Beyond the obvious — an oven — there are a few things that the baker in your life would love to have. When looking for something to buy for that special someone for Christmas, their birthday, or just as a nice gesture, look no further. We have assembled a list of the top 10 things that every baker needs … and wants.
For more gift ideas, check out our post about gift ideas for baking enthusiasts.
1. Silicone Baking Mats
These are simply amazing! The benefits are numerous: easy clean up, even baking, quick prep, no sticking, and more.
Silpat is a common name brand but there are others on the market as well. These handy mats can be put right into your baking pan. They provide a non-stick liner much like the parchment paper of yesterday.
Unlike parchment paper however, silicone baking mats are washable and thus, reusable. Even better, you can have your next batch of cookies pre-scooped and ready to go onto your cookie sheet as soon as the first batch comes out.
Furthermore, these little wonders can be used for roasting veggies and cooking meat as well as baking. They provide a great surface to pour out toffees, barks, and brittles onto to cool. And do not forget to use them for rolling out dough without using excess flour.
Generally, dishwasher safe and easy to hand wash if not, these are a must have for every level of baker from novice to expert.
2. Oven Thermometer
While every oven comes with a built-in thermometer that tells the heating element when to heat up and when to shut off, not every built-in thermometer works like it should.
Anyone who has ever baked with an older oven knows that what the temperature says and what the temperature is are not always the same thing. Trusting what your oven says can result in uneven baking or worse … burning.
Having an oven thermometer or two can let your baker know how they need to adjust their baking times to get consistent and reliable results every time. These would make great stocking stuffers as they are a relatively cheap yet indispensable tool for the kitchen.
3. Disposable Pastry Bags
While it may seem like a good idea to buy your baker a set of fancy refillable pastry bags for their decorating needs, it is actually better to buy them a supply of disposable bags instead.
Refillable pastry bags require careful cleaning, drying, and storage to prevent mildew growth. Not only do disposable bags prevent the need for this time and effort, they take the risk of moldy frosting right out of the equation.
In addition to the bags, you may want to buy an assortment of different frosting tips. Even if you only buy one, get a Wilton #1M Star tip as this is the easiest and most universal tip available.
Dry ingredients such as sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and/or chemical leaveners are best added to recipes with a sifter. The sifter helps by aerating dry ingredients and eliminating clumps. Adding dry ingredients this way helps to ensure that they are spread evenly throughout the batter and mix in better.
5. Cooling Racks
Leaving your cupcakes, cookies, cakes, muffins, and other baked goods to cool in the pan is never the best option. The heat retention in the pan can cause baked goods to continue to bake while cooling in the pan and they cool unevenly due to the lack of air circulation in certain areas (such as the bottoms and centers).
Cooling racks are a cheap way to cool baked goods quickly and evenly. They can be bought as singles or in multi-tier racks. Expandable and stackable varieties offer a space saving way to cool your favorite baker’s tasty treats.
6. Silicone Spatulas & Spoons
Using silicone ensures that not one drop of your baker’s batter is lost. Whether it is stirring batter, scraping the sides of bowls, or spreading frosting, these kitchen utensils make sure that the job gets done. They are also easy to clean and are almost always dishwasher safe.
7. Digital Food Scale
Precision measuring is often the difference between a baking disaster and culinary success. Measuring ingredients by weight is much more accurate since a gram is always a gram and an ounce is always an ounce.
Using ‘by the cup’ measurements can lead to a great variation in amount. Not every cup is the same. In baking, precision is essential and even the slightest mismeasurement can ruin a recipe.
8. Mixing Bowls
Every kitchen needs several bowls for mixing. They come in a variety of styles, materials, and sizes. Glass nesting sets are nice for easy clean up, storage, and use. Heavy-duty ceramic bowls with pour spouts and rubberized bottoms are great for mixing doughs but are not microwave or dishwasher safe. Metal bowls are great for keeping ingredients at a constant temperature, whether that be cold or warm.
Most bakers will tell you that they can never have too many good mixing bowls, so do not stress out about which ones to buy for your favorite baker. Chances are they will love them no matter what kind they are.
