Based on a combined 50+ years of experience in the kitchen, we compiled a list of twenty of our favorite kitchen gadgets and tools for your registry or wish list. You're welcome. :)
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Sarah: Want to be lazy and feel European all at the same time? Use a kitchen scale to measure out your ingredients.
Sophie: I use this ALL the time for mixing up dough and then turn it over to use as a pastry scraper. It came with my food processor, but turned out to be one of my most reached-for utensils.
Sarah: I seriously dislike any spatula that isn't a single piece...they come apart, they get mold inside, GROSS! I have a set of Trudeau silicone single-mold spatulas similar to these that I have used multiple times a day, every day, for the last 4.5 years. Love them.
4. Garlic press
Sophie: Because, honestly, it's sooooo frustrating to hand peel and mince garlic all the time.
Sarah: I have two of these (along with my incredible nordic ware baking sheets) and I use them on a daily basis. They make clean up SO easy, especially after roasting vegetables.
Sophie: Useful for candy-making, not overcooking (or undercooking) meat, and nailing bread.
7. Cake carrier
Maria: This has spared me a lot of stress on so many occasions. It's no good for mommy to put all the pressure of holding a stacked cake on her little son while she drives.
Maria: Fresh ground pepper is the best! I was given this one as a wedding shower gift and I love it. I've used some pretty flimsy pepper mills, but this one is sturdy and durable. It's pretty easy to refill, too, which is an added bonus.
Sophie: REALLY important that you get one that's metal. If it's plastic, it gets warped after a while and can't rice potatoes nearly as well. It will leave lots of potatoes in the bottom, even if you peel the potatoes. Frustrating.
Sarah: You can use this for so much in the kitchen...not just for zesting citrus, but also for grating parmesan or whole nutmeg into pasta, garlic, ginger...
11. Milk frother
Sarah: Maria is the one who turned me on to the immersion blender as an essential kitchen item. Transferring ladlefuls of burning hot soup from the pot on the stove into your blender and back again really isn't worth the trouble. Especially when the steam causes it to explode onto the ceiling!! Save yourself the trouble and get an immersion blender. Works perfect with Maria's recipe for roasted curried butternut squash soup. :)
13. Offset Spatula
Sarah: This makes spreading frosting or icing on cookies, cakes and bars so easy, and it doubles as a server. Score!
14. Oven thermometer
Maria: A reliable oven thermometer is essential. I have moved into a lot of houses with old ovens of questionable accuracy and I've needed the thermometer for getting a grasp of how high/low the oven runs.
15. Pastry cutter
Sarah: Everyone seems to think cutting butter into flour is so much easier when you use the food processor, but I beg to differ! I absolutely prefer to do it by hand. You get a better sense of the dough, there's less chance of over-mixing, and clean-up is far easier.
16. Olive Oil Cruet
Maria: I cook with a lot of olive oil so I buy in bulk. It is NOT practical to have an enormous jug of olive oil next to the stove.
17. Mortar and pestle
Maria: This is one of those items I only ever wanted on the rare occasions where a recipe required it. But now that I have one, I seem to use it every day! Not only do they look cool on your counter, but it's also pretty satisfying to grind things in it.
Sarah: wow, these are such a lifesaver. If you're bringing frosted brownies to a party, just snap on the lid, throw it on the floor of your car, and go! You can slice and plate them when you arrive at your destination. Also, if you're tight on space in the fridge, but you need your lemon bars to chill, you can snap on the lid and stack things on top.
19. Wooden spoon
Sophie: If I ever had to say what kitchen utensil I was, I would say I'm a wooden spoon. Maybe I'm just hoping. It's dependable, hard-working, and time-tested.