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Food52's Editorial Assistant (and college student) Brette Warshaw is curating her very own first kitchen -- and she needs your help. 

Today: what baking tools are essential for a First Kitchen?

Baking tools

When the weather gets snappy and crisp, and the markets fill with apples, and the air feels scented with cinnamon and nutmeg, the daydreams start.

These are dreams of pies, of cookies. Things with mounds of streusel on them. Pools of sticky glaze, of chocolate ganache, of dark, perfect caramel.

They are dreams of holiday baking: holiday baking that fills my apartment with those deep, primal smells of butter and sugar, of toasting nuts, of the oven opening and something – something burnished, bold, and beautiful – being pulled out of it. Holiday baking that, if not easy, is a delightful, flour-dusted challenge.

Pie pan

These dreams are nothing, though, without baking tools. (Real baking tools, not the wine-bottle-as-rolling-pin sort of baking tools.)

What tools, then, do I need to make these holiday baking dreams real, to turn my kitchen into the caramel-and-cinnamon-scented, streusel-topped workshop that I find every waking moment to dream about?

The basics

While I’ve already covered baking sheets and mixing bowls, I’m still missing some of the basics: whisks and rubber spatulas. When it comes to whisks, I’m looking for something thin and light; the fat, bulbous whisks can come later, when my primary concern is not whipping large amounts of cream (and will that time come? I’m not sure.). Cook’s Illustrated recommends the OXO Good Grips 11” Balloon Whisk, and at $9.99, I can get behind that; while it’s not a $1 whisk, it’s definitely not $30 (scary!). 

As for rubber spatulas, I’m looking for quality; there is no room in holiday baking daydreams for burned, melted plastic. Luckily, this Tovolo Silicone Spatula comes both highly-recommended and with a low price tag of $8.99. It’s not in a pack of three, like the ones at the grocery store – but hey, this is serious baking I’m about to do. The spatula is center stage; it’s got to be up for the challenge.

cake pan

Pie pans, cake pans, and loaf pans

What is holiday baking without pies, loaves, and cakes? Nothing. 

But researching the respective pans – and the host of recipes I want to try this holiday season – leaves me with lots of question marks. Normal cake pan, or springform? Do I really need those mini loaf pans, or a will a big one do? Do I go for a pie pan, or do I just hack a tart pan with Amanda’s technique? 

The good news: there’s plenty of baking after holiday baking. There are always reasons to daydream – and always reasons for cookies and cake.

What would you consider your baking essentials, and what would you recommend for my First Kitchen?

Email me at [email protected] with your First Kitchen recommendations -- your favorite tools, your favorite cookware. All wisdom is appreciated.

Tags: first kitchen, pie pan, cake pan, whisk, rubber spatula, baking

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