How was your Thanksgiving weekend and first week of December? I hope you all had a meaningful and enjoyable holiday with your loved ones. Ours was wonderful! Thank you to those who stopped by wishing us a happy Thanksgiving. It was greatly appreciated!
Yes, Thanksgiving was wonderful. Then, my cold hit. On Monday night last week. The sniffles, sore throat and feeling tired beyond tired. It hit me. Once again, I think I was doing far too much and not getting enough sleep. Plus, I had forgotten to start taking my Vitamin C which always helps ward off winter colds and flu. This is usually when colds tend to hit us, when we are at our weakest going without sleep. So don’t do what I did (read: pushing yourself) and be sure to get your rest! I am feeling so much better now and can’t wait to get bakin’ up a storm!
Have you already started preparing for the holidays? Last Saturday, The Big Lug and I cut down our fresh Colorado Blue Spruce Christmas tree, a yearly tradition for us, at our favorite local Christmas tree farm, the Lost Forty Tree Farm. I wish I had current photos to share, but my camera suffered a terrible fate! On Friday afternoon, the day after Thanksgiving, just before shooting a cranberry cake, the unthinkable happened. It is now dead. So sad! I wanted to cry. But, I didn’t. Instead, I shouted profanities like a drunken sailor and, yes…I believe, they are still hanging above Lake Michigan a la the film, A Christmas Story. What was it that Ralphie said in another line so applicable here? Ah, yes. Here it is:
“Oh, life is like that. Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.”
Yep. Darkness had descended alright. (Yes, first world problem here.) But, it is always the darkest before the dawn. Right? Since I gave my old camera away, right now, as I write this, we are cameraless. There is no disputing I am definitely challenged in the food photography department, but this fact does not negate the nagging feeling of being a food blogger without a camera! Ugh.
Here are some photos from previous trips to Christmas tree farms, including the Lost Forty Tree Farm, to cut down our tree:
Here’s what the Lost Forty Tree Farm has to say about the Colorado Blue Spruce:
“Good needle retention. Very sturdy branches. When decorated and lit this tree is absolutely stunning with its beauty.”
Exactly! We couldn’t agree more. It’s our favorite Christmas tree. Hopefully, I can get more scanning done and share some snapshots of our Christmas trees over the years and sprinkle them into posts for Christmas cookies.
Needless to say, I don’t have a recipe post today. Please accept my sincere apologies. Also, needless to say, we (read: The Big Lug) ate said cake over the holiday weekend and I must bake another to have that fresh baked look for photography. I am toying with baking this one as dairy free so I can enjoy some this time around and offer the option to others. It smelled sooooo good coming out of the oven! And, all I heard from the The Big Lug was yummy sounds while he was eating his slices.
As you can imagine, I spent a good chunk of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend shopping for a new camera—among other things. In fact, I am almost done with my Christmas shopping with about 75% done online. There really is no better time to replace a broken camera than over Thanksgiving weekend with all sorts of promotions flying around, is there? Since there were some features (read: quirkiness) of my old camera (purchased new last spring) that I never did like, its untimely demise provided an opportunity to search for a new one—hopefully, one I will really like and my photos will be significantly improved. A girl can dream, right?
As luck would have it, there was a terrific Thanksgiving weekend (Black Friday weekend) online special with free shipping. So, I clicked in my order late on Sunday evening. In fact, my new camera arrived on Friday. (I am ecstatic! I’m seriously squealing right now.) So, I hope to have a recipe posted soon…hopefully, the cranberry cake with more cookies and cakes to follow! As we near Christmas, I will try hard to post some savories. I really can’t wait to share my mashed potatoes recipe. It’s truly wicked.
Since I had no camera to shoot any holiday baking recipes for the blog last week, in lieu of baking for a specific post from the pipeline (read: long list of everything I want to bake for the blog), I busied myself last weekend and this past week with other things on my jam-packed holiday to do list—such as, cleaning house, writing out greeting cards, rearranging furniture in the living room to accommodate our Christmas tree, decorating our tree and shopping for Christmas gifts online as well as testing some pie pastry recipes for gluten, grain and dairy free diets for my cookbook project. I even managed to find time to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies! The Big Lug worked very hard on stringing our Christmas tree lights and he deserved a treat. (I mean it’s a prickly Colorado Blue Spruce, right? He had to wear thick rubber gloves for the task which made his hands all uncomfortable and sweaty. Ick.) Admittedly, it was certainly nice to just whip up some cookies to enjoy without having to set aside time to prop and style a shoot. However, as you can imagine, I am truly chomping at the bit for my next shoot with my new camera this week. Yippee!
Have you attended your first holiday party yet? We did on Saturday night. It was fun but I was shocked that there really wasn’t much to eat or drink as I am allergic to dairy. Dairy was everywhere and in everything! The experience left me feeling even more driven in the recipe development department to help others out with dairy intolerances or allergies.
Have you already started your holiday shopping? Did you find any great deals on Cyber Monday? We certainly did. The Walking Company had an incredible markdown of 70% off on their line of slippers. Slippers priced at $64.95 were going for under $20.00! As you can imagine, they promptly sold out of popular styles. We were very lucky to snag a favorite pair for The Big Lug in the nick of time. Also, I saved 20% off my entire online order from LorAnn Oils. I always stock up on pure extracts and other all-natural flavoring agents this time of year for holiday baking. So, my new camera and my extracts and oils from LorAnn Oils are now here. Yay!
Also, I did some serious damage over at Williams-Sonoma last Monday. (I just love that store! They offer free shipping when they don’t have what you want in stock.) I purchased kitchen linens, soufflé dishes, some new Emile Henry loaf bakers, new props for food photography and even replaced our everyday dishes with a new complete set which, quite frankly, was overdue. Currently, just as with every holiday season, our UPS man is my favorite pal!
Well, with all of this talk about Cyber Monday and holiday shopping, I might as well confess that I was anything but idle last week with a terrible cold and being without a camera. What does a girl do when she does not have a camera to conduct a proper shoot to post a recipe for her readers and the holiday shopping season happens to be in full swing? She puts together a wicked list of gifts for bakers and cooks, that’s what she does!
Yes, on Monday evening after shopping, I sat down to draft my first holiday gift guide for bakers and cooks. I was inspired by the lists by Anna of Crunchy Creamy Sweet and Julie of Table for Two. Last Wednesday, I also spotted holiday gift guides by Sylvie of Gourmande in the Kitchen and Bridget of Bake at 350. Be sure to check out their fabulous holiday gift guides, too, while you prepare to do your shopping!
As you can imagine, this list took quite a significant amount of time to gather and organize (let alone format with links in WordPress) to save you time with shopping and includes my most treasured tools as well as my very own wish list items from my favorite stores.
Note: While this post contains links, in no way shape or form is this list or post sponsored. These items actually represent my true favorites and I am not a compensated affiliate of any sort at this time.
Some of these items you have actually seen here on the blog as they are a part of Wicked Good Kitchen’s ‘batterie de cuisine’ (I just love that term) while others will be seen soon—that is, if Santa thinks I have been a good girl this year. Ha!
Batterie de Cuisine: The batterie de cuisine is the range of tools and pans used in a professional kitchen. It includes the knives, frying pans, bakeware and the complete set of kitchen utensils required for cooking and for the making of desserts, pastries and confectionery. It does not include any of the fixed equipment such as cooking ranges, refrigeration equipment, etc.
Meanwhile, I hope you will agree that this list is indeed wicked good and you enjoy my picks. I have provided a baker’s dozen (13) categories with six (6) picks in each, plus a bonus category, for 75+ total picks in varying price ranges. Below are the categories to help guide you:
- Generous Gifts for Those Who Are Not on Santa’s Naughty List!
- Awesome Gifts Under $100
- Incredible Gifts Under $50
- Impressive Gifts Under $30
- Fabulous Stocking Stuffers Priced $10 to $50
- Sweet Gifts Under $10
- Anthropologie Treasures
- Retro & Vintage-Inspired Kitchen Gifts
- Stylish & Personalized Aprons
- Christmas Tree Ornaments
- Fun Printed Items & Treat Boxes
- Phenomenal Gifts for Those Who Have Been Especially Good!
- Bonus Category: Favorite Gift Cards
Without further ado, I bring you The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2013 for Bakers & Cooks by Wicked Good Kitchen! It was my pleasure gathering this list and I look forward to doing it again next year.
Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Bakers & Cooks
by Wicked Good Kitchen
Generous Gifts for Those Who Are Not
on Santa’s Naughty List!
KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer
Sugg. Price: $430 / Williams-Sonoma Price: $349.95
Why I love it and you will too: Can I just tell you…I loooove KitchenAid! In fact, I just got my new KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Stand Mixer in Cinnamon just a few weeks ago as an early Christmas gift from The Big Lug. And, I just love it! My white Classic KitchenAid stand mixer served me well for over 20 years. I cannot even count the number of cakes, wedding cakes, bridal and baby shower cakes, batches of cookies and holiday baking my reliable gal provided over the years. However, it was time to invest in a new stand mixer to carry me through another 20 years or so of whipping up batches of batter, dough, frosting and meringue. The long lifespan and high performance of these mixers is the very reason why KitchenAid was my top choice for a replacement. You can see my old girl here on the blog in action making very stiff dough in the step-by-step photos for Perfect Flaky Cream Cheese Pastry. Soon, you will be seeing on the blog my new KitchenAid stand mixer in gorgeous Cinnamon! Truly, for me, a kitchen is incomplete without a KitchenAid stand mixer. And, without a doubt, they make magnificent holiday gifts for bakers and cooks!
Blendtec WildSide Designer Series Blender
List Price: $659 / Current Amazon Price: $368.09
Why I love it and you will too: This commercial-quality 1,560-watt Blendtec Wildside Designer Series Blender is the #1 kitchen electric on my wish list for Santa this year! I have been pining for a Blendtec blender for quite some time now following my research on all high-speed blenders. My old Waring blender never quite lived up to my expectations. However, in all fairness, it is not a high-speed blender which is what this girl really needs! I like that the control surface is illuminated making it easy to read and that it is BPA-free. Includes WildSide blending jar and secure-fitting vented lid as well as user guide and recipe book with over 200 recipes. Comes with an impressive 7-year manufacturer warranty. I hope Santa thinks I have been a good girl this year. 😉 I really need this bad boy! Plus, the price is right. Don’t you agree? Honest and truly, a phenomenal holiday gift for the baker, cook or smoothie lover in your life!
Mauviel M’collection de Cuisine Roasting Pan
Was: $224.95 / Now: $169.96
Why I love it and you will too: Last year, for Thanksgiving, we added this gorgeous piece to our kitchen bakeware collection and have never looked back. In fact, you can view our Mauviel Roasting Pan with our turkey from 2012, Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey, in Wicked Good Kitchen’s Flickr stream. Mauviel roasting pans are truly exceptional in that they exceed the demanding expectations of professional chefs yet offer user-friendly features we home cooks love and appreciate. After much research we decided to go with Mauviel over other brands for several reasons. Each pan is handcrafted in France and is of heirloom-quality with flawless five-ply stainless steel construction. The handles are especially comfortable and stay cool while cooking gravy and sauces on the stovetop. This roasting pan has a flat bottom making it an excellent choice for induction cooktops as well. And, amazingly, the pan accommodates up to a 25-lb. bird while being oven safe up to 680 degrees F. This roasting pan was also designed for pouring with a dripless rim and its classic style is simply exquisite. We will surely enjoy this pan for many years to come. The Mauviel M’collection de Cuisine Roasting Pan would make a thoughtful and generous gift for serious bakers and cooks!
Wüsthof Classic 3-Piece Knife Starter Set
Sugg. Price: $352 / Williams-Sonoma Price: $199.95
Why I love it and you will too: My first fine-quality kitchen knives were by Wüsthof and it was the butcher block set that The Big Lug and I invested in when we were first married. Although I have added to my kitchen cutlery collection over the years, the knives in the butcher block set by Wüsthof are still at the core of our everyday use. This Classic 3-Piece Knife Starter Set by Wüsthof is all one would need to get started and would certainly be greatly appreciated. Each knife is precision forged from a single piece of sturdy high-carbon steel that resists stains and corrosion. The set includes a 3 1/2″ paring knife, a 6″ utility knife and an 8″ chef’s knife. Another great holiday gift choice for the avid cook and baker!
Le Creuset® Signature Round Dutch Oven (1 qt. to 13.25 qt.)
Sugg. Price: $140 – $605 / Williams-Sonoma Price: $105 – $465
Why I love it and you will too: I love my Le Creuset® Signature Round Dutch Oven! The reason why this line of cookware is so beloved is due to being designed specifically to enhance the slow-cooking process by heating evenly and locking in moisture for tender, delicious results. This Le Creuset® cookware is always reliable in providing steady and even heat while the color of the enamel interior makes it easy to watch food while cooking to prevent burning and sticking. I use my Le Creuset® Dutch Oven to make big batches of soup or chili and even for syrup, candy and caramel making as well as deep frying such as when making homemade doughnuts. You just cannot go wrong here! In my book, Le Creuset® is aces. In fact, I need more in different sizes. There are so many colors to choose from, so it is a good idea if you know which color is the favorite of your gift recipient. But, no worries as it can always be exchanged for another. Le Creuset®, whether Dutch ovens, bakers or skillets, is always a fabulous choice for the bakers and cooks on your holiday gift list!
iSi Gourmet Cream Whipper – $149.95
Why I love it and you will too: Oh, how The Big Lug and I adore this fun kitchen gadget! In fact, it is our very favorite gadget of all-time and always makes entertaining, celebrating special occasions and the holidays so special. Guests always marvel at our “Izzy”, as we affectionately nicknamed our iSi Gourmet Cream Whipper. I have extolled the virtues of this fun gadget before on the blog with my recipe for Best Ever Blueberry Cobbler and how we would even pack up a cooler with plenty of ice and bring along “Izzy” prepared and fully charged with sweetened fresh heavy whipping cream so everyone could enjoy the special treat of fresh whipped cream with their cobbler whilst dining in the breezy outdoor summertime air at family picnics. I swear…we were treated like rock stars! This cream whipper is not only ideal for plating fabulous desserts and ice cream sundaes, it is right at home when topping off your mug of hot cocoa or favorite hot coffee drink with fresh whipped cream during the winter. A cream whipper is convenient, too, as it keeps leftover whipped cream at the ready in the fridge. It doesn’t just whip cream either—it even whips yogurt and mousses—savory or sweet! Without a doubt, the iSi Gourmet Cream Whipper makes an exceptional culinary gift for bakers and cooks!
Awesome Gifts Under $100
Cuisinart Elite Die-Cast Mini Prep Food Processor, 4-Cup
Sugg. Price: $120 / Williams-Sonoma Price: $64.95
Why I love it and you will too: You simply cannot beat this deal! Truly money well spent. This little Cuisinart Elite Mini Prep 4-Cup Food Processor has more strength and energy than it looks! I have one of these babies and it is a true workhorse for small food prep jobs. It has proven to be indispensable amongst my kitchen arsenal. I use it to chop nuts, process vegetables for dips, salsas and sauces as well as process small batches of dough. In fact, you can see where I have used this fabulous kitchen electronic here on the blog to make cookie dough for Almond Double Thumbprint Heart Cookies and Paleo Cookie Butter. This little guy would make an ideal holiday gift for the baker or cook in your life!
Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick 6-Piece Essentials Bakeware Set
Sugg. Price: $152.70 / Williams-Sonoma Price: $99.95
Why I love it and you will too: This Goldtouch® Nonstick 6-Piece Essentials Bakeware Set is one wicked good (read: professional-quality) baking set priced just under $100. The set includes standard 12-cup muffin pan, cookie sheet, half-sheet pan, two 9-inch round cake pans and cooling rack—everything a novice or serious baker needs. Made with Goldtouch® ceramic coating, these pans are more resistant to abrasion than regular non-stick surfaces and releases food with ease. I should know—this is the very set The Big Lug gave me last Christmas! And, I just love it. In fact, I loved this set so much that I added several more Goldtouch® pieces for complete replacement of my other baking pans. My baked items always emerge from the oven evenly baked. You can see the muffin pan in my post for Best-Ever No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls (scroll down to bottom for the rolls baked in the muffin pan) and the loaf pan I added to this set in my post for White Cheddar & Herb Beer Bread. What I like best about this nonstick bakeware is that not only do these pans release easily, but the pans resist rust and warping while remaining oven safe up to 450 degrees F. Plus, they are made in the USA by USA Pan—North America’s only manufacturer of commercial bakeware and made exclusively for Williams-Sonoma. You will definitely make the baker and cook on your holiday gift list happy with this set as the pans are truly a baker’s dream come true! I’m serious…just read the reviews at the Williams-Sonoma website for yourself!
