There's no time like Christmas to get lots of goodies and toys and gadgets that makes cooking and baking even more fun! In recent days, a few people have been asking me what I want for Christmas, so I decided to compile a list. Here are a few of my favorite things... For the One Who Loves Fresh, Local Produce
Hand-Drawn Seasonal Produce Poster, $20
This beautiful poster is more than informative. It will add a tasteful design to your kitchen decor. Contact the designer, Laurie Herschman, if you want to splurge and customize it to your region. It's available for purchase on Etsy. *If you are in Boston, you can find this artist at the Holiday Art Sale this Sunday, 12-14, 6-9:30pm. 99 Franklin St, Allston, MA
For the One Who Loves to Bake
Kitchen Scale, $20
Precision is the hallmark of baking, so I'm including a few budget-friendly gadgets that will ensure the most precise measurements that will greatly improve anyone's baking!
A scale is a great value gift--they run around $20, and last for years! I have used mine quite frequently for the past three years--including when I was mass-producing macarons--and it has not yet failed me. In fact, the batteries are still functioning! Make sure it's digital, and make sure it measures to the gram.
This handy, instant-read thermometer is a bit of a splurge at $96, but it gives you an instant digital read, and a lifetime guarantee! This is the third thermometer that I have purchased for ganache and merinuge purposes, and I'm certain that it will be my last because the quality can't be higher. You can purchase it directly from the manufacturer, Thermoworks.
KitchenAid Mixer, $270
Of course, baking is more than just measuring! My KitchenAid mixer is my cant-live-without tool that has truly transformed how I go about baking everything from cakes to homemade dinner rolls. It is the ultimate baker's splurge, and is even a bit of a necessity.
For the One Who Loves Coffee
Bodum Chambord French Coffee Press, $30
I don't drink coffee often, but this adorable coffee pot makes me want to. Coffee drinkers agree that French Press is the best. I made some Community Coffee Bread Pudding coffee this morning in it, and I think I have been having an excellent day for that reason alone!
Community Coffee, $6
Of course, your coffee lover will need actual coffee for their French press! This Baton Rouge-based brand is a holiday favorite in my family. I haven't been able to get my favorite blend, Pecan Praline, in quite some time. But, their other signature blends are excellent as well! You can order directly from their website.
For the One Who Loves to Cook
Cast Iron Skillet
Ok, I admit I have nearly every possible kitchen toy or gadget that anyone could want--except for a cast iron skillet. These skillets are dependable and cook evenly. Plus, unlike other "non-stick" skillets, they are free of strange chemicals! Also, I'm anemic and cast iron actually fortifies your food with iron! It's a great and easy way to get a mineral boost. (Plus, the part of me that loves to bake wants to make skillet cornbread!)
This is the ultimate splurge! This single dish has transformed how I cook. Cooking is so much easier now. The enameled cast iron is a cinch to clean--you simply wipe everything down with water and baking soda. It cooks evenly, and goes from stove-top to oven. I don't know what I did before I got my dutch oven! This is the ultimate foodie gift, and you just can't go wrong if you choose to get this for someone very special in your life.
You can find it at specialty cooking stores, or you can order it directly from it's manufactuer, Le Creuset. Prices vary depending on the size! Make sure you get one that is large enough though--I have the round 5.5 qt size, and it's just perfect for two.