Serious Eats Gift Guide: For the Baker

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I don’t have solid research data to back me up on this, but I’ve always thought that when the holidays roll around even people who haven’t seen the inside of their ovens all year pull down the flour bin and bake. It’s part of what makes the holidays so jolly—and so surprising.

If you’re looking to surprise a baker on your list, here are a few gift suggestions. This isn’t a complete build-your-baking-batterie-de-cuisine list; it’s not just for beginners; and it’s not in any special order. Mostly it’s a sampling of some things I really like and think you and yours might like, too.

Because Raphael has already posted a great list of basics, I’m not going to repeat the wonderful KitchenAid stand mixer, the Cuisinart food processor, which is so good for making pie and tart doughs, or the nifty Silpat silicone baking mats, which I never want to live without—all of my baking sheets are stored with Silpats on them, so I’m always ready for the next batch of cookies. But any of these would be terrific to give or to get.

So, here’s my list of stuff to make the holidays sweeter. (Prices do not include shipping unless otherwise noted.)

A Powerful Handheld Mixer

KitchenAid 7-Speed Ultra Power Plus Hand Mixer, $70

A Fanciful Nonstick Bundt Pan

Cast Aluminum Chrysanthemum Bundt, $30

A Digital Kitchen Scale

Salter 11-Pound Stainless-Steel Digital Kitchen Scale, $45

A Good French Rolling Pin, The Kind Without Handles

Vic Firth Rolling Pin, $12.95

A Rolling Pin for Bread and Other Doughs That Need to Be Pushed Around

$40, from Cooking.com

A Piecrust Bag

$6, from King Arthur Flour

Tart Pans with Removable Bottoms and Fluted Sides

9 1/2-inch pan, $16; 11-inch pan, $28

An Offset Spatula—Or Three

Ateco Medium-Size Offset Spatula, $10

Pure Vanilla Extract

It must be pure (imitation vanilla will ruin whatever you’re making) and the fragrance must make you dizzy. I continue to be a fan of Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract, but I’ve recently fallen hard for this mix of Tahitian and Bourbon vanilla extracts with vanilla-bean pulp. It’s a fabulous blend. $19 each

Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate

$66 for a 3-kilogram bag