Calphalon Unison Slide Nonstick Fry Pan Set
Sugg. Price: $275 / Williams-Sonoma Price: $89.95
Why I love it and you will too: Truly, an incredible value! I have Calphalon nonstick frying pans and I just love this set! This set of Calphalon Unison Slide Nonstick Fry Pans is made in the USA and constructed of heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum with three interlocking nonstick layers providing superior heat conduction for uniform cooking. The nonstick surface offers flawless release and easy cleanup as well. These durable pans come in the most versatile sizes, 10-inch and 12-inch, and are dishwasher safe. What’s not to love? An excellent gift for the cook in your life!
Ateco Revolving Cake Stand (Turntable), 12″ – $79.95
Why I love it and you will too: Back when I started to bake seriously to include tiered wedding as well as bridal and baby shower cakes, I purchased my Ateco Revolving Cake Stand (Turntable) from the ever-popular Kitchen Glamour in West Bloomfield, Michigan. I just loved working with it! It makes cake decorating a breeze when it comes to frosting multi-tier cakes and delicate piping work. From Williams-Sonoma: “Professional bakers use turntables like this one to ensure precision when applying the finishing touches to their signature cakes. It’s equally convenient for home bakers – just set your cake on the rotating top, then turn it with one hand as you frost or embellish the dessert.” Measures 12″ diameter, 5″ high. Made in USA. For the serious cake baker in your life, this cake turntable is essential. A fabulous holiday gift indeed!
CHEFS Size-Marked Pastry Board – $69.95
Why I love it and you will too: This is a kitchen item I have had my eye on for some time and have it on my wish list! This CHEFS Size-Marked Pastry Board ensures perfectly rolled and shaped pie crusts and pastry shells with the greatest of ease. What makes this board exceptional is its nifty design and the fact that it offers both US and metric measurements on one side and a smooth reverse side for everyday food prep. The design offers an “over-the-counter-edge” stability lip which keeps the board from slipping. Made of North American hardwood which easily wipes clean. An ideal holiday gift for the baker and cook!
Frieling 3-Piece Layer Cake Slicing Kit – $59.95
Why I love it and you will too: When I first started making serious layer cakes, I used the “Rose Method”. This method was devised by cookbook author Rose Levy Beranbaum. Essentially, you would score each cake layer around its perimeter and then slice through the cake layer horizontally. This method greatly relied upon good “eye-balling” to ensure accurate measuring. Well, this is no longer necessary with the user-friendly Frieling 3-Piece Layer Cake Slicing Kit! This all-inclusive kit includes the slicing mold, serrated knife and cake lifter to effectively slice up to 8 uniform layers in a snap and easily move each fragile layer of cake. Literally, a piece of cake! Without a doubt, an essential tool for the serious cake baker in your life!
Incredible Gifts Under $50
OXO® Food Scale – $49.95
Why I love it and you will too: Since I have a scale used in laboratories for measuring ingredients by weight with a readability to .1 grams (given to me by The Big Lug early in our marriage) for developing accurate recipes, this OXO® Food Scale is the scale I would buy others as a gift or as a second scale for myself. I did my research for a reliable kitchen scale and the OXO® Food Scale won hands down. Plus, the reviews are all outstanding. For bakers, a kitchen scale is essential—especially when baking with gluten-free or grain-free flours and other ingredients. As for the features, I appreciate the pull away panel to make checking readings easy. Another nifty feature is the ability to press a button to reset the scale (tare feature) as you add ingredients to a single container and instantly view the updated reading. This innovative and user-friendly kitchen scale weighs up to 11 lbs. or 5kg and offers convenient storage due to its thin profile. The stainless steel platform removes for easy cleaning and four AAA batteries are included. Truly, an indispensable kitchen tool and thoughtful gift for the serious baker and cook in your life!
Sur La Table® Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Butter-Melting Pot
Value: $65.00 / Price: $49.95
Why I love it and you will too: Isn’t this little pot stankin’ cute? I just adore it. Oh, “die butter potten” of mine, how I love thee! (Using my best German-Dutch dialect voice.) Last year, I found this sweet little pot as a surprise gift under the Christmas tree from The Big Lug. He spotted it at Sur la Table and knew in an instant it was made for me. I guess he got tired of me exploding sticks of melting butter via the “microwave method”, huh? (It leaves such a mess, doesn’t it? Then all of your measuring is totally off! Grrrr.) Well, with the Sur La Table® Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Butter-Melting Pot, one need not worry about such things ever again. Not only do I love the design of this butter pot, but it is nice and small when you need to bring it over to your work surface as when layering phyllo sheets to make Baklava, brushing butter onto cinnamon roll dough, adding to your pancake and waffle batter with the convenient pouring spout or to drizzle over popcorn. Sur la Table calls it a “petite multi tasker” for good reason! It’s not just for melting butter, of course. It’s great for warming sauces and syrups as well as reheating soup or tea. I like using it to reheat homemade caramel to drizzling consistency. The handle is ergonomic (read: super comfy) and stays cool. The gleaming 18/10 stainless steel top and bottom layers are bonded to a middle layer of pure aluminum and the tri-ply design ensures rapid and even heat distribution. Broiler, stovetop and dishwasher safe; capacity of 0.63 qt. Oven safe to 500 degrees F. Did I tell you how stinkin’ cute it is? 😉 Any baker or cook will enjoy this holiday gift!
Le Creuset® Heritage Cherry Au Gratin Dishes Set of 2
Value: $95.00 / Price: $49.95
Why I love it and you will too: Wow! Quite the value, isn’t it? In fact, this is the very set of Le Creuset® Heritage Cherry Au Gratin Dishes I have and just love it! You can see the large dish in my post for Chorizo 7-Layer Mexican Dip here on the blog. I make apple crisp, casseroles, potatoes au gratin and hot dips in these baking dishes. The possibilities are endless making the set especially versatile. Set includes 8″ and 11¼” au gratin dishes with capacities of 24 oz; 1¾ qt. Comes with 5-year limited warranty. Made of stoneware and dishwasher safe. This baking dish set makes quite the impact with gift giving, too. Just perfect for the baker or cook in your life!
Sur La Table® White Marble Pastry Board, 16″ x 20″ – $39.95
Why I love it and you will too: Last year, I received my marble pastry board and matching marble rolling pin as a Valentine’s Day gift from The Big Lug. In fact, you can see the set in my how-to posts for Perfect Flaky Cream Cheese Pastry and Gluten-Free Flaky Cream Cheese Pastry here on the blog. As a set (items purchased separately), the Sur La Table® White Marble Pastry Board and Sur La Table® Marble Rolling Pin with Handles makes an incredible gift presentation. Both pieces are Sur la Table best sellers for good reason! The price is right for this elegant marble board which is ideal for making delicate (read: tender and buttery) pastries since you don’t need to add much flour which will toughen dough. A marble surface is essential for fragile dough and the cold surface keeps the dough from sticking while rolling. Hand wash and keep away from acidic foods such as lemon juice and vinegar. A fabulous holiday gift for the baker on your list!
Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt® Pan – $34.95
Why I love it and you will too: There are four Nordic Ware Bundt® pans in my collection, but I don’t have this one! The large 15-cup capacity is just what I need for vintage recipes yielding many, many cups of batter! Ever have a scary Bundt cake overflow situation like me? Then, you may need the Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt® Pan as well! I’m hoping Santa will leave one under my tree this year. Did you know Bundt is the American name for a sculpted German coffee cake? Yep, it’s true! This commercial-quality Bundt pan is made of heat-responsive cast aluminum which promotes even rising, uniform baking (due to the center tube conducting extra heat) and browning for a nice golden crust. The nonstick interior ensures an easy release and a well sculpted cake. The side handles make transferring cakes from oven to cooling rack a breeze. The pan measures 10 1/2″ diam., 4 1/2″ high. Made in the USA by Nordic Ware, a family-owned company trusted for its fine bakeware since 1946. A fabulous holiday gift for the cake baker in your life!
Kuhn Rikon Leakproof PushPans™ (8-, 9- or 10-inch) – $24.95 – $34.95
Why I love it and you will too: Did you ever wish there was a leakproof alternative to the springform pan? Well, here it is…and, it’s on my Christmas wish list! Kuhn Rikon Leakproof PushPans deliver the same baking results as springform pans but without the fuss. The innovative and user-friendly “no-spring” pans feature a silicone ring (FDA-approved) to seal the pan shut so it doesn’t leak. To easily remove cakes after baking, simply place pan on a can, or onto an upside-down bowl with a flat bottom, and push down. The bottom will rise up away from the ring and your baked savory or sweet creation will emerge in a nice round form. The PushPan is ideal for making quiches, tarts, cakes, coffee cakes with crumb toppings, cheesecakes and more. In fact, bake all of your springform recipes in this incredibly handy baking pan. The carbon steel evenly cooks and browns while the nonstick coating provides easy cleanup and release. Refrigerator, freezer and oven safe up to 445 degrees F. Hand wash. The perfect holiday gift for the baker in your life!
