These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

Warm Woolen Mittens

“…Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens…”

You know the old song! I especially look forward to warm woolen mittens this time of year. In addition to kettles, mittens, streudel and kittens (wait, scratch the kitten part, I’m a dog person), I also have oodles of favorite cookbooks and kitchen toys that I want to share with you. Every few months I enjoy highlighting some new favorites, as well as reader favorites, and do a little roundup of what’s been hot in terms of cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. I hope you’ll enjoy the lists and discover some new goodies to add to your wish list (the holidays are fast approaching)!


Favorite Cookbooks

1. Whoopie Pies : Dozens of Mix ’em, Match ’em, Eat ’em Up Recipes – This book was co-authored by a Pittsburgh native, and it’s where the S’mores Whoopie Pies came from over the summer. There are so many unique combinations in this book; you’ll never run out of something new to try!

2. The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz – If you plan on making homemade ice cream, consider this your bible. A lot of basics regarding equipment and technique, as well as an endless supply of ice cream inspiration.

3. Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan – This is Dorie’s latest book, and I just received my copy this week but have already flagged tons of recipes I want to try. After falling in love with Baking: From My Home to Yours (below) and experiencing Dorie’s fabulous desserts, I know I’ll adore all of her French recipes.

4. Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan – When you bake from this book, it’s as if Dorie is standing in the kitchen next to you, guiding you through each step. She writes beautifully and really makes you feel like she’s right there with you. I have so many favorites from this book, but I think the Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte tops them all!

5. Baking Illustrated – From the editors of Cook’s Illustrated at America’s Test Kitchens, this is one of my baking bibles. There are tons of basic recipes and with explanations, tips and illustrations, it’s a must-have (in my opinion) for anyone who loves to bake.

6. The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart – If you are interested in bread baking, I highly recommend this book. The recipes vary from simple to complex, but Peter provides excellent instructions and I have yet to make something from this book I haven’t loved. Some favorites include: Potato Rosemary Bread, Cinnamon Raisin Bagels and Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread.

7. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book – Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at home – Hello!

8. Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book – More whoopie pies! They are all the rage right now, and there’s certainly no shortage of books and recipes.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

Favorite Kitchen Tools

1. KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment – Along with The Perfect Scoop (above) these are by far my favorite things in the kitchen during the summer months. I love being able to churn up new and different flavors of homemade ice cream anytime I want.

2. Beater Blade – These are made in sizes to fit all stand mixers. It scrapes the sides of the bowl as it beats, almost eliminating the need for you to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl while mixing.

3. Wilton 4 Piece Football Cookie Cutter Set – I use the jersey cookie cutter in this set for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers cookies that I make. There is also a helmet, a pennant and a football – all perfect for fun cookies during football season!

4. Silpat Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat – You’ll notice that almost all of my recipes using a baking sheet will call for lining it with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone baking mat (Silpat). This is of course so baked goods do not stick, and also to eliminate any extra fat from greasing a pan with butter or shortening, which can cause cookies to flatten.

5. Escali Pana Volume Scale – I love this scale. It measures in ounces and grams, and converts dozens of common ingredients from volume measurements to weight measurements. As I’ve said many times, I think a kitchen scale is the best investment a baker can make.

6. Salter Electronic Scale – Another great scale, it has an 11-pound capacity! Great for weighing a lot of heavy dough.

7. Ateco 14-Piece Cake Decorating Set – This is a great starter set if you want to do any basic piping on cakes or on top of cupcakes.

8. Nonstick Donut Pan – No more Dunkin Donuts run if you have this bad boy in your kitchen!

What’s your new favorite cookbook or kitchen toy?


28 Responses to “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…”

  1. Tabitha (From Single to Married) on September 30, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I’m trying to think of the name of it… I believe it’s called Taste of Home. All I know is that it’s HUGE and got lots of great recipes! 🙂


    • Trellyn on October 4th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

      My mom gets the magazines, and I have a few of the cookbooks…. I LOVE them!!


  2. Lauren at KeepItSweet on September 30, 2010 at 7:16 am

    i have a ton of cookbooks i love, but just received The Art & Soul of Baking and it is pretty great


  3. Paula on September 30, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Good Morning, loved all the suggestions although I am only a novice in the kitchen. Don’t know about that donut maker, it could prove to be very dangerous in one’s home!!! I’d pass on going to DD tho, not a coffee drinker and think the donuts are better at practically everybody else’s donut shop. Put your blog on my RSS feed having found you through another site – am making headway through many of your older posts on cookies and brownies, yum. And thanks for all the expertise that you share, appreciate it!


  4. Amalia on September 30, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I love that cake decorating set! I’m ordering right about now! Thanks a lot, this is a great selection!



