When the first part of Sophie Kinsella’s sequel came out, my sister called me immediately “Pau, you’ve got to read this book. This is soooo about you!” Getting on with it, I had to admit that she was right. One could hope that my passion for baking would bring up better instincts in me than the ones driven by a debit card…but let’s face it, it doesn’t.
Firstly I love recipe books. I read them a bedtime like other would read novels. I often go to the book store and get lost in the cooking section, looking for ages at all the books about baking. If I am in search of a book on a specific theme (a book about muffins, a book about bread, etc), I’ll look at all the books and score each of them on several criteria before I make my choice. The decision process is usually very elaborate and results from detailed market researches. (Yes, that probably makes me lend somewhere between a freak and a geek). But like any shopaholic, some days I buy books in 5min just because they look beautiful, no matter how many identical-ish books I already own.
I also love all kitchenware and baking accessories. I store all of them in a big picnic hamper that I call my Treasure Box. When I open it at the beginning of a baking session, I feel like a little girl ready to play at tea party and who can't wait to use them all.
So for you today, here is a guided tour of some of my baking favorite tools:
- The amazing robot: my Kenwood. I've dreamt of it for a year before I finally got it on sales last winter. “Sure it costs a fortune, but it’s half price now. It’s an investment. I’ll use it for 10 years… at least...and my friend who is a professional baker says it’s amazing”. Does that ring a bell, dear fellow shopping addict? Yes, sure, it does look like a super expensive electric hand mixer, but it’s not (entirely)! It mixes cake and bread dough at different speeds, it beats egg whites and the cool thing is you can leave it do its job while you are already preparing the next steps of a recipe.
- The silicone spatula (called maryse in French) and the silicone brush: I cannot simply bake without them. Just buy some if you don’t have any yet, you’ll understand.
- The timer: when you have got the attention span of a gold fish like I do, a timer is a must have. How many times did I spend hours preparing cakes that were supposed to be amazing until I simply forgot them in the oven? This Pylone timer is a gift from my housemates so I love it all the more.
- The digital scale and the oven thermometer: as I have been taught, baking is about precision. A wrong measuring of the ingredients or an oven at the wrong temperature can easily ruin a cake.
- The measuring spoons and cups: compulsory for Australian, American and British recipes where measures are given in cups (rather than grams).
- The cooking rings: my best friends for presenting savoury and sweet dishes like a pro. You can make tarts that look like those you buy in the shops (thanks Guillaume for teaching me how to use them like a pro!), individual cheesecakes, etc.
- The piping set: this probably would be more useful for someone who bakes cupcakes and is more into decorating cake than I am, but it is still quite useful for piping macaroons or whoopie pies. To be honest, if you can afford disposable plastic piping bags; it’s even better.
- The silicone muffin cases: like all other silicone cake moulds, I just cannot understand how one could bake before them?
-The “homemade biscuit” stamp: a gift from my sister. It’s just so cool to stamp “homemade” on your oreos!
I also discovered that nothing can really replace a cooling rack. A silicone mat just makes your life easier…as you can guess, the list of “compulsory investments” is endless! ;-)
And you, what are you must haves in your kitchen?