Impressive Gifts Under $30
OXO® Cookie Press with Storage Box – $29.95
Why I love it and you will too: As far as cookie presses go, I have owned two and was never quite fully satisfied because so many cookies were irregularly shaped and, thus, baked unevenly. This proved to be very frustrating. So, after conducting a little research, I promptly placed the OXO® Cookie Press with Storage Box on my Christmas wish list this year. And, guess what? I just received it (from Sur la Table) as an early Christmas present from The Big Lug! The user-friendly design promises the ability to create dozens of perfectly formed and pressed cookies with absolutely no hand strain thanks to the ergonomic paddle lever and the nonslip base which keeps the press steady while dispensing dough. Even Cook’s Illustrated had this to say about this wonderful cookie press based on its nonslip base for holding the press steady while using the gun to shoot cookies as well as the indicator showing when the plunger is engaged and ready to press after loading: “The OXO Good Grips Cookie Press with Disk Storage Case ($29.99) had both of these features and was the only press to make perfectly shaped cookies with each of its dozen disks.” Well, that sealed it for me as Cook’s Illustrated is routinely a trusted source for the home cook. Set includes 12 stainless steel cookie disks with patterns for every occasion and storage case. The clear cylinder shows how much dough is left. Unit disassembles easily for loading and cleaning. Hand wash. Needless to say, this cookie press would make a wonderful holiday gift for the baker in your life!
Sur La Table® Stainless Steel Bowls (2- to 9-qt.) – $8.95 – $27.95
Why I love it and you will too: Because I get tired of reaching for heavy glass bowls from my two graduated sets, I decided that my kitchen needed to be equipped with these five light weight bowls, Sur La Table® Stainless Steel Bowls, ranging from 2 to 9 quarts in capacity. They are officially on my Christmas wish list! These extra-deep, durable and pretty bowls feature mirror-finish interiors and matte-finish exteriors with flat bottoms for stability. They’re even dishwasher safe making them especially user-friendly. I just know I’ll be reaching for these often. The perfect gift for the baker and cook on your holiday list!
Sur La Table® Marble Rolling Pin with Handles – $24.95
Why I love it and you will too: As I mentioned above, last year for an early Valentine’s Day gift, I received my marble pastry board and matching marble rolling pin as a gift from The Big Lug. You can see the set in my how-to posts for Perfect Flaky Cream Cheese Pastry and Gluten-Free Flaky Cream Cheese Pastry here on the blog. As a set (items purchased separately), the Sur La Table® White Marble Pastry Board and Sur La Table® Marble Rolling Pin with Handles makes an incredible gift presentation. Both pieces are Sur la Table best sellers for good reason! The price is right for this pretty marble rolling pin which is ideal for rolling out delicate (read: tender and buttery) pastries since you don’t need to add much flour which toughens dough. A marble rolling pin and surface is essential and the cold surfaces keep dough from sticking while rolling. Hand wash and keep away from acidic foods such as lemon juice and vinegar. A fabulous gift for the serious baker on your gift list!
Blanc Ribbed Serving Bowls (7.5-, 8.5- or 10-inch) – $9.95 – $19.95
Why I love it and you will too: Oh, how I just love these beautiful white ribbed porcelain serving bowls! If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you have seen these bowls often. I like the ribbed design which makes them look retro and matches both my traditional kitchen and blog’s Mid-century design. I keep fresh lemons, limes, oranges and apples in them as well as use them as serving bowls from mashed potatoes to pasta and salad to chips and dip. The bowls are often seen in the background of my images on my butcher block countertop. To check them out, visit my Flickr stream and scroll down through the images. I cannot recommend these bowls highly enough! They are gorgeous in person and have a nice heft to them—perfect for special occasions or everyday use. The design will blend in with any kitchen and will coordinate easily with other Blanc pieces. These porcelain bowls are fired at a higher temperature than either earthenware or stoneware making the surface hard and more resistant to chips, scratches and stains. Dishwasher, microwave and oven-safe up to 500 degrees F. So fun and affordable! Makes a great holiday gift for the cook and baker on your list!
OXO® Good Grips Cookie Scoops (Small, Medium or Large) – $13.00 – $15.00
Why I love it and you will too: A baker’s life is made infinitely easier when using cookie scoops, like OXO® Good Grips Cookie Scoops, while baking cookies! They are essential to achieve consistently round cookies for even baking. Simply give the ergonomic comfort-grip handles a gentle squeeze to use. A total breeze! The scoops measure 8” long. Small scoop holds 2 teaspoons of dough (yields 2″ cookies); medium holds 1½ tablespoons (yields 2¾” cookies); large holds 3 tablespoons (yields 3½” cookies). Made of stainless steel and polypropylene. Dishwasher safe. The perfect gift or stocking stuffer for the baker in your life!
Progressive Brown Sugar Keeper (1.5 qt. or 2 lbs.) – $12.95
Why I love it and you will too: While shopping recently at CHEFS Catalog, this Progressive Brown Sugar Keeper caught my eye. It boasts the ability to preserve the sweet rich molasses taste of brown sugar while preventing hard clumps from forming due to the keeper having an airtight seal and a moisture-preserving terra-cotta disc promising fresh molasses taste and a soft granular texture so necessary for baking. The storage container is BPA-free and has a locking clasp which unlocks with one hand for easy opening. The wide opening allows for easy measuring straight from the container and the sides of the keeper can be used to level off when using cups or spoons. This keeper isn’t just for brown sugar either. It can be effectively used to keep raisins, marshmallows or coconut flakes fresh and moist. The keeper has a 2-lb. capacity, clear base to monitor supply and is dishwasher safe. No more using wasteful plastic food storage bags! I have placed this item on my Christmas wish list and think it would be the ideal gift for the baker or cook in your life!
Fabulous Stocking Stuffers Priced $10 to $50
Kitchen Torch – $49.95
Why I love it and you will too: When shopping for a kitchen torch, I came across this one which is an exclusive at Williams-Sonoma. As any decent baker or cook will tell you, a kitchen torch is essential in giving classic crème brûlée its signature caramelized topping. Sure, you can use a broiler. But, you will not have good results—just mediocre at best. Kitchen torches are necessary to brown meringue perfectly (as with cute S’mores Cupcakes!) or other desserts such as pies and tarts. And, they come in handy when melting grated cheese. I like this particular kitchen torch because of its compact size, the flame is adjustable and it has a built-in gauge to display the fuel level. Unit measures 8.5 inches long, is constructed of stainless-steel and includes a storage stand and recipe. (Standard butane canister not included.) Truly, this kitchen torch by Williams-Sonoma would make an ideal stocking stuffer gift for the baker or cook in your life!
Sonoma Syrup Lemon, Almond and Vanilla Extract Set – $32.00
Why I love it and you will too: When it comes to extracts and oils as flavoring agents, all-natural products are what I am after. In fact, I insist on it! When I spotted this extract set recently at Sur la Table, I knew it was going right on my holiday wish list as a stocking stuffer gift. Made with no preservatives, all-natural Sonoma Syrups provide intense flavor for all cooking and baking needs. The description for the almond extract is “strong, creamy, sweet and nutty”. Just the way it should be. The vanilla extract is a wonderful blend of vine ripened, pure vanilla extract from premium Madagascar bourbon and Tahitian vanilla beans making it exceptional. Per Sur la Table: “It’s masterfully grown and blended like a fine wine. This varietal vanilla reflects the terrain of each region, creating a robust, floral and aromatic sweet vanilla vintage flavor.” Good vanilla is essential in baking. The lemon extract is made from hand-selected California lemons employing a special cold-process method to preserve the complex flavor bouquet. Made in the USA, 4 oz. each. The perfect extract set as a holiday stocking stuffer gift for the baker in your life! This product is only available online, so order early!