  5. Tracy on September 30, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I just ordered a couple of those doughnut pans! They should be here today; I’m so excited! 🙂


    • Michelle on October 1st, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      Oooh can’t wait to see your donuts, Tracy!


  6. Eliana on September 30, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I just ordered the new cookbook Baked Explorations. I flipped through it at the bookstore and I think it is going to become my new favorite. Some really awesome recipes inside with fun twists on the classics.


  7. Carol on September 30, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I LOVE The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz!

    I also love my Ebelskiver Filled-Pancake Pan that I got from Williams-Sonoma last year. I takes a little more effort than pancakes but the reward of those yummy little filled pancakes is worth it.


  8. notyet100 on September 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

    fav kitchen book is nigella lawsons feast and tool,..umm cookie cutters,..i just luv playing with them


  9. RavieNomNoms on September 30, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I love “The Kitchen Bible”. It is seriously the best cookbook, has so many recipes WITH pictures and also useful helpful tips on things you had no idea about. I would recommend it to anyone! My favorite cooking toy would have to be any kitchen knife, I really enjoy them. You can make all sorts of great creations with the right knife!


  10. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on September 30, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Thanks for sharing your favorite things! I just got a silicone baking mat yesterday and am looking forward to finding out if it was a worthwhile investment when I attempt macarons today.


  11. Tricia on September 30, 2010 at 11:22 am

    So far I have yet to be disappointed with anything from Pioneer Woman’s Cookbook! I have made so many things out of it since I received it last Christmas. Now I’m really wanting to get Dorie’s Baking: From My Home to Yours!


  12. penandra on September 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I love, love, love my beater blade! It was a Christmas present last year from a friend who is an avid cookie baker and I don’t know how I ever got along without it — pretty much eliminates the need to stop and scrape the bowl! Love it! Several other of your favorites are also my favorites (since my microwave is also a convection oven, I have a round silicone mat that fits the tray that came with it — this makes clean up so much easier!) The only thing I’d add is “cast iron fry pans/griddle” — I couldn’t cook (or bake) without them!


  13. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle on September 30, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    This is hard! I love cookbooks and gadgets so having a difficult time thinking about what is my favorite.

    I must admit though that I’ve found the Denver Junior League cookbooks to be some of my favorite resources. DJL has outstanding books and beyond the beautiful photography and fabulous dishes, sometimes I just like making something I know I will not have to fiddle with because of altitude. That mile does make a difference!

    Even though I am now dying to have the KitchenAid ice cream maker, I think the one tool I could not live without is their stick blender/whisk. I use it all the time, on purpose and for rescue operations.!


  14. Becky on September 30, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I love my micro plane zester and grater. It’s make zesting so easy, and we do a lot of recipes with zest


  15. Erin on September 30, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Any thoughts about a good knife or set of knives? I don’t know enough about how they’re made and what they do to know whether I need nicer ones than the TJ Maxx fancy knock-offs I have…?


    • Michelle on October 1st, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Erin, I have been using Henckels knives for about 4 years now and I absolutely love them, would highly recommend them! For me, a couple of paring knives, a 7″ santoku, an 8″ chef’s knife, a bread knife, and a 6″ utility are all great to have.


  16. Belinda @zomppa on September 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I want to be your friend. =)


  17. B on September 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    I just received the Whoopie Pie book as a wedding gift and I’ve already used it, love it! I also love the scraper paddle attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer. Such a time saver. I love your lists.


  18. Amanda L. on September 30, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    I just bought a beater blade and it’s fabulous! I also just got this squeeze bottle for decorating that I got at Crate and Barrel that it really neat!


  19. Katrina on September 30, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Aww I love the Sound of Music!! Thanks for the post! I found some new cookbooks for my list!


  20. michele on October 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Do you have any ideas of how to use the donut pan? I always thought you had to fry the donuts. WOW! If I can bake them, I”ll eat more of them!


  21. bridget {bake at 350} on October 1, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Hmm….I see a few things I need to add to my collection! 🙂

    Have you seen the book The Pastry Queen? I haven’t made anything from it, but it looks FABULOUS!!!


    • Michelle on October 1st, 2010 at 9:18 pm

      Hey Bridget! The Pastry Queen is on my wish list!


  22. Terri on October 1, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I just bought Dorie Greenspan’s Baking cookbook yesterday. Can’t believe I missed out on this FABULOUS cookbook this long. Can’t wait to start making recipes from this cookbook.

    I also love the Sound of Music (probably my favorite movie). Just read that Oprah is having the entire movie cast on her show late October – can’t wait!!!


  23. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on October 6, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Looks like we have many of the same favorite things. Though, I don’t have that fun donut pan. I need to add that to my birthday list!


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