By Josh Santos
Nothing is more rewarding during the holidays than opening up the oven to a toasty sheet of cookies decorated as snowmen or snowflakes. Whether you know a kitchen whiz or a professional baker, you can always find a few gadgets sure to be up a sweet tooth's alley. What can you wrap to put under a Christmas tree that will get a lot of mileage in the oven?
Clear ingredient containers can confuse a baker when they cannot tell the difference between salt and sugar at first blush. The problem becomes worse when you slap a label on a container that you cannot remove, so that you cannot put any different ingredients in it when it runs dry. A $40 Memo Canister lets you put anything and everything, from green tea to brown sugar, into a container without needing to change labels or play a guessing game. Simply use a piece of chalk to record the name (and, if desired, the quantity) of an ingredient then wipe it off whenever you want to replace powdered sugar with cayenne pepper.
Cupcake trees: decoration included
Everyone gets a tree for Christmas, but how often is the tree made out of something besides wood and pine needles? Those looking to invent their own holiday classic can give someone a feast for their eyes and their taste buds. The $20 Martha Stewart Collection cupcake tree balances as many as two dozen cupcakes on three tiers so that anyone with a hankering for some frosting can pluck one off the frame. It's also a good excuse to use that Kitchen-Aid mixer you got last year.
From digital ounces to pounds
Whether you need to make 120 cookies or get exact measurements for a specialty cake, precision goes a long way towards ensuring the final outcome tastes just right. Get the precise measurements for everything from orange rind to flour with a $30 Escali Primo multipurpose digital scale. With the ability to measure down to a tenth of an ounce, this scale helps the perfectionist on your shopping list to make the best possible batch of baked goodies. With nine colors it blends in with most kitchen décor.
A Mount Olympus-like gift
What do you get for the baker who has granite countertops, porcelain tea sets, real-silver silverware and gold filigree candles? Something practical and beautiful: a $40 marble pastry board with matching $25 marble dough roller. With the roller in hand, your baking friend will be sure to produce a pie crust so beautiful that you weep at the thought of actually eating it.
Josh, a cooking expert from the Southwest, has a penchant for cast iron and outdoor ovens.