World Vanillas Set of 3 – Sugg. Price: $32 / Williams-Sonoma Price: $25.60
Why I love it and you will too: This is a fabulous stocking stuffer gift idea! I use and call for Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract in my recipes consistently. The World Vanillas Set of 3 is affordable and ideal for the baker who enjoys experimenting and sampling extracts. And, as most folks know, vanilla extracts from Nielsen-Massey have long been the choice of bakers and ice cream makers for their unparalleled quality. This Williams-Sonoma set includes extracts of vanilla from Mexico, Tahiti and Madagascar—created through an exclusive cold-process method to preserve their intense nuanced flavors. Per Williams-Sonoma: “The Mexican vanilla is known for its creamy, spicy flavor while the Tahitian vanilla is prized for its aromatic, fruity flavor and the Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, the king of vanillas, is legendary for its sweet, smooth, mellow flavor.” Excellent for baking, candy making, for flavoring ice cream as well as sweet and savory dishes. Made in USA; 2 fl. oz. each. Makes the perfect holiday stocking stuffer gift for bakers!
Progressive International Cherry-It Multiple Cherry Pitter – Current Amazon Price: $12.08
Why I love it and you will too: If you are a regular visitor and reader of my blog, you have seen this little wonder featured in my recipe for Mom’s Homemade Tart Cherry Pie Filling which is used in my popular recipes for Cherry Pie Crumble Bars and Cherry Hand Pies. Using this handy dandy Progressive International Cherry-It Multiple Cherry Pitter is truly life changing. It is reasonably priced and works circles around other units. Yes, it only pits four (4) cherries at a time. However, it does so in a snap and catches the messy juices. With one spring loaded push, four (4) cherry pits are extracted in an instant. This is what I had to say in my blog post for Homemade Tart Cherry Pie Filling: “The most difficult or time consuming aspect is pitting the cherries. It only took me 25 minutes to rinse, dry and pit all of mine using this inexpensive gizmo (read: awesome cherry pitter) and with virtually no mess at all. As you will see in the visual step-by-step photos below, I set up my pitting station over a half baking sheet pan lined with absorbent paper towel. This little system works like a dream to keep splatter nearly non-existent.” Yes, thanks to this little wonder of a cherry pitter, cherry pie making, from scratch with fresh cherries, has never been simpler! And, it makes a thoughtful and ideal holiday gift as a stocking stuffer for the pie baker in your life! Watch the Amazon price on this one as it fluctuates. I purchased my pitter for under $15.00.
Silicone Spatulas in Red
Sugg. Price: $8.95 – $29.85 / Williams-Sonoma Price: $8.95 – $24.95
Why I love it and you will too: Silicone spatulas come in handy for so many reasons for both cooks and bakers—such as for safe use with nonstick cookware and to mix, fold, stir and scrape ingredients in baking. And, I just love my set! The red color is very pretty in my kitchen. These Silicone Spatulas by Williams-Sonoma are durable and wash up beautifully. I’ve had mine for several years and they still look like new. Made from flexible silicone, the wide heads are heat resistant up to 500 degrees F. and will not chip or crack. The handles are made from quality solid maple and are round for a comfortable grip. Heads remove for easy cleaning; hand wash handles. Set of three (3) includes small, medium and large spatulas measuring 10 1/4″, 11 3/4″ and 13 1/4″ long, respectively. Made in USA. The ideal stocking stuffer gift for the cook and baker in your life!
Stainless-Steel Silicone Spatula & Spoonula – $12.95 – $14.95
Why I love it and you will too: As mentioned above, silicone spatulas come in handy for so many reasons for both cooks and bakers—such as for safe use with nonstick cookware and to mix, fold, stir and scrape ingredients in baking. Sold separately (not as a set), Williams-Sonoma’s Stainless-Steel Silicone Spatula & Spoonula were an excellent addition to my kitchen. I just cannot say enough good things about them! To see my Stainless-Steel Silicone Spatula in action, see the image for my Best Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies (dough) in my Flickr stream or when making hot caramel for Slutty Caramel Apples. The stainless steel handle is pure genius and feels comfortable in the hand. No need to worry about wood handles corroding and warping due to not being washed properly or from in advertently soaking in water for too long. The heads are made from flexible silicone, are heat-resistant up to 500 degrees F. and won’t chip or crack. Remove heads easily for cleaning and are dishwasher safe. The spatula and spoonula each measure 11 3/4″ long and are a Williams-Sonoma exclusive. The perfect stocking stuffer for the serious baker!
Sweet Gifts Under $10
Provence Spice Jar – $9.95
Why I love it and you will too: Such a great way to store spices! This vintage-y French-inspired Provence Spice Jar is made of cement, embossed with “Epices du sud” and measures 3½” high. To keep it food safe, jar comes with a plastic food safe liner. I just love the vintage look of this jar and added it to my holiday wish list. It would make a thoughtful holiday gift or stocking stuffer for the cook or baker on your list!
Wood Lemon Reamer – $9.95
Why I love it and you will too: This very Wood Lemon Reamer by Williams-Sonoma is used nearly every day in my kitchen. Each morning upon waking, I reach for my reamer to enjoy a nice hot mug of lemon water as part of a healthy regimen. Since we cook often with fresh citrus juice, we have found this reamer ideal when juicing a single lemon or lime. This classic kitchen tool is truly indispensable in our kitchen. The pointed tip easily dislodges seeds and the ridged surface extracts juices. Measures 6 1/4″ long. Hand wash. Made in Poland. The perfect small holiday gift or stocking stuffer for the cook or baker in your life!
Klip-It® Bakery Food Storage Container (1.7 qt./1.56 ltr.) – $4.99 – $9.99
Why I love it and you will too: The Klip-It® Bakery Food Storage Container in the 1.7 qt. size is perfect for storing specialty flours…like all those little gluten free bags of flour! Get your pantry organized in the New Year with these fabulous flour keepers or give them away as gifts with some gluten free flour in them. A fabulous holiday gift idea for the gluten free baker in your life!
Flour Stay Fresh Container – $3.99
Why I love it and you will too: Did you ever dream of a more simplified way to store flour and sugar still in their bags? This Flour Stay Fresh Container was designed specifically for people who do not want to transfer entire opened packages into airtight storage containers and is perfectly sized for a standard 5 lb. bag of flour. Simply drop the opened bag into the container and snap the lid shut. Made of BPA-free plastic. Refrigerator-, freezer- and top rack dishwasher-safe. The perfect gift for the baker on your list!
Sugar Stay Fresh Container – $3.99
Why I love it and you will too: As above, did you ever dream of a more simplified way to store flour and sugar still in their bags? This Sugar Stay Fresh Container was designed specifically for people who do not want to transfer entire opened packages into airtight storage containers and is perfectly sized for a standard 5 lb. bag of sugar. Simply drop the opened bag into the container and snap the lid shut. Made of BPA-free plastic. Refrigerator-, freezer- and top rack dishwasher-safe. The perfect gift for the baker on your list!
Ateco 4.25 by 0.75-Inch Small Sized Blade Ultra Spatula, Offset – $3.80
Why I love it and you will too: The 4.25 by 0.75-Inch Small Sized Blade Ultra Spatula by Ateco is the perfect sized offset spatula for icing cupcakes! No baker should be without this offset spatula. It makes the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for the cupcake baker in your life!
Filomena Baking Collection (Whisk, Rolling Pin & Muffin Pan) – $16.00 – $36.00
Why I love it and you will too: Charming and cozy is what comes to mind with this pretty set of cottage-inspired stoneware baking tools—the Filomena Baking Collection by Camp Home. When I first spotted this incredibly sweet set at Anthro, I knew it was going on my Christmas wish list immediately. It looks so fairytale beautiful! In fact, I also want the matching bowl sold separately. The Filomena Baking Collection is truly a wonderful set to add to country or cottage kitchen décor as well as to any collection of bakeware and tools. Muffin pan measures 10.5″L, 7.25″W, rolling pin measures 18″L, 2.5″ diameter and whisk measures 11.25″L, 2.25″ diameter. Hand wash. Truly, the perfect holiday gift for the Anthropologie shopper and baker in your life!
Filomena Mixing Bowl – $48.00
Why I love it and you will too: Cottage-inspired design comes to life in a practical kitchen tool with the Filomena Mixing Bowl by Camp Home which matches the Filomena Baking Collection with muffin pan, rolling pin and whisk (sold separately). Made of stoneware, the bowl’s design includes a lip for a convenient handle and a pouring spout perfectly suited to easily pour that pancake batter for weekend breakfasts. Finished in a pattern of polka-dot-like red hearts and red scalloped trim accented with white polka dots, the Filomena Mixing Bowl makes a dreamy fairytale addition to the kitchen. Measures 10″ H, 8.25″ diameter and holds 89.5 ounces. Dishwasher safe. Truly, the perfect holiday gift for the Anthropologie shopper and baker in your life!
