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For the Baker

Cool Tools to make baking easier, better and more fun!

Items 1 to 20 of 29 total

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  1. Charles Viancin Double Boiler Insert

    Charles Viancin Double Boiler Insert

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    $9.99

    Why It's Cool: Easy to store, easy to empty, can be used in microwave, oven or on stovetop

    There are certain times when you really need a double boiler--any time when what you’re cooking is too delicate for direct heat. Melting chocolate or butter are only two examples; my super easy zabaglione from my single days (for each person use 1 egg yolk, ½ egg shell full of sugar, and ½ egg shell full of marsala, and whisk for a long time--until doubled in volume--in a double boiler over simmering water; serve over fresh strawberries) is another.

    The function of a double boiler is necessary in any well-equipped kitchen, but the downsides are that it takes up a lot of space, it can be used only on a cooktop and the shape usually makes it difficult to get all of whatever you’re cooking in it, out of it … even with the best spatula skills. Well, not anymore….

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  2. Cuisipro Deluxe Pastry Blender

    Cuisipro Deluxe Pastry Blender

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    $17.99

    Why It's Cool: Easily blends ingredients with different textures (a must for deviled eggs)

    The challenge of mixing ingredients with different textures can be approached several ways: ranging from basic flatware - 2 forks, or 2 dinner knives - to your food processor. Each of these has its pros and cons, enabling you to spend more or less time, with more or less precision … or you can choose a middle road: the pastry blender, giving more leverage to the physical process, and more control to the final product, of cutting in your butter, shortening or lard … assuring that you can achieve the dough you want: flaky pastry, or a crumb crust, without overworking the dough. And this is not just for pastry, but for any recipe that requires cutting or blending ingredients with different textures (think deviled eggs or guacamole).

    The issues with pastry blenders are mostly about comfort - does your hand get tired using it? - but also about effectiveness - how well and how quickly does it cut the ingredients together? We’ve tried a bunch of pastry blenders and the Deluxe Pastry Blender from Cuisipro answers these questions extremely well!

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  3. Evo Oil or Vinegar Sprayer

    Evo Oil or Vinegar Sprayer

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    $19.99

    Why It's Cool: Sprays a fine fan-shaped mist of oil or vinegar without propellants or pumping

    How do you get just the right amount of olive oil on...everything? Olive oil is one of those tough things to spray because it can clog ordinary sprayers. And cookware manufacturers warn against using aerosols on cookware because the propellants are flammable and can leave an almost permanent film on the surface (and if does that to cookware, what is it doing to your stomach?)

    But the idea of spraying a thin film of oil is very appealing, because it cuts down the amount of fat in your diet while providing great even coverage. So there are two basic types of sprayers, and we like them both. One is the Ad Hoc Tutto, which is a beautiful pump-style sprayer. But sometimes you want more coverage than the pump sprayer will give you without an arm workout. In that case you want the award winning Evo Trigger Sprayer, designed by Michael Graves and winner of the 2014 International Housewares Association Innovation Award.

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  4. Fox Run Brands Swift Sift

    Fox Run Brands Swift Sift

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    $16.90

    Why It's Cool: Fast, efficient, and very tidy; compact and so well designed that it beats other sifters hands down

    So we don’t bake that often, but when we do, we want it to be easy, neat and with great results! One of the processes that is often called for in baking recipes is to “sift the dry ingredients”. And you may have wondered, as I did, what is it, and why do you need to do it?

    The “what” is simply passing your dry ingredients through a fine sieve, often with the help of a paddle or other pusher to make it go through faster and more thoroughly. The “why” is a little more complex and interesting. Originally, one of the reasons for sifting was to remove foreign matter: husks, bugs, stones, etc. Most flour today is very clean, so this isn’t much of an issue, but there are some other very important reasons for doing it. First, when you sift dry ingredients, you aerate them, which makes them easier to mix with your wet ingredients (think way fewer lumps to have to press out!) The other advantage of sifting is that it mixes your dry ingredients better, before you combine them with the wet ingredients. This means your flavors are more evenly distributed.

    OK, so now we have the “what” and “why”; let’s talk about the “how”. Most sifters we’ve used have been reasonably efficient, but often messy, spreading the flour or other dry ingredients over a wide space. That’s mostly because once the dry ingredients are sifted, they are pretty light, and it’s darn hard to keep them contained. But one of our favorite vendors, Fox Run Brands, thought of a better way…

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  5. fusionbrands CitrusZipper

    fusionbrands CitrusZipper

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    $5.95

    Why It's Cool: Everything you can do with a citrus (except juice it) in one compact Cool Tool!

