Over the years I've collected a lot of cooking tools, some more useful than others. Certain tools remain in their drawer while others are brought out on an almost-daily basis. In fact, there are 5 tools I am so fond of that I hate when I have to bake in someone else's kitchen without them. Could it be irrational attachment? Perhaps. Or maybe it's because they make the process easier, are more efficient, and are nice looking to boot.
Nobody is sponsoring this post and none of these items were provided to me, I just thought more people would find these items useful too. So here, in no particular order, are the 5 kitchen tools I cannot be without.
(Photo Credit: Lee Valley Tools Catalog)
1. Lifetime Measure Cups ( Lee Valley Tools)
These aren't just any measuring cups! They're durable stainless steel with both metric and imperial amounts stamped on them which means it won't rub off like a plastic or painted measurement. There's a lip on each side for pouring as well as gradation markings of smaller measurements so your cups can do double or triple duty. I find it easier to level ingredients in them than other cup sets where a rim or handle gets in the way
They've survived five years in which I've thrown them in the dishwasher, packed and moved multiple times, dropped and left them on hot stoves, and they're still looking as good as new.
2.OXO Food Scale (Amazon):
Unlike the measuring cups, I haven't tested out a wide variety of kitchen scales.. only two or three. However, after using this one I don't feel compelled to branch out and try any others. The weight is easy to read and can be displayed in pounds or ounces. The display can extend which allows you to place large bowls or trays on the scale and still read the number. It's easy to clean and the battery seems to last forever.
Baking by weight instead of volume (aka cup measurements) gives much better, more consistent results. I started using a scale for bread baking, but now I try to use it whenever possible. It also allows me to be really anal while cooking and weigh the meat and vegetables so that I can follow the recipe as precisely as possible. Mmm tasty, tasty precision.
(Photo credit: Mamamade)
3. Tree Saver Towels (by Mamamade on Etsy):
These absorbent terry cloth towels snap together so they can be stored on a paper towel roll and grabbed at any time. I bought them years ago, and initally was a little worred they wouldn't actually be a good replacement for paper towels. I decided to go for it anyways and I'm so glad that I did, they have gotten a TON of use. In fact, they're more useful than paper towels ever were.
I use them for washing dishes, cleaning counters, mopping up spills, placing hot dishes on, etc. It's easy to use them and then toss into the laundry pile when they get dirty. I often wash them all at once then snap them back into a roll to use again. I find that they don't get all grungy like a lot of tea towels do, plus they're more absorbent.
There's a bunch of cute fabric designs to choose from, the one in the photo is the one in my kitchen.
4: OXO Good Grips Bench Scraper (Amazon):
Before I bought a bench scraper I had no idea they were SO useful. You can scrape up flour, dough, crumbs, sticky messes from honey or sugar which saves having to wipe it over and over with a rag or sponge. It also cuts and divides dough beautifully and has a useful little ruler etched onto the bottom which makes it easy to create even cuts.
Occasionally I'll even use it for smoothing cakes by first chilling the icing until it's firm, and then scraping it smooth after running the bench scraper under warm water. The metal blade holds up better than the plastic ones on the market, and the grippy handle makes it obviously superior.
While writing this post I noticed that this bench scraper listed as a #1 best seller in baking and pastry on Amazon, so it's not all in my head.
(Photo Credit: Amazon.com)
5: Small Whisk (Various Stores)
I'm pretty sure I initially bought this whisk solely because I thought it was cute, but quickly learned that it is infinitely more useful than the full sized whisk. In fact, I probably used the full sized whisk a few times a year, and use the smaller whisk on a daily basis. I refer to it as the baby whisk and since I use it so often my boyfriend repeatedly hears "where's the baby whisk? I need it! Have you... oh here it is in the sink. Never mind!"
It's the perfect size for whisking sauces, custards, caramels, and glazes in pots. I use it for salad dressings, marinades, and eggs in bowls. It's easier to work with than the standard size whisks and easier to clean. I sometimes put it in the dishwasher.. but probably shouldn't. I've linked to the exact one I have, but I doubt that it's usefulness is brand specific. If you see a baby whisk next time you're browsing a kitchen store.. buy it!
If anyone has favorite kitchen tools of their own, share it with me in the comments! I'd love to add to my collection.