The other day, a family member asked what I wanted for Christmas (yeah, we're last-minute shoppers around here). I was actually stumped. As the baby's due date's been getting closer, my wish list focus has been entirely on baby stuff. I can't even remember the last time I thought of buying something for myself! New clothes are pointless since nothing fits me for more than a month now. All my money is currently being spent on nursery items and food. Then it occurred to me: I do a LOT of cooking. There are tons of kitchen gadgets and accessories that would make my life easier and a little more interesting. Here are some of my favorite gifts for cooks.
Pizza stones. They're not just for pizza. These flat stone slabs can be used in the barbecue or the oven and make awesome homemade breads and biscuits. The even heat distribution makes perfect cookies or pastries, and I've even seen people cook vegetables on them. The fancy one above (sold on Amazon) comes with a thermometer on the base so that you can make sure it's the perfect heat, or the stone slab can be removed from the base and used separately.
A good pastry scraper. These make cleaning up after baking a breeze. No more sticky, flour-covered rags and streaky counters. Simply glide this along your cooking surface to gather pie crust residue or other messy leftovers into a nice, neat pile. It also helps lift cookies off the baking sheet, cut brownies, and even measure dough. Oxo makes a nice, big one with a comfortable grip.
Cookie Craft. Every baker needs this book (but first, I need this book…are you reading, Santa?). I've been lusting after this for awhile. Every page is filled with astounding creations and detailed instructions for turning ordinary cookies into works of art.
Poultry roaster. Vertical roasting (propping the chicken upright as opposed to laying it on its side) has been shown to be faster than traditional horizontal roasting and produces juicier, better-tasting chicken. This Stainless Steel Vertical Roaster by Norpro comes with an infuser that you can fill with anything from beer to garlic to easily introduce new flavors into your chicken.
Rosette set. These moulds are dipped in creamy batter and quickly fried to produce dessert shells and light, flaky cookies that impress at any event. I like to fill mine with whipped cream and fruit for a colorful display. This Norpro Rosette set comes with a two-pronged handle for faster dipping.
I'm sure I could come up with dozens more kitchen gadgets, but those are the ones that came to mind right off the bat. Am I missing any of your must-have tools? What are some of your favorite gifts for cooks?