If you’re like me, you just did a fair amount of cooking and baking for Thanksgiving. I just tasked myself with pies this year. I made a pumpkin pie and a triple chocolate chunk pecan pie. I think they turned out well, but the people I was with weren’t really dessert people, so I basically ate the pies myself for the next week.
To start off my tiny round up of favorite baking things: my favorite cookbook!
The Best Recipe book by the Cook’s Illustrated editors. The latest version available here. I have been using this cookbook and others in its series for at least ten years. The recipes are sometimes very elaborate, but I feel like there is no way I’ll find better recipes for these staple items. Before each recipe is a page of information about all the different versions that the test kitchen tried and how they came to their final recipe. It is my go-to cookbook, and I have tons of cookbooks. Though for pies, I have gotten pretty sucked into Ken Haedrich’s Pie cookbook. (No linking because I’m on my phone and that’s a long subtitle)
Speaking of pies… Here’s an item that seems like a bit of a gimmick but that has been a godsend. I have spent years making pie crusts that are amorphous in shape and never perfectly round. I watched cooking shows and was so envious of everyone rolling out perfect circles. Maybe I don’t let my crust warm up enough out of the fridge. But gone are the days of tearing a piece off one side and mashing it on to the other side and trying not to toughen up the dough.
Enter, the Pie Crust Maker!
At the time of this writing, one is on sale for 50 cents on Amazon! Go here !
This is basically a flat zippered bag. You put in some flour and your pie crust and zip it up. Then use your rolling pin and roll the dough out to the edges. Voila, a perfect pie crust! The 11″ size is a good one for most pie pans. I have the 14″ one as well, but haven’t used it yet. So a little silly, but so useful for me. No more pulling out my old Tuperware mat with the circle sizes on it. You can roll your dough out on any kitchen surface.
Taking a detour from pies. A handy kitchen tool for cookies is a little scoop.
It looks like the kind you use for ice cream, but is only about an inch in diameter. These are great for drop cookies. It makes it so quick to ball up cookie dough, and it really helps to keep your cookies in uniform size. You don’t have to get your hands dirty at all because of the release lever. I only have this one size, probably a heaping tablespoon. I think it’s a cheapy Farberware one from the outlet stores. This is an old trick, but it really changed how I think of making cookies. It is still a struggle to get me to make rolled and cut out cookies.
What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? I have a cookie party to go to on Saturday so I have to settle on a recipe! I’ve got a hunch they’ll be drop cookies of some kind…