This is a list of just a few kitchen tools I wouldn’t want to be without and/or that I think make great gifts. Some are little stocking stuffers or perfect for Secret Santas, and others are for a more special (read: expensive) gift.
This is the gift that gives twice. I hope every single one of you will stick it in at least one person’s stocking, give it as a Secret Santa gift, or pair it with cookie sheet pan for the baker in your life. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the OXO Good Cookie Spatula go to pediatric cancer research, through the organization Cookies for Kids Cancer, a non-profit group dedicated to raising funds for pediatric cancer research. I have a deep personal involvement with this group (I was involved from the inception) and can tell you they will truly help save kids lives. Buy a spatula, which everyone can use, and Be a Good Cookie
This is one of the most expensive thermometers out there– and it is worth every penny. It is instant and accurate– which buys the cook confidence and piece of mind. And isn’t that priceless?
On the other end of the price spectrum is the microplane. We use ours nearly daily to grate lemon zest. When you grate lemon zest, by the way, don’t just grate the amount you need– zest the whole fruit and stick the extra in the freezer in 1-teaspoon portions. (Place it on little squares of plastic wrap, pull up the corners like a beggar’s purse and secure with a twist-tie.) A microplane is also ideal for grating cheese, nutmeg and shaving chocolate. And it is dishwasher safe.
More and more recipes are calling for weights instead of cup measures because it is more accurate. (This is especially true for baking). But there are also a million other reasons to have a kitchen scale, like when a recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes or 8 ounces of grated cheese. I like that this scale lies flat in my drawer.
This is the tool you use to get perfectly even, thin slices of potatoes, carrots, peppers, onions and lots of other stuff. If you want to get really fancy, you can even make gaufrettes, the waffle-cut potato chips. But mostly, you can use it to make piles of caramelized onion , which is as crucial to cooking as bacon and butter.
This inexpensive gadget not only fits nicely in a stocking, it comes in handy for all kinds of tasks when you just don’t feel like pulling out the food processor. Stick it in a pot of cooked carrots or squash to make soup, puree some of those black beans to thicken the filling for enchiladas, or most famously, make baby food. My babies are grown, but I still love my immersion blender.