Here are a few of the tools I think are indispensable in my kitchen, and a few I just love to use anyway.
KitchenAid Mixer – I have the professional series, but it can be a bit pricey. This is the exact model I have. However, the artisan series I think works just as well, and it comes a variety of adorable colors. Win!
Beater blade – If you have a KitchenAid mixer then you probably know the blade it comes with, though fantastic, doesn’t always get all the way to the edges of the bowl and you often have to stop and scrape it down. Enter this beater blade. It’s a dream, and even with the professional series it hits all the edges of the bowl. It really cuts your prep time in half. And a quick browse on Amazon shows they now come in different colors. Sweet.
Le Creuset Dutch Oven – Much like my KitchenAid mixer, I had to beg and plead for several years before I finally got one as a gift. Let me tell you, if you can splurge on this I totally would. It is amazing. I can stew so many awesome things, roast a chicken, make a casserole. I’m absolutely in love with it. Swoon.
Scoops – They’re really just ice cream scoops but I use them to fill cupcake tins and to ensure that all my cookies are a similar size. I have them in two sizes, one for mini-cupcakes/cookies and another for regular sized cupcakes (which I overfill a little to ensure they come out big enough). These make filling cupcake tins a breeze and I highly recommend them.
Stainless Steel measuring cups – I highly recommend metal cups where the measurements are etched into the handle. I used to have plastic ones, but after a few years all the measurements were rubbed off and it was just that much more of a hassle to try to figure out what was what. Ditto that for measuring spoons. And as far as the cups go, there’s no need to clutter your drawers, you really only need four measurements: 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup.
Ateco Meringue Powder – I was always having the darndest time with royal icing, but after searching the blogosphere for ideas I finally came to the conclusion that meringue powder really is the key. It also makes fabulously easy Swiss buttercream icing. I highly recommend it.
Immersion Blender – This handy little stick blender might seem like an extravagance if you have a regular blender, but honestly I love this so much more than my big blender. It’s super easy to puree soups right in the stock pot, and if you only need to puree a cup or so of fruit, the measuring cup that comes with it to blend make it a breeze. Plus it’s infinitely easier to clean by hand if you don’t have a dishwasher (which I don’t) but it’s also dishwasher safe. Score.
Aprons – I have a slew of aprons. It’s a bit of a bad buying habit of mine, but these ultra cute and relatively inexpensive aprons from Jessie Steele are really fabulous. I think one of them was even in the second SATC movie when Charlotte was baking with her kids. I have two, in different patterns of course. Plus they go so easy from the kitchen to adorable hostess, if that’s your gig. Anyway, I heart them.
Cupcake Carrier – If you bake as many cupcakes as I do and you live in a tiny New York apartment, you’ll totally appreciate this collapsible carrier. The first one I had was actually a gift, but I lost it. And then a friend found it, and then he lost it. So he bought me another one. So, yes, I do find this indispensable.
Measurement Converter Magnet – This thing is awesome. I used to have a really fancy one from Crate & Barrel, but when I moved apartments I accidentally left it on the fridge (sad face). However, I luckily had a cheap second one and I use it all the time. It’s great for when you’re halving recipes and you have no idea how much 1/8th of a cup is (it’s 2 tbsp by the way). It really makes the whole process a lot easier and minimizes the amount of math you have to do (‘cuz fractions are annoying).