We live in France and I have just received my first Kitchenaid stand mixer as a gift. I am a little intimidated. What do I use it for besides whipping cream and kneading dough? How do you use your mixer?
Things that are just easier with a Kitchen Aid:
meringues (like meringue cookies, pavlova, etc)
swiss/italian buttercream frosting
Angel Food cake
It makes it easy to mix quick breads and cake batters, also we have the meat grinder attachment so we can make our own ground meats. I don't use mine for every single thing, but I do use it for a lot!!
I use my meat grinder attachment all the time!
Mine is the tool I use the most in my kitchen. I totally LOVE it. But, I bake quite a bit, and tend to find that it has a use in just about everything I bake.
No need to be intimidated by it -- it is your new kitchen TOY, so just "play" with it and enjoy it. And, unlike most toys, it is really, really hard to break! Mine is 20+ years old, gets a regular workout, and just keeps chugging along (kind of like me...except the age is a bit on the plus side of 20+). ;)
I've had my Kitchen Aid 35 years, a gift from my mom because she knew I loved to bake. It's seen heavy use, and not just for baking. It's done service through everyday baking, birthdays, holidays, dinner parties and comfort food for hard times. I'm sure you'll enjoy yours too!
I own two Kitchenaids (okay, I'm embarassed) but they are the work horse of my kitchen. Dough is the obvious use but if you want to plunge into the world of attachments, as others have noted you expand your repetoire. The grinder for meat---I love that--- and the pasta rollers are something to think about.
How don't I use my mixer might be the better question, lol! I use it for EVERYTHING, trust me. I use it for dough (mine kneads dough), whipping cream, cookies, anything that has to be mixed, whipped, or kneaded. No need to be intimidated, either, it's easy to use. As others have said: play with it. Find out what it can do and what it can't do. So far, there's nothing mine can't do and it makes work in the kitchen ten times easier.
Agreed -- I got my KitchenAid after my hand mixer broke, so it's my only option. You can use it for everything!
I use mine for anything involving whipped egg whites (like puffy omelets) or creaming butter with sugar (easy chocolate chip cookies). I also like the dough hook for yeast breads. I love mine, especially in December for holiday cookies.
Basically, I think of mine as a time saving device, especially if I need to cook in bulk (in the same way that I think of my food processor). I do love it and use it often, but I don't think that it is necessarily superior to hand mixing/whipping/kneading. It does, however, allow you to multi-task. Every so often I make sure I keep my skills solid by whipping cream by hand or mixing cookies with a spatula (etc.), and I (almost) always use my hands to make pie crust (but, yes, that has been done in the KitchenAid too, afterall, home processing is better than store bought--but never better than formed purely by hand!).
Just think of it as ethical slavery- any repetitive motion you don't want to do, it can probably do for you. I bake with it a lot- it's nice to turn it on and have the butter all creamed by the time I've measured the flour. Et cetera.