Abby Slutsky has been baking, cooking, and entertaining for years. She loves receiving and giving hostess gifts.
Do you have a friend, family member or spouse who loves to bake? Maybe you need a hostess gift for someone who enjoys making cookies and cake? If you are not hands-on in your own kitchen and do not know a lot about kitchen tools, look no further. The ideal gift for the baker in your life is just a few paragraphs away.
This article will review six gifts that any baker will love. The recipient will appreciate the thought you put into purchasing a present that coincides with their interest. As the owner of a bakery business myself, I use all these items regularly. In fact, they are among my favorite kitchen tools.
1. Pewter Measuring Spoons
I collect measuring spoons and have several sets made out of different materials. My stainless steel set has a few scratches. If I had only one set, they would be stainless steel. However, I do not get the same pleasure out of using them that I get from a more attractive set.
I am afraid to use my ceramic set for more than display because it can chip, and fragments can fall into food. A piece of one handle snapped off my plastic set, and I also have a zinc set that has discolored. My pewter set is the oldest of my sets, yet it is still as durable and attractive as the day I received it.
The table below lists the advantages and disadvantages of measuring spoons made from different materials. For someone who wants both aesthetics and functionality out of their baking instruments, I would definitely recommend pewter.
Available in many designs, attractive
May break or chip, can be dangerous if chips fall in food
Inexpensive, many sets can go in the dishwasher on the top rack
May discolor, handles can snap off, may melt
Durable, easiest to find in more spoon sizes, dishwasher safe
May scratch, sets are smooth, without patterns
Durable, pretty patterns available
Discolors, not recommended for dishwasher
Durable, pretty patterns available
Does not tarnish, not recommended for dishwasher
My dragonfly motif pewter set includes a 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, teaspoon, and tablespoon. I have had the set for years, and it hand-washes beautifully. It is a nice weight, and the handles are comfortable to hold. I probably would not have treated myself to these measuring spoons, but since receiving them as a gift, I use them to measure ingredients all the time.
2. Narrow Jar Spatula
Recently, a friend brought me several spatulas from Sur La Table. My favorite is a narrow jar spatula. Previously, I never owned a spatula with a long, thin shape that was perfect for scooping jams, sauce, and syrups out of narrow jars.
The narrow jar spatula is made out of silicone, which can tolerate higher heat than nylon, so it is useful for stirring sauces that are cooking on the stove. The spatula has the perfect balance of rigidity and flexibility to reach jarred contents that are difficult to get out of their containers. The stainless steel handle is comfortable to hold and adds a touch of style to the construction of the spatula.
I also use this spatula to spread jams on dough when I am making certain cookies. I love having a tool that can scrape and spread without dirtying a knife. It is sturdy and washes well in the dishwasher. This spatula makes a terrific hostess gift in lieu of an inexpensive bottle of wine.
3. Vollrath Baking Sheets
Initially, you might wonder whether your baker friend or family member would like a new baking sheet or two. People who bake use their baking sheets often. Surprisingly, many do not replace their baking sheets frequently, so a quality cookie sheet can be an ideal gift.
My Vollrath cookie sheets are thicker than most others and do not bend or warp after constant use. They have a slight lip on either side, so they are easy to grasp when I pull them in and out of the oven. Their aluminum surface bakes cookies very evenly.
Once I tried them, I liked them so much that I gradually replaced all my cookie sheets with Vollrath brand. I mistakenly put one in the dishwasher and learned that they lose their shine if they are washed in a machine. However, even my lusterless, dishwashed Vollrath cookie sheet still bakes cookies uniformly.
Over time, these cookie sheets may stain a little, but overall, they have lasted longer than any of the brands I have previously used. Lining a Vollrath cookie sheet with parchment can help it retain its appearance.
4. Utopia Cotton Dish Towels
The versatility of dish towels makes them a welcome essential in any kitchen. While many people who love baking do not replace them often, fresh ones are always welcome. Since they are useful for all cooking—not just baking—your friend or family member will surely appreciate them.
I prefer Utopia Kitchen towels because they are thin enough to use as a cloth napkin but thick and absorbent enough for traditional dish drying. AdditionalIy, the slimness of these dish towels allows me to keep a lot of kitchen towels without overstuffing my drawers. I love the simple blue stripe on the white cotton background because it matches virtually any kitchen decor and looks attractive when I use it as a napkin with china.
5. Kitchen Scale
Amazingly, many people who enjoy baking do not own a kitchen scale. (Before buying one, you may want to check with someone who lives with the recipient to see if they own one.) I did not own one until I took culinary classes, but once I purchased a kitchen scale, it became indispensable.
Most people measure ingredients using cups when they bake. Unless you are baking professionally, it is likely that most recipes will ask for ingredients in cups or portions of cups. However, weighing ingredients will enhance the quality of baked goods because it will provide better accuracy than measuring the ingredients in cups. When a recipe does ask for ingredients by weight, keep in mind that some dry ingredients are heavier than others. Therefore, I primarily use a kitchen scale to weigh out dry ingredients.
Additionally, when I want uniform cookies, I weigh out dough balls. I have three kitchen scales, but the one I like best is the Mainstays Glass Digital Scale, which is available at Walmart.
It is battery-operated and can be set to weigh food in grams or ounces. It has a raised clear platform, so on the rare occasion that I place a package on the scale, I can look through the platform to see the measurement reading.
The one downside to this scale is that it can be tricky to clean the underside of the glass. To do so, I usually wrap a paper towel around a toothbrush and spray it with glass cleaner. This helps me clean hard-to-reach places under the glass platform.
6. Cutco Super Shears
I do not sell nor have I ever sold Cutco products, but I probably could. The quality, sharpness, lifetime guarantee, and ease of cleaning make their products a superb gift for someone who likes to cook or bake. (I have two pairs and use them for tasks ranging from cutting herbs into chiffonade strips for savory breads to cutting open tough shellfish exteriors. I have one set just for the latter.)
The Cutco Super Shears come apart, so it is easy to remove debris and wash them (in the dishwasher, if desired). Although I have never needed to sharpen either pair, it is possible to do so because they separate. Cutco will also sharpen them for free if the recipient sends them in.
I purchased my first pair from a Cutco (Vector) representative and received the second pair as a gift. I reach for my Cutco scissors time after time and have never been disappointed with their ability to cut through whatever I need. These are a little pricey as a hostess gift for a meal, but I have given them as a gift when I have stayed at a friend's home for an entire weekend.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Abby Slutsky
Abby Slutsky (author) from LAFAYETTE HL on August 11, 2020:
The Vollrath cookie sheets are the best I have ever owned, and I have a baking business. The quality is unbelievable, but I have never seen them in the stores. Thanks for reading.
Sp Greaney from Ireland on August 11, 2020:
I kinda want some of these items for myself now. It's a great list. Some of these brands I haven't heard of before, so I must check them out.
Danny from India on August 06, 2020:
Very amazing tools for the kitchen & good tips for budding chefs. Although I don't don a kitchen hat, sometimes I make it a point to cook recipes taken from the net.
Nice article Abby.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 06, 2020:
I have 2 sets of staialenless steel measuring spoon, a scale and the thin spatula that comes in handy. My cookie sheets are looking old and the dish towels sound great, so I guess I could add some new things to the kitchen. I don't bake like I use to, but my husband and I both do some of the cooking and baking. These items would make a good gift to a young person just starting out.
Abby Slutsky (author) from LAFAYETTE HL on August 05, 2020:
Thanks for reading.
Manuela from Portugal on August 05, 2020:
These are indeed very nice presents for a cooker.