Avid bakers know that their most important tools are patience and an attention for detail. The items below, however, simplify the baking process and will quickly become indispensable.
1. Small ice cream/cookie scoops: Doling out equal amounts of dough is the secret to evenly sized cookies.
2. Rimmed baking sheets: The difference between a standard rimmed baking sheet and a cookie sheet is that the latter is rimless so that cookies easily slide onto a cooling rack. The advantages, for the most part, end there, as a rimmed baking sheet can be used to make layer cakes, brownies and bars. A rimmed baking sheet can also serve as a catchall when placed underneath a baking juicy fruit pie or as a tray to transport ingredients from a pantry to a work surface.
3. Silicone spatula: Scraping down the sides of a bowl or incorporating the flour clumped at the bottom is a cinch with a spatula, but the silicone version also withstands heat and is nonstick, which comes in handy when making caramel or toasting nuts in a nonstick pan.
4. Silicone nonstick baking mat: This easy-to-clean and reusable baking mat eliminates the need for parchment, foil or greased surfaces when using a baking sheet, which also means doing away with the hassle of tearing parchment or foil to size.
5. Bench scraper: Lifting dough off a work surface is a piece of cake thanks to the thin blade and wide surface area of this scraping tool. It’s also handy for scooping and transferring chopped items like nuts or chocolate, scraping up stuck bits and cutting up tacky textures such as dough or fudge.
Courtesy Teri Tsang Barrett on foodnetwork.com.