Although fall baking isn't really any different than summer baking, we are usually doing more of it in a shorter time span. There are parties and events to bake for, and since you can turn your oven on without melting your kitchen, we do more of it just for fun. Here are ten tools that will make your fall baking season even more enjoyable.
1. Balloon Whisk: Long gone are the days where I busted out a hand sifter. More often than not, using a whisk is my preferred method of combining dry ingredients before they get the liquid ones added to them. A good whick will break up clumps and sift things through without dirtying something larger. It's also greatly needed to make fillings of all sorts and finding one that won't get water stuck down in the handle is a plus!
2. Pie Weights: You can either purchase true pie weights or simply use dry beans instead. I usually use the later. Just make sure to keep your pie beans separate from your other beans. After several trips through the oven, they're not exactly good eats, but they are inexpensive and get into all the nooks and crannies of your dough (why does that sound so dirty?) without leaving dents in it.
3. A Good Spatula: I feel as though you my spatula and I could have our own cheesy commercial together. We'd be holding hands and playing ring around the rosey together while the latest hip trendy song played in the background. I have a long blade Kitchenaid spatula that's specially made to reach the bottom of the Kitchenaid mixer bowl without getting the handle or your hands dirty and is tapered to scrape the bowl with one single swoop.
4. Cookie Scoop: Although I'm pretty decent at eyeballing the same size over and over again, once you start nearing the end of your cookie dough, things seem to get a little out of shape. You're tired of standing, the latest episode of Mad Men on DVR is calling your name and all you really want to do is grab a glass of milk and enjoy a tasty snack fresh from the oven. A cookie scoop makes the same size over and over and over again, ensuring even baking time without fail every time you bake. Awesome.
5. Cookie Sheets: My life changed once I stopped trying to figure out which cookie sheet worked the best from my local big box retailers. Was it the kind with air inside? What about dark ones? Light ones? Ones with handles? Once I finally gave in and purchased professional half and quarter sheet pans my baking world changed forever. No more warping pans, they cook evenly and all my oven times will forever be constant.
6. Parchment Paper: I've recently mentioned my love for parchment paper in flat sheets, but no matter how you buy it, this will be the difference between awesome baked goods and ho hum ones. Not only does it allow you to remove cookies from the pan (so they don't over bake) without actually doing any damage to them, parchment paper makes cakes come out clean and scones with slightly browned bottoms.
7. Oven Thermometer: Although most things can be cooked a little longer at a little lower temperature, when your oven has the opposite problem (especially when you're trying out a new recipe) things can end poorly. No one wants to spend money on ingredients just to have them wasted when they get burned. An oven thermometer will help regulate things and a pizza stone or unglazed tile in the bottom of the oven will help retain heat when you open the door to check on things.
8. Timer: Although your oven has a time built in (usually), that doesn't mean that once you put something in the oven you won't get distracted and start playing with the kids, or take the dog out back to do their thing, or even just switch a load of laundry. Time can so easily get away from you and keeping a clip on timer has saved us on more than one occasion!
9. Zip Top Bags: We'll leave it up to you to decide if they're eco-friendly or not, but when it comes to fall baking, we're usually making multiple batches of things. Make some now, take some later, all sorts of parties demand our time. So if you're doubling up, try using a zip top bag to hold extra pre-portioned cookie dough or baked off cupcakes for next week's party.
10. Measuring Devices You Love: Personally, I'm more of a straight sided, metal, no frills type of person, but some people love more ornamental measuring cups and spoons. Make sure the ones that you use will measure accurately and are strong enough to hold up to heavy ingredients without bending.
(Images: Amazon as linked above)