Kitchen Essentials: Stand Mixer

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Welcome to my first Kitchen Essentials post! While at first glance this might look like a sponsored post, it’s not — it’s a genuine post about a piece of kitchen equipment that I use regularly. I hope this will be helpful for burgeoning cooks or those who just want to invest a little more into their kitchen tools. No one has paid me to endorse the item discussed in this post — so you know my opinions are uninfluenced.

When my husband, then boyfriend, first broached the subject, I thought he was talking about an engagement ring.

“So, uh, I’ve decided what I’m going to give you for Christmas, but I’m trying to decide if it’s more important to surprise you, or to make sure I get you exactly what you want,” he said — in the middle of the grocery store, which is important to note.

I immediately turned crimson, stammered that it was really up to him and I’m sure I’d like whatever he got me.

“There are just so many choices, though,” he continued. “This is something you’ll have for the rest of your life. I want to make sure it’s absolutely perfect.”

I stopped forming coherent sentences. This self-same boyfriend had, a few weeks earlier, casually started discussing diamond settings at Thanksgiving dinner. However, as I was sure I didn’t want to be proposed to in a grocery store, I continued to sputter.

The he looked at me, who by now was a red, blustering shambles, and bluntly said, “Kate, it’s not an engagement ring. It’s a KitchenAid stand mixer.”

Pffffffffft. That was the air going out of my balloon. I’d wait another 10 months for the ring, but the KitchenAid went a long, long way toward soothing my ego.

This gift was prompted by his having watched me struggle to mix cookie dough and bread dough for the past year and several months that we’d been living together. If you’ve ever tried to cream butter and sugar together by hand, you have a vague inkling of how this wonderful machine changed my life. I couldn’t afford one on my reporter’s salary, and KitchenAid mixers have always and forever been The Thing You Register for When You Get Married.

Don’t listen to that tradition. The KitchenAid is something to get When You Get Your First Adult Apartment. Or, even better, When You Find Yourself Regularly Making Frosting with a Hand Mixer, as I was. Moving from my hand mixer to a KitchenAid was like moving from a 30-year-old Ford Focus to a brand-new Escalade — more power, panache and style.

I went with a very simple model, the closest thing to the one my mother has owned for about 15 years. Mom’s has held up to hundreds of batches of cookies over the years and is still going strong, so I knew that was what I wanted. I chose one without the lift, though that was a personal preference, and with as few bells and whistles as possible. I don’t like features that seem like they are just one more thing that’s going to break.

The mixer has become so integral to my baking style that I hardly know what more to say about it. While I will still make things like pie crust and cornbread by hand– things that don’t need butter to be creamed, or that need a delicate touch — everything else gets thrown in the mixer. As a result, the textures of my baked goods are better, my bread and pasta dough come together easier, and I can make the most delicious frosting known to man without pulling muscles in my arms.

In short, though I got it as a gift, I certainly believe it would have been worth the investment anyway. And, when you invest in one, I highly suggest you break it in on the following recipes:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

The Best Gluten-Free Brownies

Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake
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