Jenny's 5 Essential Baking Tools

June  6, 2014

Today, Jenny -- this week's guest editor! -- is sharing her 5 essential baking tools, with plenty of bonus tidbits to go around. You'll want these to make all the recipes in her new book, Treat Yourself: 70 Classic Snacks You Loved as a Kid (and Still Love Today). Stock up, then go preheat your oven.

Baking Tools on Food52

Parchment paper
I don’t care what any recipe orders for baking -- greased sheets, ungreased sheets, flour-powdered pan, or whatnot -- I bake all things in pans lined with this incredibly versatile paper which almost always ensures an easy turn-out of your goods. Buy it in bulk sheets online or from your favorite cookshop rather than by the roll, which is hard to work with.

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BONUS: You can reuse the sheets you have baked with as packing paper for cookies to be mailed or frozen.

More: Master working with parchment paper.

Bench scraper
This may seem to be a tool that only those who frost cakes would need, but I can tell you that it is awesome for cutting dough as well, especially with the measurement marks along its side that guide you to your desired thickness. You can even scrape surfaces with it as well.

BONUS: It is a perfect object with which to threaten grown men who come trying to snag uncooled cookies.

More: Here are the reasons why Alice Medrich keeps one around.

Bench Scraper on Food52

Peppermint oil
It's so much better than extract, and you need very little to infuse cookies or cake with minty delight. Spice up chocolate frosting! Make homemade Junior Mints! Do it now!

BONUS: There is some anecdotal evidence that peppermint oil works to repel mosquitos.

More: Add peppermint oil to these Chocolate Fantasy Brownie Bites.

Hand mixer
Yes, I love my KitchenAid only slightly less than my children, but there are certain jobs that a hand mixer simply performs better, especially whipping small amounts of egg whites, which tend to gather in the bottom of that big KitchenAid bowl.

BONUS: It's easier to clean.

Magical Marvelous Cookies on Food52

Heavy-duty baking sheets
I have a zillion baking sheets, ranging from the kind you get at the grocery store to restaurant-quality big guys available in cooking stores, and the latter make a difference. You can put more cookies on them, which saves time, and they tend to prevent burning, unless you are the sort who leaves your ginger snaps in the oven and then goes and sits in front of a marathon of “Scandal” until you smell something scorching and then blame your oven timer, in which case I can’t help you.

BONUS: You can also use them to bake fish.

Tell us: What are your essential baking tools?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • mcs3000
  • Carolyn Z
    Carolyn Z
  • AntoniaJames

Written by: Jestei

The ratio of people to cake is too big.


mcs3000 June 8, 2014
i need to get a bench scraper with measurement marks. jenny turned me on to homemade junior mints a couple year ago when she mentioned them in a post. yes, make them. now! will be an instant family fav.
AntoniaJames June 9, 2014
And then, mcs3000, put a layer of those homemade junior mints on top of your next pan of brownies . . . . . one of my sister Sally's all-time great treats. ;o) PS Thanks for the tip on the homemade junior mints. How did I miss them?!
Carolyn Z. June 6, 2014
I prefer almond extract. Not a mint person. Never had a hand mixer. Have the dependable KitchenAid. Yes it's sometimes hard to mix things. I like my half-sheet pans with nonstick silicone mats. I need whole wheat flour. And a 2 oz disher.