10 Kitchen Gadgets for Christmas Gifts – under $25
I’m known for Buying Kitchen Gadgets for Christmas Gifts for my family. The idea is usually sparked by the fact that I want to work with the Kitchen Gadgets that I like when I’m at their homes. Or, I just come across an absolutely ‘must have’ Kitchen Gadget that makes life in the kitchen easier. And, I don’t mind spending money on kitchen gadgets that are truly valuable to me, but the good thing here is that these suggestions are under $25. And, for good measure, I threw in an additional one under $50 in case you’re extremely generous this year.
Now, this isn’t my usual kind of blog post. In this one, I’m going to be recommending items that I either use myself and absolutely love or have on my wish list for myself. So, if you’re looking for something to buy me…haha.
But, seriously, I do want to be clear that if you purchase through the links that I have listed here, it won’t cost you any additional money, but a very small portion of the purchase will come to me. And, if you do purchase through the links, I so…appreciate you ‘cause that’s what helps with all the expenses of running this blog. Please check out my full Disclosure Policy http://glutenfreefarina.com/disclosure-policy/.
And, the other reason that I’m writing this particular blog post is that every stick of furniture, including my refrigerator and stove is currently residing in my garage. You might remember that there was this Hurricane Matthew that came through Southeast Georgia (it hit other cities as well) on October 8th, 2016. Well, this is what my house looked like after that storm. You can’t even see half of the house for the trees.
So, needless to say, there was considerable damage to my house. But, the good news is that just about every darn piece of my house is being replaced one piece at a time. Well – the impact of that tree falling on my house was so intense that, besides destroying my roof and trusses and ceilings and driveway, it was hard enough to crack my slab that the house sits on, which means, since that had to be fixed, I decided to use it as an opportunity to replace all the flooring in my home. BTW, my husband is not happy about that – but I am.
But, back to fabulous Kitchen Gadgets for Christmas. And, I know I’m cutting it close to Christmas, but there’s always Amazon Prime. I just heard today that in the UK, someone placed an order on Amazon UK for popcorn and it was delivered by drone in 13 minutes. Exciting – or scary – not sure…
- “The” Microplane Zester
I’ve always said, “When I’m interviewed by that popular magazine and they ask me what my favorite tool is, my answer will be – “The” Microplane Zester. I remember a time before this thing came to the marketplace. We would use those box graters or channel knifes and our sharpest knives to get zest from citrus fruit as small as possible. But, that struggle is over now. This lovely smallware gives you the finest, most delicate shred possible. But, it doesn’t stop with citrus. I love it for all my hard cheeses and block chocolate as well. I’m sure there are other uses. Let me know if you have one. Every kitchen must absolutely have one of these. Use it when making Gluten Free Zeppole.
2. Good Quality Half Sheet Pans – aka Cookie Sheets
Half Sheet Pans – or cookie sheets – are essential for your baking success. There are a couple of critical things you need in a good half sheet pan. One is the type of metal – go with aluminum. And, you want a heavy weight pan – go with at least 18 gauge. If you purchase aluminum pans, they should be light in color. This is important. Dark pans attract heat and produce darker baked goods. You want to be in control, so light it is. I have a couple of brands that I use almost everyday. This Nordic Ware pan is a good quality pan. But, I also like Calphalon and Vollrath. And, I like my pans to have rims. They’re more versatile that way – I can make cookies, but I can also make bars and sheet cakes and jelly rolls and on and on…
And, you want to keep those pans clean, don’t you? But, it’s more than that. This fiberglass mesh and non-stick silicone mat provides even heat distribution and can withstand temperatures from -40F to 500F. You can use it anywhere you would use parchment, but I particularly like it for when I’m making toffee or caramelized nuts or anything with cooked sugar and tuiles or macarons. There are certainly other silicone mats on the market, but I’ve always used Silpat and can only speak to it’s superior quality. Worth the money. Just be sure not to cut on top of the silpat – cause it cuts right through.