Scalloped Celebration Cake Stands – $24.00 – $68.00
Why I love it and you will too: These pretty stoneware Scalloped Celebration Cake Stands by Camp Home with vintage appeal speak of yesteryear and are ideal to display cakes and cupcakes or other small sweets. Due to the red, white and blue color scheme, I can just imagine what a pretty display they would make for Memorial Day or Independence Day celebrations. Hand wash. The stands come in small, medium and large measuring 2.75″H, 6.75″ diameter, 3″H, 9.5″ diameter and 3.5″H, 11.25″ diameter respectively. Perfect holiday gift for the baker in your life!
Polka Dotted Potholders – $14.00
Why I love it and you will too: Pot holders are a necessity in any kitchen and this Polka Dotted Potholders set, with potholder and oven mitt made of quilted sturdy cotton, immediately caught my eye at Anthropologie. I just love the vintage-inspired style with black polka dots and red trim! Potholder measures 8” square and oven mitt measures 12.5″ L, 6.5″ W. Machine wash. Such a sweet holiday gift for the baker and cook on your list!
Old Havana Salad and Dinner Plates – $12.00 – $18.00
Why I love it and you will too: You may have seen these pretty Old Havana Salad and Dinner Plates featured on food blogs as they are very popular. I have a set and just love the vintage look with the crackled mint glaze. From Anthropologie: “…these stoneware pieces seem culled from a forgotten china cabinet on Calle Obispo.” The dinner plates measure 11.5” diameter and the salad plate measures 8.75”. Made in Portugal. Dishwasher and microwave safe. Quite the stylish and impressive holiday gift for the baker or cook!
Effervesce Stemless Wine Glass – $8.00
Why I love it and you will too: When I spotted this Effervesce Stemless Wine Glass at Anthropologie last spring, I immediately scooped up a few. In fact, I paired them with another set from Anthro and even featured them with my recipe for Coconut Ginger Lime Margaritas here and here on the blog (above image by Wicked Good Kitchen). I liked the idea of stemless wine glasses as an alternative to serve Margaritas and I just love their color, curved design and hobnail bubbles! To this day, they are my favorite glasses to drink from and hold in my hand as well as serve drinks to others. Made of recycled glass, measures 4.5″ H, 4″ diameter and holds 13 oz. Hand wash. Imported. In one word, the design is fresh! Any baker or cook would love them as a holiday gift to serve their favorite cocktails in!
Retro & Vintage-Inspired Kitchen Gifts
CHEFS Retro 5-Piece Mixing Bowl Set, Multi-Color – Was: $40.00 / Now: $34.95
Why I love it and you will too: This CHEFS Retro 5-Piece Mixing Bowl Set jumped right out at me recently when I was shopping at CHEFS Catalog. I could not get over the nostalgic feeling I had for them as I grew up with Mom’s vintage Pyrex bowl set in primary colors. Needless to say, this set went right onto my Christmas wish list! With the highly collectible Pyrex vintage bowls fetching high prices and are either out of reach or difficult to find in good condition for most, these bowls are ideal. These all-purpose heavyweight bowls with deep wells provide splatter-free mixing which is so important when using a handheld mixer. Made of stoneware, the bowls include a wide range of sizes for whisking eggs, mixing and kneading dough or for blending batters while nesting for easy storage. The bowls are double-glazed for durability and are dishwasher safe. Set includes 1-cup bowl (navy blue), 2-cup bowl (red), 1 3/4-qt. bowl (light blue), 2 3/4-qt. bowl (yellow) and 5 1/4-qt. bowl (olive green). Truly, a fabulous holiday gift for the baker and cook in your life!
Toas-Tite™ Sandwich Griller – $24.95
Why I love it and you will too: Wow! When I saw this Toas-Tite™ Sandwich Griller over at Sur la Table, I thought, “Finally! They’ve brought back the original!” You’ve seen them before…those hobo pie irons used by campers. Right? Well, this is the original design that I grew up with and one need not enter into a bidding war over at eBay to win one. In fact, a couple years ago, I bought a brand new never used vintage Toas-Tite™ Sandwich Griller with red handles from Etsy—a fabulous find! I grew up with my Mom’s which was my grandmother’s. As kids, when our friends came over for lunch, invariably they were completely mesmerized by our family’s traditional “Round Grilled Cheese Sandwiches”! Now, everyone can make their own round grilled cheese sandwiches or hand pies over a campfire or even at home on the stovetop. Made of die-cast aluminum with excellent heat conductivity for crisp crusts and perfectly cooked interiors. Handles made of hardwood. Measures 4½” x 15½”. Hand wash only. Undoubtedly, the perfect holiday gift for the baker or cook!
Nostalgia Electrics Retro Single Snow Cone Maker – List Price: $39.99 Amazon Price: $23.99
Why I love it and you will too: Anyone who enjoys being in the kitchen and has fond memories of the summertime treat, Snow Cones, will enjoy this gift! From Amazon: “The Nostalgia Electrics RSM702 Retro Series Single Snow Cone Maker creates refreshing snow cones at home anytime! Use ice cubes to make shaved ice then add your choice of flavored syrup and enjoy a cold, tasty treat that’s fun for the whole family and a great relief from the summer sun. You can even make fruit slush drinks, yogurt snow and smoothies! Originally designed for kitchen use, this snow cone maker can also be used in a number of locations such as family and dorm rooms, offices and club houses.” The perfect holiday gift for the baker or cook nostalgic for snow cones!
Vintage-Inspired “Delicious Jam” Preserving Jam Jars Set of 4 – $24.95
Why I love it and you will too: Recently, I spotted this set of Vintage-Inspired “Delicious Jam” Preserving Jam Jars at Williams-Sonoma and promptly placed them on my holiday wish list. They’re just perfect to store the low sugar refrigerator jams I often make from fresh fruit like Raspberry-Strawberry Honey Jam or Strawberry Ginger Jam. These clear glass jars won’t absorb flavors or odors due to the built-in gasket providing a tight seal and the wide mouth design makes them easy to fill and serve from. Jars are intended for storing homemade refrigerator jams and preserves that do not require water-bath sterilization. Designed by a company founded in Sheffield, England in 1730. Jars measure 3″ in diameter, 4 1/4″ high and have a 4.8-fl.-oz. capacity. Hand wash. Made in the UK. This vintage-inspired 4-piece jar set would make an ideal gift for the cook or baker in your life!
W&P Design Mason Jar Shaker – $29.00
Why I love it and you will too: Southern charm and flair is what comes to mind with this Mason Jar Shaker by W&P Design. Isn’t it the coolest? So much fun for casual entertaining! When I saw this at Sur la Table, it immediately went on my holiday wish list along with a set of Mason jar shot glasses (sold separately at Sur la Table and listed below). From Sur la Table: “Perfect for shaking up a batch—or three—of mint juleps, whiskey sours or other libations, this stylish shaker pairs the venerable Mason jar with an innovative three-piece strainer lid.” I love the vintage style combined with modern functionality. Includes Mason jar and 3-piece strainer lid. Made of glass and stainless steel. Jar is dishwasher safe; hand wash lid. Measures 9″ x 4½” x 4½” with a capacity of 32 oz. Made in USA. Definitely a unique holiday gift for the baker and cook in your life who enjoys entertaining and/or mixology!
Urban Trend Mason Jar Shot Glasses, Set of 4 – $9.95
Why I love it and you will too: Just as with the vintage-style Mason Jar Shaker above (sold separately at Sur la Table), this set of Mason Jar Shot Glasses by Urban Trend speaks of Southern charm and were designed to look just like miniature Mason jars. The coolest, right? Onto the holiday wish list they went! Great for entertaining and a unique way to enjoy a favorite cocktail. Set includes 4 glasses measuring 2″ x 2.5″ with a capacity of 2.4 oz. Dishwasher safe. A unique holiday gift for the baker and cook in your life who enjoys concocting cocktails and entertaining!
Better Homes and Gardens Baking (Hardcover) – Current Price: $23.52
Why I love it and you will too: Wow! This Better Homes and Gardens Baking: More than 350 Recipes Plus Tips and Techniques cookbook caught my eye recently and I immediately added it to my Christmas wish list…hoping Santa will see it! I am an avid cookbook collector and have a large collection of killer baking books and just know that any baker would appreciate a new comprehensive book on baking such as this one. With all 5-star reviews at Amazon, this edition by Better Homes and Gardens is a must for the home baker. From Barnes & Noble: “This all-new and gorgeous edition of Better Homes and Gardens Baking (the first major all-purpose BH&G baking title published since 1998) is a compendium of irresistible cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, cobblers, pastries, and breads—from everyday sweets to special-occasion show-stoppers. It has everything you need to bake fuss-free and with delicious results for bake sales, cookie swaps, birthday parties, holiday tables, or just because you’re in the mood to bake.” In the book you will find more than 400 recipes such as Cinnamon Rolls (with 4 fun shape variations), Raspberry French Silk Pie Bars and Herbed Boule. More than 250 photos are included to clarify techniques and chapter openers feature classic recipes for teaching baking success secrets. I love that the editors included “Make-It-Mine” recipes with choices to help bakers adapt recipes to their tastes, convenience and occasion. The “Make-It-Mini” feature helps bakers scale down recipes for smaller sizes. Perfect holiday gift for the baker in your life!
