When it comes to baking, there are things I consider kitchen essentials and things I consider kitchen luxuries. Somehow, because I’m me, those lists have merged as the luxury tools become more essential than not. What can I say, I settle into comforts really well. I’m sure you do, too – so read this list with caution. Last week we talked about the Parchment Paper Sheets I can’t live without but here’s a more complete list of the easy elite splurges that keep me happy in the kitchen everyday!
• My mom has a magnet that says “an apron is a cape backwards” and I think about that every time I pull out the mixing bowls and tie an apron around my waist. I’ve worn all kinds of aprons in my day and I’ve narrowed it down to two favorites. I love a sturdy and structured Hedley and Bennet apron for it’s amazing quality made in Los Angeles. I also love these soft and sexy Not Perfect Linen aprons because they’re not all bulky layered over clothes and they wash so soft and relaxed.
• If there’s one item on this list that has been an absolute GAME CHANGER in my kitchen, it’s this Stretch-Tite Wrap’n Snap Plastic Wrap Dispenser. This was generously gifted to me by a Bakehouse student years ago. It’s also rumored that Ina Garten has this in her kitchen and considering her kitchen is also filled with good-quality olive oil and good-quality vanilla extract, this is a solid kitchen splurge.
• I think of a bench scraper as more of an essential rather than a luxury. It’s the tool I reach for to first scrape crumbs from the counter to the sink before reaching for a wet cloth. A bench scraper is a cleaning tool, a knife when I need to cut dough, heck… it’s also a ruler. But let’s make sure you get the right bench scraper. There are a lot of fancy scrapers on the market with beautiful wooden handles. I have a few that take up room in my utensil drawer. I always fuss over wood in the kitchen. I hesitate to throw it in the dishwasher so I consistently reach for this stainless steel bench scraper – sturdy and also dishwasher safe.
I also love a bench scraper’s cousin, the bendy plastic bowl scraper for scraping things like sticky cinnamon roll dough from the mixing bowl. Sometimes you need something more stiff than a plastic spatula but more flexible than a metal scraper, ya know?
• All the aesthetic girlies have a wooden lazy susan or several and I get it. I have a large spinning tray that takes up a good amount of real estate on my Houston kitchen counter but it’s worth every bit. It checks the chic and stylish box along with the use and function box.
• Once you have a Kitchen Torch, you unlock the power to make Brûléed Doughnut Holes and this Raspberry Brûléed Rice Pudding. I’ve also been known to shove a chocolate chip in a marshmallow and torch it on a fork. There’s a low road and a high road that comes along with this torch and both ways are delicious.
• For the perfect dusting over Sugar-Dusted Beignets, I love this little powdered sugar shaker. I keep mine capped in the back of the pantry and the powdered sugar stays fresh. It’s not something I reach for everyday, but when I do, I’m so happy I set myself up for success.
• I love a cutting board that makes me happy because if I’m crying over onions, I at least want to make it cute.
• If we’re still measuring wealth in salt (and I’m pretty sure we’re not), I’d be wealthy. Really, I just splurged and spent $18 on a bucket of Maldon Sea Salt. This flaky sea salt is more of a finishing salt I sprinkle over everything from brussel’s sprouts to blondies.
• Speaking of elite ingredients, have you ever heard of vanilla bean paste? Buying expensive vanilla extract at the grocery store feels uninspired. I’m just can’t trust it’s imparting the vanilla flavor I’ve invested in. Vanilla bean paste is a thick syrup made of sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. It’s noticeably amped up vanilla flavor and the little specks of vanilla beans are really nice in buttercreams and batters.
• This is me never reaching for the food processor if I don’t have to. This small Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder is a definite luxury but I think I use it as often as I use the food processor!
• The best rolling pin to have in the kitchen is the one you’re most comfortable using. For me it’s this tapered French rolling pin because I think the tapered ends make the rolling pin easy to turn and adjust as I roll. I also really love how smooth the olivewood is. When floured it slips right along the dough.
• Every professional kitchen I’ve worked in has this exact kitchen scale and it’s what I have in my kitchen now. It’s not fussy. It’s accurate. It’s a workhorse!
• You gotta hydrate to be great and if one thing is going to keep me drinking water all day it’s these tall glasses with bamboo lids and glass straws. Do I need these to stay hydrated? Obviously not but somehow, yes very much.
• An elite bundt pan can make a simple boxed cake an event and Nordicware is, hands down, my favorite brand for their quality and beautiful shapes!
Now your turn, friends! What are your favorite luxuries in the kitchen? I feel like there are still a few cabinets to fill here in Houston! Can’t wait to hear your favorites from this list and from your own kitchen! xo