used tool in my kitchen. I use it nearly every week to make my Chocolate Monday offerings and many times in between. There is nothing better for making mashed potatoes, heavy bread dough, cookie dough, and cake batters. Getting a well-made machine will have it running for years. Mine is over 20 years old and still going strong!
Quality baking dishes, like those from Emile Henry, will give you years of wonderful meals and dishes. They heat evenly and hold their heat as well as producing consistently great results. And they are beautiful enough to bring straight to the table – no more transferring to a serving dish!
A bread machine makes it incredibly easy to bake your own breads, with no kneading or fuss. Just add all the ingredients to the pan and let the machine do all the work! And if you are gluten-free my Gluten-Free Bread Machine Cookbook can help guide you through making GF breads.
Thermapen and TimeStick from ThermoWorks
Getting great results often depends on accurate timing and temperature. The products from ThermoWorks are the best I’ve found and will give you years of accurate and timely cooking! I can’t imagine not having a Thermapen instant read thermometer, especially when baking bread, cooking meats, and grilling – it instantly tells me when the food is cooked to the correct temperature giving me much more control and confidence. And their TimeStick (see photo below) helps me stay on track even if I wander away from the kitchen by hanging on a string around my neck – I always know when it is time to take something out of the oven or stir what’s cooking on the stove!
Good Pots and Pans
For years I cooked on cheap, thin pans and never gave it another thought. Then I got into the food industry and used a heavy-duty pan. What a huge difference! They heat evenly with no hot spots and produce beautiful dishes. There are many great brands available, I am partial to All Clad, Calphalon, and Anolon. This is another case of buying when I find them on sale, one at a time, slowly building my collection over the years. Anyone who loves cooking will appreciate any great pan to work with!
Whisks are an indispensable part of my kitchen tool collection. I use them every time I make a loaf of gluten-free bread, when making scrambled eggs, and mixing batters. I grew up using a fork but graduated to whisks and haven’t looked back. Each shape is used for a different purpose with the narrower style usable for most projects.
I am not the greatest at decorating cakes, and some would say I am challenged, which is why I love bundt pans so much. They bake into a naturally beautiful design, requiring little to no additional fussing. A glaze and your dessert is ready for its close up! Buying a heavier, higher quality pan will pay off, giving you the best baking results every time.
I hope you enjoyed these dozen gift ideas for the cooks and bakers in your life. I know they will be thrilled with any of these tools. Have fun finding just the right gift for those you love!
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