    IOHO (In Our Humble Opinion) nothing brings a dish alive better than a touch of citrus: either from juice, or zest, or, very often both. And almost every cocktail (from a martini, to an old fashioned, to a cosmopolitan) benefits from a little citrus. That’s why we are always on the look-out for great citrus tools that make adding citrus that much easier. And we’ve found one that is compact (only a little larger than a stick of gum), effective (we were wowed by how it accomplished each of its tasks), and very reasonably priced!

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  6. fusionbrands ServeItUp

    fusionbrands ServeItUp (Serving Pedestal)

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    $19.99

    Why It's Cool: Creates an elegant elevated server without the storage problems

    One of the key elements to creating a beautiful table is the subtle use of height--it adds a dimension (both literally and figuratively) to the look of your table. But as elegant as footed plates may be, you know that storing them is a nightmare. And then if you want to change the look, you have to buy another footed plate...and where do you put that?

    Well, the folks at fusionbrands have come up with an incredibly clever solution…

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  7. Joseph Joseph Duo Bake

    Joseph Joseph Duo Bake

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    $14.99

    Why It's Cool: Two handy well-designed tools magnetically held together for easy storage and use

    There are some tools in your “batterie de cuisine” (French for “collection of cooking tools”...who says this site is not educational :-)) that you just take for granted. A bowl scraper is one of those. It’s not sexy, it’s not particularly innovative, but it’s incredibly useful. There is no better way to get every last drop out of a mixing bowl than with a bowl scraper: it hugs the shape of the bowl and really scrapes it clean, it also helps mix the ingredients in the bowl really thoroughly...neither a spoon nor a spatula does the job as well.

    So what makes a humble bowl scraper into a Cool Tool? At a minimum it has to have a good shape that mimics the shape of your bowl. Then it should be flexible enough to scrape out your bowl: feeling like you’re rubbing fingernails on a blackboard, but not so flexible that it can’t get the mixture out of your bowl. And finally, it should be comfortable to hold. But sometimes there’s even more…

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  8. Kitchen Grips Chef's Gloves (Pair)

    Kitchen Grips Chef's Gloves (Pair)

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    $29.99

    Why It's Cool: The protective, comfortable, flexible oven gloves that almost feel like you're not wearing gloves at all!

    I’m a little protective in the kitchen: of my space, of my clothing (although not as much as Kennedy sometimes thinks I should be), but most of all, of my hands. While burns in a professional kitchen are supposed to be a rite of passage (according to Anthony Bourdain), burns certainly don’t have to happen in a home kitchen. So that brings us to the various choices for protecting your hands while grabbing hot pots and pans.

    While there are many choices of form factors (potholders, fingertip grabbers, mitts, and gloves) in many fabrics (quilted cotton, asbestos, silicone, neoprene), I’ve always been a glove kinda gal. I love leather gloves when it’s cold, and I love oven gloves when I’m putting my hands into a very hot oven, or grabbing a hot pot. Gloves give me a sense of security to know that the back of my hand is protected, as well as my finger tips.

    And when it comes to oven gloves, we have a few other requirements, in addition to the basic (and crucial) #1: hand protection …

    • Flexibility: you need to be able to pick up dishes from the counter or oven rack without dropping them; as if they weren’t sizzling hot and your hand wasn’t encased in a glove
    • Comfort: you don’t want sweaty hands inside your gloves that will make you hate to wear them; and
    • Cleanliness: let’s face it, we will spill or slosh something on our gloves: it’s inevitable; so the key is - how easy are they to get clean again?
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  9. Kuchenprofi Decorating Spoons

    Kuchenprofi Decorating Spoons

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    $29.95

    Why It's Cool: Easy way to make your dishes look spectacular

    Have you ever had food porn envy? I have always wanted my food to look like it came out of the kitchen of a fine restaurant, but I thought it was waaay above my skill level. Well, now beautiful food plating that elevates your offering from good food to spectacular dish is easier than you think. We found this long, but charmingly informative video on YouTube that shows you how easy it is (with the help of a Cool Tool) to make any dish look fabulous!

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  10. Kuchenprofi Ravioli and Dumpling Makers

    Kuchenprofi Ravioli and Dumpling Makers

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    $19.99

    Why It's Cool: Makes it easy to make and seal ravioli, empanadas, hand pies, etc.