The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book (Hardcover) – Current Amazon Price: $26.36
Why I love it and you will too: As soon as The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book was released (I learned about it via email from Cook’s), I just knew I had to add it to my kitchen library! I collect cookbooks, but mostly I collect baking books. I just love (read: devour) them. I have been a fan of Christopher Kimball’s and Cook’s Illustrated magazine for about two decades now. The book immediately went onto my Christmas wish list! The book offers 450 baking recipes. From Amazon: “The third book in the bestselling Cook’s Illustrated series, The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book is an authoritative baking reference and recipe collection for those who want to learn how to bake and for those who want to bring their baking skills to a higher level. Fifteen chapters cover anything you’ve ever wanted to master–from cookies, cakes, pies, and tarts, to biscuits, breads, pastry, and more.” Without a doubt, the perfect gift for the baker in your life!
Simply Sensational Cookies (Hardcover) by Nancy Baggett – Current Amazon Price: $20.47
Why I love it and you will too: When I had heard that Nancy Baggett was coming out with another cookie cookbook, I was excited. I have been a big fan of hers dating back to the early 1990s and own several of her cookbooks. In fact, a full review is coming soon to the blog as part of a tutorial series. Nancy’s book, Simply Sensational Cookies, impressed me as soon as I opened it. The front matter is packed with information and helpful tips to include a Chocolate Primer. Her attention to detail, in every aspect, is incredible. Nancy explains how to properly measure flour and other ingredients as well as how to make all-natural food coloring to tint icing for decorating cookies. From Amazon: “From bestselling cookbook author and award-winner Nancy Baggett comes Simply Sensational Cookies, a delicious collection of cookie recipes that covers both the classics that mom used to make and modern, innovative ideas for the adventurous baker. Whether you’re a novice baker, an experienced cook, or a parent looking for new treats to try, this is the ideal cookbook for cookie-lovers, with more than 200 recipes ranging from fast and simple no-bake preparations to challenging projects for experienced bakers.” Honest and truly, I highly recommend Nancy’s cookbook, Simply Sensational Cookies, as a fabulous holiday gift for bakers!
Jerusalem: A Cookbook (Hardcover) – Current Amazon Price: $21.00
Why I love it and you will too: Jerusalem: A Cookbook came highly recommended to me by another food blogger. Immediately it went onto my wish list and it found its way into my cart to order. I cannot recommend this book enough! From Amazon: “In Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi explore the vibrant cuisine of their home city—with its diverse Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. Both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year—Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This stunning cookbook offers 120 recipes from their unique cross-cultural perspective, from inventive vegetable dishes to sweet, rich desserts. With five bustling restaurants in London and two stellar cookbooks, Ottolenghi is one of the most respected chefs in the world; in Jerusalem, he and Tamimi have collaborated to produce their most personal cookbook yet.” The perfect cookbook and holiday gift for the home cook looking to expand their experiences in the kitchen and at the table. They will not be disappointed!
And, finally…two food blogger cookbooks I love and highly recommend!
The Recipe Girl Cookbook by Lori Lange – Current Amazon Price: $17.41
Why I love it and you will too: You know how well bacon and barbecue satisfies? Similar to enjoying a good Margarita? Well, that is the feeling you will get from The Recipe Girl Cookbook, by Lori Lange of RecipeGirl.com, and her recipes. I highly recommend this family-friendly cookbook because not only are kid-friendly recipes included but also recipes adults will enjoy. In addition, Lori included several recipes for special occasions and holidays with terrific entertaining tips. Plus, each recipe is coded according to special diets such as vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free. Helpful tips include ingredient substitution ideas to make recipes adaptable and safe for special diets. The book is literally brimming over with recipes (over 195 with variations!), from breakfast to dessert, with super-enticing flavor combinations that will surely shake things up, have you rebuilding your repertoire, perhaps experiencing something new and get you out of your current recipe rotation rut. Savory recipes include Epic Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Cream, Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak with Grilled Corn Salsa, Barbecue-Sauced Shrimp and Bacon with Orzo, Tomato Mascarpone Risotto and Baked Barbecued Onion Rings. Sweet recipes include Apple-Cranberry Hand Pies, Butterfinger Brownies, Chocolate Chip Butter Cake, Chocolate-Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies and Cinnamon Bun Bread Pudding. Each and every recipe is sure to satisfy! To read my full cookbook review here on the blog, click here. Truly, The Recipe Girl Cookbook would make a wonderful holiday gift for the baker and cook in your life!
Peanut Butter Comfort (Hardcover) by Averie Sunshine – Current Amazon Price: $13.84
Why I love it and you will too: Where do I even begin to share how much I admire Averie and her blog, Averie Cooks (which I remain steadfast in my opinion that her blog should be entitled Averie Bakes!) and how I love her cookbook, Peanut Butter Comfort? Not only does this girl know how to bake the most scrumptious cookies and bars as well as other irresistible treats on the planet incorporating peanut butter, she knows how to write a cookbook! Chapters are broken down logically and the headnotes are engaging. The front matter is full of tips for recipe success. From Amazon: “Chock-full of decadent cakes, cookies, and candies, Peanut Butter Comfort is a delicious departure from your mother’s PB&J. Here are recipes that showcase the rich, unmistakable flavor of peanut butter that we all love, as well as treats that highlight its subtlety and undeniable baking value. Averie Sunshine is a peanut butter aficionado; her easy-to-make recipes are imbued with her passion and creativity. Her vibrant, mouth-watering photographs bring each dish to life and will entice the casual snack-seeker and professional foodie alike.” With more than 100 comforting peanut butter recipes and 200 color photographs by Averie herself, and recipes from Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Brownie Cookies and Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse to Savory Peanut Butter Hummus, Peanut Butter Comfort is a cookbook for all bakers who enjoy ooey-gooey wicked goodness at its best. In fact, I am going to make a bold statement: Peanut Butter Comfort is indispensable! Trust me, this special cookbook would make a thoughtful holiday gift for the baker in your life!
Stylish & Personalized Aprons
The following aprons are the most stylish and fun I have found! Anthropologie and Sur la Table never disappoint when it comes to pretty vintage-inspired aprons with a modern twist. I just love them all! Any girl baker or cook would love to receive one as a gift for the holidays. And, the handsome striped aprons by Williams-Sonoma are classic for either men or women as well as the fun NFL™ aprons to wear in support of favorite teams…such a cool idea!
Fleur de Lys Vintage-Inspired Apron – $34.95
Scarlet Fondant Apron – $32
Polka Pleats Apron – $32
Fiammetta Apron – $32
Williams-Sonoma Stripe Apron – $29.95
Christmas Tree Ornaments
The following Christmas tree ornaments found at Sur la Table were the cutest and most unique I could find. Of course, there are many more to select from. This is just a sampling of six (6) fun yet varying styles—for fans of the country kitchen look to haute cuisine. Each would make a wonderful gift or stocking stuffer for the food enthusiast on your holiday gift list. I collected baking, cooking and food themed ornaments for my kitchen Christmas tree and just adore that glass Lemon Macaron ornament!
Copper Stockpot Ornament – Was: $15.00 Now: $10.46
Copper Skillet Ornament – Was: $10.00 Now: $6.96
Lemon Macaron Ornament – Was: $7.00 Now: $4.86
Colander Ornament – Was: $6.00 Now: $4.16
Vintage Whisk Ornament – Was: $6.00 Now: $4.16
Vintage Potato Masher Ornament – Was: $6.00 Now: $4.16
Fun Printed Items & Treat Boxes
These are some of the cutest treat boxes and printable labels and tags I have ever seen…either for you to package sweet treats for gift giving or for the baker or cook in your life!
Gingerbread House Treat Box by Claudine Hellmuth (Instant Download PDF Kit) – $4.99
Why I love it and you will too: Cute beyond words! Last week, I found this over at Marian’s blog, Sweetopia. The printable can be purchased over at Etsy. Etsy Description: “6 page high resolution PDF file with templates to create the Gingerbread House and cupcake tray – print and make as many as you like for your own personal use!” Makes a wonderful holiday gift when combined with several pretty gift tags and baker’s twine for the baker in your life!