4. Quilon 12″ x 16″ Sheet Parchment Paper
And, for those other occasions when you don’t need or want to use the Silpat, parchment is another absolute must have in the kitchen. I actually buy the full sheet and cut it in half, but it’s extremely important to me that I have it in individual sheets. I’ve had to use that parchment on a roll that you buy at the grocery store like foil and I cannot take the rolling up of those sheets. I go through my share of parchment in my house. Gotta have it. I’ll need to do an article on How Many Ways to Use Parchment Paper.
5. Candy/Oil Probe Thermometer
Look – if you’re going to make candy or Italian Meringue Buttercream or fry donuts or zeppole, you have to have a good candy and oil thermometer. This is the exact thermometer that I use. I love that when I’m boiling sugar, I can put in the temperature that I’m targeting and when the probe detects that temperature, the thermometer alarm goes off. I’m a multi-tasker, and I appreciate this insurance policy that I’m not going to burn every gosh darn batch of sugar.
6. Heat Resistant Spatula
This is an invaluable tool. It’s super strong and is heat resistant up to 500F. What I love is that the scraper part is flexible enough to scrape down ingredients in my mixing bowl, but strong enough to handle tough doughs like bread dough without bending and breaking. And, I can use it when working with hot sugar. And, it’s perfect for non-stick cookware as well. It comes in two sizes and I own several in both sizes: 13-1/2″ and 16-1/2″.
7. Spider Strainer
So, you have the heat resistant spatula and thermometer, so you’re ready to fry something – Red Velvet Waffle Donuts or zeppole, I hope. Well, your life will be so much easier with a spider strainer. You can easily pick up anything you’re frying in one fell swoop. This is one of those truly inexpensive gadgets that is worth so much more than you pay. They have several varieties of this strainer, but I’m partial to the brass and bamboo one. So, here you have it.
8. Dusting Wand
I don’t own this, but I want it. Imagine, you just fried up all those fabulous donuts and zeppole and now you need to dust them with powdered sugar. Hard as you try with your delicate nature and your spoon, you can’t get that fine even dusting that you’d like. This is the answer. It’s on my wish list.
9. Fine Mesh Flour Sifter
I’ll admit that I don’t sift flour for everything, but it is truly important for certain things. For sure you have to use it for macarons and sponge cake and ladyfingers. And, if you get a bag of confectioner’s sugar that’s hard as a rock or cocoa so that you don’t end up with little bb’s in your cakes/cookies. Well, some of you may prefer the flour sifter with the handle, but I went through a couple of those before I finally do what is done in bakeries. Use a round tami. It goes so much faster and I’m all about that.
9. Dough Cutter/Scraper
So, you’ve made this big mess on your counter of flour mixed with some liquid and you need an easy way to get it all up. This is it. But, that’s not all it does. It’s perfect for portioning your dough. Oh, but that’s not all it does. Use it when tempering chocolate. Oh, but… Use it to smooth the icing on the side of your cake. It’s like an extension of your hand. I like the Dexter Russell. I have several and have had them for years.
10. Offset Spatula
Offset spatulas provide you the ability to get into places where you normally can’t because the back of the blade is in the way. I like these to smooth my batters into pans and some people like these to actually ice their cakes. I like a straight spatula for that, but I do use the offset for the filling. It’s all personal preference. But, I reach for this tool on a regular basis. The set I have here is a good value with three different sizes.
And, now for my bonus for under $50
A Kitchen Scale
So, a scale is essential for making consistently good product every time. And, once you get used to it, it is so, so, so much faster. None of this measuring cup thing. It’s especially important in gluten free baking. I was going to recommend the scale I use, which I love, but I had no idea how much this thing had gone up to – it’s currently at $150 (Summit CCl Beetle Digital Scale). Even though I love it, I don’t think it’s necessary to spend that kind of money. I found this scale which tares and weighs in pounds, ounces and kg. Looks easy to clean and the price is reasonable. Be careful if you see this at a lower price, it may not contain the ac adapter. You’re going to want that so you don’t need to run on battery power.
And, there you have it, my lovelies. There are many many more gadgets I love that I’ll tell you about in the future.
Christmas is right around the corner and I wish you and yours all the Merriest of Holidays. xoxo…