    We were making a big deal dinner last weekend, and one of the highlight dishes was ravioli stuffed with a mixture of foie gras, chestnut puree and brandy, served with crispy duck confit and chives in a concentrated infused broth. We were very pleased with the way it turned out. But we were even more pleased with how easy it was to make.

    I love making ravioli as a special first course because the impressiveness to work ratio is great (very impressive, for not that much work), and we posted a Cool Tip about using wonton skins as the pasta. But this time the ravioli were even easier...and we’ll tell you how...

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  11. Tweezer Tongs by Kuchenprofi

    Kuchenprofi Tweezer Tongs

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    $11.99

    Why It's Cool: For precision cooking and plating with style

    We’ve all learned the benefits of cooking with tongs: lifting instead of scraping, not piercing the seared surface of your food, and better control, both in and coming out of the pan, or on and off the grill.

    But sometimes standard tongs are too much for the task: metal tongs will scrape your nonstick surface (but you can get silicone-tipped tongs to solve that problem) and the business end of standard tongs sometimes can be too large for detailed tasks, like turning bacon evenly in a pan or on a rack, ensuring even cooking and distribution of solids in a pot of broth-intensive soup, or plating your food to show some style.

    It’s in situations like these that you need Fine Tongs - aka Kitchen Tweezers. And the more we work with these fine tongs, the more uses we find for them, and wonder how we ever got along without them for so long.

    We tested a number of these tweezer tongs, with - surprisingly - widely differing results. All were about the same length and weight, but they differed in the width of the “open” position and in several factors relating to ease of operation, especially the size of the grip point and the flexibility or “springiness” of the tool.

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  12. Lékué Silicone and Ceramic Duo Spring Form 6" Pan

    Lékué Silicone and Ceramic Duo Spring Form 6" Pan

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    $26.99

    Why It's Cool: Even cooking, easy clean-up, ready to serve, more compact storage.

    What I love about a springform pan is that it hugs your batter until it becomes a cake, and then, without regret, it lets it go. OK, maybe that’s too much personification for a baking tool, but it really is the easiest thing to bake a cake in, whether it’s a cheesecake, a tort, or my new favorite, an almond cake (here's the recipe--you’ll love it!).

    What’s so very special about the Lékué 6”/15cm Springform Pan is… well, just about everything ….

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  13. Lékué Silicone and Ceramic Spring Form 9" Pan

    Lékué Silicone and Ceramic Spring Form 9" Pan

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    $30.00

    Why It's Cool: Even cooking, easy clean-up, ready to serve, more compact storage.

    What I love about a springform pan is that it hugs your batter until it becomes a cake, and then, without regret, it lets it go. OK, maybe that’s too much personification for a baking tool, but it really is the easiest thing to bake a cake in, whether it’s a cheesecake, a tort, or my new favorite, an almond cake (here's the recipe--you’ll love it!).

    What’s so very special about the Lékué 9”/23cm Springform Pan is… well, just about everything ….

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  14. Lékué Sticks Pan

    Lékué Sticks Pan

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    $19.99

    Why It's Cool: Makes delicious sweet or savory bread sticks in the microwave in minutes

    I’m addicted! Silly as it sounds, I’m head over heels about these little bread sticks that you make in the microwave. We, of course, use lots of cheese in ours, but you don’t have to. I wouldn’t call them health food, but as snacks go, these have no preservatives, and you know exactly what goes into them. They’re wonderfully crunchy, they taste great...and they’re easy to make: just watch the video.

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  15. Mastrad Mesh Infuser

    Mastrad Mesh Infuser

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    $5.99

    Why It's Cool: Loose tea infuser ...or powdered sugar sifter … small and very efficient multi-tasker!

    Riddle:  When is a tea infuser way, way more than a tea infuser? When it comes from the clever folks at Mastrad!

    First, it is a great tea infuser: opens wide to pick up your tea, closes firmly so no tea escapes while you’re seeping, and then, because it has a soft silicone side, when you remove it from your tea cup, you can push on the silicone side and extract the last drop of flavor (rather than shaking your infuser over your cup and making a mess--at least I used to!)

    Second, it’s also a great herb infuser that you can use to swish through your soups and stews and then remove cleanly, once again wringing out the last bit of flavor by pressing on the silicone side.

    But third, and this may be the most unique application, it’s a great ground spice, powdered sugar or cocoa dispenser! If you’ve ever had to sprinkle any of these evenly over the surface of a food or drink, you know it often can be a challenge. I used to use a small strainer, but while I was filling it, a lot of the contents would leak out in one spot. With this handy Cool Tool, just fill it with the silicone side down, let it close, then flip it over and shake it gently over your food. Presto: even distribution, with no more clumps!