9. Stand Mixer
This is probably the top item on your baker’s wish list. It has likely been there for a while too.
Stand mixers are as expensive as they are invaluable to bakers. They provide an extra set of big brawny hands to mix, blend, pull dough, and so much more. Short of having an assistant in the kitchen, a stand mixer is the next best thing.
KitchenAid offers a wide variety of stand mixers from basic to elaborate and is the gold standard for this kitchen tool. The main factor that has kept them at the top of the heap for so long is the strength and quality of their motors. Some people have been kneading dough with their KitchenAid Stand Mixer for forty years or more!
KitchenAid also offers the greatest variety of attachments (see our favorites) including a meat grinder, ice cream maker, and slicer/shredder. In fact, if your favorite baker already has a stand mixer, they would probably still love to receive some attachments.
For example, there is a scraper attachment that scrapes the sides of the bowl as it mixes. That is one heck of a handy set of extra hands!
10. Quality Bakeware
Investing in high-quality bakeware is a great idea for those who love to bake. It may cost a little more right off the bat, but in the long run it will save your favorite baker time, money, and aggravation. Not only will their baking be done more evenly and with more consistent results, the pans will likely last longer than cheaper alternatives.
Every baker needs a wide variety of styles and sizes to stock their kitchen. Many of these items can also be purchased as part of a bakeware set (check out our recommendations).
- Rimmed Cookie Sheets (also known as half sheet pans): Most bakers need at least two of these in their arsenal. Beyond making cookies, they can be used for breads, sheet cakes, roasting veggies, cooking meat, pouring out things such as toffee, bark, or brittle among others. The 12 x 17-inch size is perfect for a dozen cookies and should fit your baker’s needs nicely.
- 9 x 13 Cake Pan (also known as quarter sheet pans): This is unquestionably one of the most useful pans in any baker’s kitchen. It holds approximately three quarts and is useful in a wide variety of cooking and baking tasks. These include but are not limited to: Rice Krispy treats, lasagna, casseroles, brownies, and, of course, cakes.
- 9 x 9 Square Pan: Every baker’s kitchen should have a couple pans of this size. They can be used for making fudge, cookie bars, brownies, small cakes, caramels, and so much more.
- 9-inch Round Cake Pan: This is the pan of choice for layer cakes and no baking enthusiast can feel complete with less than three of this size in their cupboard. With three, it is possible to bake all three layers of a cake at the same time, which is considered optimal. If you have to cook each layer separately, it can result in unevenly baked layers. Make sure you get one that is deeper than the standard 1.5 inches so that you are not limited in the height of your layers.
- 12-count Muffin Pan: This is the standard size for muffin pans, although there are ones out there that can make more than a dozen at a time. It is always a good idea to have two standard 12-count muffin pans for recipes that yield more than twelve.
- 24-count ‘Mini’ Muffin Pan: As we said, there are pans that make more than a dozen muffins/cupcakes/tarts at a time. These mini muffin pans are perfect for all the mini baking your favorite baker does. They are also great for making homemade peanut butter cups!
- 9-inch Pie Plate: Every baker needs at least one of these in their kitchen. Great for not just pies, these can be used for quiche and other baking tasks as well. The material these are made of can be widely varied and glass is often recommended for evenly baked pies.
- 9 x 5-inch Loaf Pan: These are great for everything from pound cakes and yeast breads to banana or zucchini breads. Even meatloaf can be made in one of these beauties. Every baker needs one even if they do not make bread.
- 12 cup Bundt Pan: Bundt cakes and lava cakes need a certain shape to come out right and the only way to get that shape is with a Bundt pan. Every baker wants one.
- 9-inch Springform pan: If your baker loves cheesecakes and tarts, then they need one of these pans. Make sure that you get one of a good quality so that it is leakproof and will last.
Wrapping It Up
No matter what you buy for the baker in your life, they are sure to love it. If you invest even half as much time, love, and attention in choosing your gift as your baker does in their baking, you are sure to hit a home run with just about anything you choose. If you need even more gift ideas, check out our list of unique baking gifts for bakers who already have it all.