Red & White Baker’s Twine (100 yards on a spool) – $8.99
Why I love it and you will too: Something all baker’s need to package and tie on pretty printed gift tags…in classic red and white made of cotton fiber. A perfect holiday gift for bakers when packaged with printed personalized tags!
Treat Box with Handle (Made in USA from 50% recycled paper) – $1.49 ea.
Why I love it and you will too: The perfect cupcake treat box! And, a wonderful holiday gift for the baker in your life when several are combined with pretty printed gift tags and baker’s twine!
Here are some fun and vintage-inspired labels and tags I found over at Etsy!
Vintage Printed Gift Tags (Group 1) from Etsy – Price: Varies by Seller
Vintage Printed Gift Tags (Group 2) from Etsy – Price: Varies by Seller
Personalized Labels from Etsy – Price: Varies by Seller
Phenomenal Gifts for Those Who Have Been Especially Good
(or perhaps may personally know Santa)!
Yep…you may have to personally know Santa for these gifts! But, a girl and guy can dream. Right?
White elfa décor Baker’s Pantry – $3744.27
Why I love it and you will too: Oh, my! When I saw this, I just knew how I would re-do our pantry. The only problem is, I need a bigger pantry! Santa, are you listening? Seriously. All one needs is an 11′ x 9′ space for this fantastic pantry solution. Truly, a baker’s dream come true!
White elfa Walk-In Pantry – $1326.86
Why I love it and you will too: OK, this pantry solution is more my speed and is officially on my Christmas wish list! The perfect walk-in pantry solution, that’s what this is! Don’t you agree? All one needs is a 6′ x 4′ space for this magnificent pantry solution. The ideal gift for the baker and cook in your life!
White elfa Reach-In Pantry – $786.10
Why I love it and you will too: Even the reach-in pantry can greatly benefit with this incredible space saving pantry solution! Just read the reviews of all the happy new pantry owners. The perfect gift for the cooking and baking enthusiast in your life!
John Boos Walnut Chopping Block Cutting Board – $ 329.95
Why I love it and you will too: The Big Lug and I just love John Boos cutting boards. (In fact, you can view a John Boos cutting board in this shot with our turkey from 2012, Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey, in Wicked Good Kitchen’s Flickr stream. The roasting pan is resting on the board.) The summer before last, we purchased several when we visited their retail shop in Effingham, Illinois. However, there was only one of these drop dead gorgeous round John Boos Walnut End Grain Construction Chopping Block cutting boards in stock at the time and it was reserved for pick up. Since then, I have been pining for this very cutting board. Isn’t she beautiful? I’m hoping Santa will come through on this stunning cutting board. Believe me when I say the photos do not do this board justice! Truly, a magnificent cutting board that any home cook or baker will treasure for many years!
And, I saved the very best for last… Check it out!
Cooking & Baking Classes at the Culinary Institute of America
Why I love it and you will too: The perfect gift for the baker and/or cook in your life with a desire to learn. Both the baking and cooking classes offer a wide range of concentrations. (Check each campus for more information.) They even offer a few holiday courses!
Non-credit weekend culinary classes on Saturdays – $250.00
From the CIA: “Whether you’re a novice or a true gourmet—cooking classes, baking classes, and special parent and teen cooking classes at the CIA will help you raise your culinary game.”
Travel the world and explore the cuisines of Italy, Spain, or Asia; liven up your weekday meals with flavorful soups, one-dish meals, or gourmet meals in minutes; or entertain with delicious brunch foods or bistro fare. You’ll learn how easy it can be!
Baking is your passion, and we have just the courses to help you explore it. From Cake Decorating to Gluten-Free Baking, there’s something for everyone in a CIA baking class!
In addition to degree programs, The Culinary Institute of America also offers the following for food enthusiasts:
CIA Boot Camp – The Ideal Food & Wine Vacation
Demonstration-style classes to sample the world-famous CIA education experience.
Wine & Beverage Explorations
Explore Wine & Beverages at the CIA
The Sophisticated Palate
Experience Napa as Only Insiders Do
Culinary Travel Programs
Explore a World of Culinary Adventure
Why I love it and you will too: Look what I found at Pinterest last week…the ultimate wish list item tailor-made by Delectable Destinations! A unique culinary travel tour to fulfill the dreamiest of dreams…definitely the perfect holiday gift for the baker or cook in your life!
- Tailor-made culinary travel vacations with all planning details secured
- Wine Tours
- Cooking Classes (in Italy, France, and other gourmet travel destinations)
- Spa Holiday Retreats
- Special occasion travel planning for honeymoons and anniversaries
- Business and corporate travel
- Guided sightseeing escapes
A Cultural and Culinary Tour of Italy’s Amalfi Coast
May 10 – 17 2014
May 17 – 24, 2014
October 4 – 11, 2014
October 11 – 18, 2014
From Delectable Destinations: “Picture a historic village perched high above the sparkling Mediterranean, surrounded by lush mountains and stony cliffs. A charming, three hundred year old country home is nestled among the trees and warm breezes carry the tantalizing aromas of sprawling citrus orchards, vineyards and flower gardens. Sounds like paradise? It is. This idyllic setting, located in the historic town of Ravello on Italy’s breathtaking Amalfi Coast, is one of the sites on Delectable Destinations’ upcoming culinary Italy food tours. During this vacation, guests will learn first-hand about the history, culture and cuisine of this beautiful region and hone their cooking skills with culinary lessons under the expert guidance of Mamma Agata, whose cooking classes rank among Italy’s top culinary schools. Mamma Agata’s cooking school is undoubtedly the most outstanding culinary course on the Amalfi Coast and Italy.”
A Cultural and Culinary Tour of Tuscany
May 25 – June 1, 2014
September 27 – October 4, 2014
From Delectable Destinations: “Tuscany offers some of the most extraordinary experiences in Italy including beautiful architecture, magnificent paintings, frescos and sculptures, and of course, fabulous food and wine. There are so many things to do in this enchanting area. Visitors who come to this region of Italy always get a special treat as they immerse themselves in the legendary landscape and discover the heaven that is the Tuscan countryside. Tuscan culinary tours prepared by Delectable Destinations offer some of the most authentic cooking classes in Tuscany, bringing together foodies from all over the world for one of the most magnificent experiences that can be found.”
A Cultural and Culinary Tour of Paris, France
September 19 – 26, 2014
From Delectable Destinations: “Imagine strolling down quaint cobblestone streets, peering through beautifully decorated windows into cozy bookstores of the Latin quarters, small fashion boutiques, warm bakeries, and inviting cafes. Next, imagine standing in the quaint, cozy kitchen of an outstanding local French chef as you indulge in some of the most amazing cooking classes in Paris. The sights, sounds, and majestic beauty of Paris will surely take you away to a new world — one full of romance, history, and picturesque culture that will make you believe you are the central figure of a Monet painting.”
Bonus Category: Favorite Gift Cards
If you are really stumped and don’t know what the baker or cook in your life needs or wants, gift cards are always the perfect solution. Here are my top favorites. You just can’t go wrong!
Amazon.com Gift Cards are available in $15, $25, $50, and $100 denominations in participating grocery, drug, and convenience stores throughout the U.S.
Available in any denomination from $25 to $2,000. Comes in paper-pulp shell and can be used either online or in stores. Anthropologie gift cards never expire or lose value and can be shipped FREE with Standard Shipping! (Gift cards can only be used in their country of origin.)
Select traditional or eGift cards. Both may be redeemed online. CHEFS gift cards have no fees or expiration dates!
Culinary Institute of America
Available in any denomination from $20 to $3,000. CIA gift cards never expire!
Sur la Table
Available in any denomination from $10 to $500 and come in several fun designs.
Williams-Sonoma Gift Cards are available in $25, $50, $75, $100, $150, $200 and $250 denominations and can be delivered FREE with Standard Shipping within 7-10 days; comes in an elegant envelope and Rush Delivery is offered for an additional $6.50 per order. Williams-Sonoma eGift Cards can be customized (by sending in your own photo), are available in any denomination between $25 and $250 and can be delivered within minutes of purchase or a future email delivery date. Both Williams-Sonoma Gift Cards and eGift Cards can be redeemed at stores, online or by phone.
Note: Prices are subject to change. All prices were accurate when published. I have no relationship with Delectable Destinations and cannot speak from experience about their culinary trips.