It’s September and I’m publishing a Christmas gift guide post: gifts for bakers. I’m sure that feels too early for many of you, but here’s the thing: I’m a planner. Plus, I’m a pretty well-established Christmas crazy.
When you do Christmas as big as I do, you have to 1) be a planner and 2) do many of your Christmas preparation tasks early.
Usually this means I’m starting by freezing cookie dough in August, addressing Christmas cards in September, and shopping for gifts in October. This year is pretty terrible because – as I’ve said so many times this year – I’m moving “soon.” I really thought I would move in May or June so I packed up most of my baking stuff and guess what? I’m still in my old house. So basically, the baking prep isn’t happening. The cards are addressed though so now I’m moving on to shopping!
I don’t actually have any bakers on my list, so this is my opportunity to “shop” for a baker.
Without further ado, let’s move on to my recommendations!
1) Le Creuset silicone spatulas – $9-15
At some point in my late twenties I realized life was too short for cheap spatulas. If you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you’re going to think this is kind of a lame gift. A spatula? Really? But here’s the thing: these are THE BEST spatulas. They never harden like their cheaper brethren are wont to do. They don’t melt if you use them to scoop out the last bit of boiling caramel sauce. And guess who needs a good spatula in the kitchen? Everyone.
2) Silpat baking mats – $20-35
Silpat baking mats are just what they sound like: they are mats for baking. Sounds boring, right? Wrong. In addition to baking on these mats, they make the perfect surface for rolling out dough. Very few of us have all the counter space we need, and these baking mats are great for turning the kitchen table into a baking station.
3) Norpro Mini Cheesecake Pan – $18
If you’re looking for a gift for someone who entertains a lot, this is also a great choice. I’ve found that for larger parties people want to try a few mini desserts rather than a slice of something larger. For those parties, mini cheesecakes are a great option. At Christmas I usually make several varieties of these mini cheesecakes. And guess what else is great about mini cheesecakes? They freeze so well! (I can pretend that I only freeze cookie dough in August, but I totally bake all my mini cheesecakes early and freeze them)
Similarly, there are lots of specialty pans that your baker might love. Mini bundt cakes are adorable. Dessert bowl cakes are fantastic options for when you want individual desserts at a dinner party. I couldn’t make my citrus-cardamom Madeleines without a Madeleine pan.
4) Cocktail bread molds – $18
Okay, this gift is going to seem a little silly to many of you. But sometimes the best gifts are things that seem too frivolous to buy for ourselves, right? That’s what’s going on here with these bread molds. But again, if your baking friend entertains this gift is a great choice! Using these molds you get really pretty little slices of bread, just right for mini sandwiches! I love to serve mini grilled cheese sandwiches using these tiny little shaped breads. And you can never go wrong with bruschetta!
5) Kitchenaid Stand Mixer – $200-500ish
Most of these recommendations have been pretty affordable, but if you’re looking to surprise a loved one with a BIG gift you can’t go wrong with a Kitchenaid stand mixer (unless they already have one). I have a 6-quart model and I use it all the time. Because Kitchenaid has been around so long, I feel confident that these mixers will be around for a long time. This matters, because that means the attachments should be available for years to come. Which brings me to . . .
6) Stand mixer accessories – $12-40
I’m sure by “accessories” you think I’m recommending all the extra attachments that you can buy for the mixer: pasta maker, ice cream bowl, sausage grinder, etc. But that’s not what I’m recommending at all! Those items may be very useful, but they aren’t really accessories meant for baking. What is helpful is extra bowls, beaters, and whisks. If you bake a batch of cookies once in a while, you probably don’t want or need extra bowls or beaters but for many bakers there are times of the year when we’re baking round the clock. For those times, you don’t want to stop and wash bowls and beaters in between every single dough. Or maybe you’re making something like a marble cake where you’d like to be able to use the mixer for both batters. Extra bowls are such a time saver.
Important: make sure you know what model of mixer your baker has before you buy these extras. The beater for a 6-quart bowl-lift model is not going to be the same as one for a 4.5-quart tilt-head model!
7) “The good stuff:” vanilla and spices – $5-100
8) Cookie cutters – starting at $1?
Chances are, your baker already has some basic cookie cutters. So don’t buy a set of stars, circles, or flowers. Think about what your baker likes. Does she have a dog breed that is recognizable from its silhouette? (Westie, Scottie, Schnauzer, Poodle, etc) I bet there’s a cookie cutter for that! What about a set of cookie cutters in the shapes of any states she may have lived in? Or cookie cutters related to other hobbies or interests?
The more out-of-the-ordinary, the better. You can really make an impression here for a very small amount of money.
And don’t forget Etsy! There are more crafters making custom cookie cutters than you would have imagined! Bonus suggestion: there are a lot of really beautiful carved rolling pins for sale on Etsy. Check those out!
9) Cake Carrier – $20 and up
Even though I tend to host far more events than I attend, I still need to carry baked goods to parties (or just to work). Having a good cake carrier makes a huuuuge difference.
10) Parchment, Gladware, and Baker’s Joy – $2-10
So those were my top ten recommendations for bakers. Hopefully this gave you some good ideas. Of course you’re going to want to think about what your baking loved one really wants and needs. Giving a good gift isn’t just about choosing something that is well-reviewed. It’s about trying to figure out what you can find to make someone’s day just a little bit better.