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  16. Mastrad Silicone Basting Brush

    Mastrad Silicone Brush

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    $9.99

    Why It's Cool: Easy clean-up in the dishwasher--can be used in a hot pan--doesn't leave stray bristles behind.

    A silicone brush is something we can’t do without--we use it to spread oil in a pan so that we use less, to spread melted butter on a hot griddle to make blinis or pancakes (because it’s silicone, the bristles don’t melt on a hot surface), to spread sauce or marinade on meat or fish before we cook it.  In short, it’s an indispensable Tool for any kitchen. And we love this model from Mastrad.

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  17. Norpro Mini Popover Pan

    Norpro Mini Popover Pan

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    $26.99

    Why It's Cool: Make popovers for a crowd--12 at once with great non-stick properties!

    OK, I admit it, I’m late to the party--the “popover party”! I didn’t discover the wonder of popovers until relatively recently when a local Napa Valley restaurant featured them freshly made every half hour--you ordered them and waited (note: you should always wait for popovers, not the other way around!), and they would arrive hot, buttery, crispy on the outside and almost custardy tender on the inside. But the idea of tackling these myself never occurred to me… until recently.

    We have a potluck women's luncheon group, and this month had a gluten-free theme. Without remembering the theme, I volunteered to make homemade bread and butter...I have a killer bread recipe, and homemade butter is so much fun with the Butter Maker. Then it hit me that this had to be gluten-free. "Oh, fudge (polite version)", I cried, "what do I do now?" Well, thank goodness for the Internet! After rummaging around for awhile, I found a great starter recipe, added a few touches of my own, and, Voila! Gluten-Free Lemon Parmesan Popovers. And everybody at the lunch loved them!

    What I did learn in this process is that the key to a great popover is a great popover pan. You need the depth and straight sides of the cups, you need metal to transmit the heat for browning, and you need nonstick so you’re not trying to dig out these delicate airy treats while they deflate before your eyes. And, as far as I’m concerned, you have to be able to produce a sufficient quantity to serve them to company, and the popovers have to be the right size so you don’t overwhelm the rest of the meal.

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  18. Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat

    Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat

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    $11.99

    Why It's Cool: Sticks to the counter but releases your food

    The “baking season” is upon us: cookies, pies, and everything in between …. And one of the most difficult parts of making a pie has been getting the crust “right” - right thickness, right size. We’ve covered the options for thickness, with two styles of rolling pins. But the benefits of all that technique will be lost, if you don’t get the right size, or if you can’t get the rolled-out crust from the rolling surface to the pie pan. Yes - we have a solution!

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  19. Nuance Basting Brush

    Nuance Basting Brush

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    Regular Price: $19.95

    Special Price: $10.00

    Why It's Cool: Silicone bristles can handle any heat up to 572°F, handle is ergonomatically shaped, and it's beautiful!

    Remember back awhile ago we promised that we would have a silicone basting brush on the site? Well we’ve been looking around and testing various brushes for both great appearance and great functionality, and trying to find good value as well. Now, do we have a deal for you...

    A silicone brush is something we can’t do without--we use it to spread oil in a pan so that we use less, to spread melted butter on a hot griddle to make blinis or pancakes (because it’s silicone, the bristles don’t melt on a hot surface), or to spread sauce or marinade on meat or fish before we cook it.  In short, it’s an indispensible Cool Tool for any kitchen.

    One of our favorite manufacturers, the Danish company Nuance (think the Wine Finer and the beautiful Mortar and Pestle), offered us a deal, so we were able to pick up these brushes at a very good price--and we’re passing that on to you. But quantities are limited, so don’t wait!

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  20. OXO SteeL Apple Divider

    OXO Steel Apple Divider

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    $14.99

    Why It's Cool: Easily and comfortably cores and cuts an apple or pear into perfect wedges

    You know the old saying: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, everyone is telling us to eat more fruits and vegetables, and the apple, and its cousin the pear, are loaded with nutritional and disease-fighting benefits at a modest calorie intake. And they taste great! Very often, we’ll share an apple or pear for dessert and feel both virtuous and well-satisfied.

    So once you’ve established that there are very good reasons to eat apples and pears (and in this case, studies show that raw is better than cooked), then the next question is: how do you do that easily, conveniently and with style. For us, then answer is an apple cutter--one of those round things with blades radiating out from a center hole, so that, when it works properly, it easily cuts out the core and cuts your apple or pear into several even wedges. This is also great for preparing a healthy snack for kids.

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