Required Equipment Tips

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Metal Whisks and Spatulas

You'll need at least one really good wire whisks for beating eggs or blending liquids. Choose stainless steel, and well built handles. You'll also want at least one long metal spatual for spreading frosting, and for getting the last bit of cake mix out of the mixing bowl.

Should I get a Piping Bag?

Piping Bag and Tips

Plastic-lined cloth are best - but you can make do with all-pastic bags. Use only stainless-steel tips to ensure easy, accurate piping of whipped cream or other decorative toppings - including icing for cakes and cupcakes.

Do I need an Instant Read Thermometer?

Instant Read Thermometers

In a word - you must have one! Go out and buy one if you don't already own one - it's usefulness goes way beyond just cooking with chocolate! These work by reacting instantly to changes in temperature - you just dip, read - continue. Essential.


The best Metal Pans

Aluminum conducts heat best for a crisp browned crust. The most standard size is the 9" square - if you only own one - that's the one to get. One caution, black steel or dark anodized aluminum absorb heat faster - if you use those kinds of pans - reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F to avoid overcooking your treat.

How do I pick perfect equipment for working chocolate?

Getting the best results

Making desserts using chocolate requires specialied equipment to ensure that the chocolate shows off at it's best. Essentials include an instant-read thermometer and a really good double boiler. Check out the sub-cateorgies above for more specific details on must have cooking tools for working with chocolate!

How do I pick a muffin tin?

Muffin Tins

Every baker has to have a muffin tin - so get a good sturdy one. Muffin tins come in 2 sizes - miniature (about 1.5 tbs of mix) and standard (3.5 oz) cupcakes. Whenever possible, choose nonstick tins. Dark surfaces cook faster - so lower the oven temperature by about 25 degrees F if you use these kinds of pans.

Do I need measuring spoons

Measuring Spoons

Good quality measuring spoons are essential if you are serious about cooking with chocolate. Like Measuring Cups - measuring spoons should be bought in stainless steel. Larger bowls are better - they are easier to level.


Liquid Measuring Cup

You need a liquid measuring cup - and you need to know when to use it! Yes - that's when you are measuring liquids. Since liquids and solids measure differently - if you use one kind of cup for both purposes - your results will not be as good. Pick heavy duty heat resistant glass - marked on one side in cups and ounces, the other side in millileters for European recipes. The lip and handle have to be designed to make it easy to pour - not look cute!

What kind of baking pans should I buy?

Baking Pans and Sheets

Choose good quality heavy aluminum or tinplate steel. You want pans that conduct heat well for fast, even baking with chocolate. Eventually you'll want a wide variety of sizes and shapes - but start out with a few good ones - that's a better bet than a lot of cheap pans you'll be sorry you own later!

Do I need Parchment Paper?

Parchment (or waxed) Paper

Good cooks swear by parchment paper - but if you are starting out - this item can be replaced by more readily available waxed paper. However - consider getting a box if you see one for sale. parchment paper is very handy to have if you are planing on doing a lot of baking.

Do I need a set of Dry Measuring Cups?

Dry Measuring Cups

These are best in stainless steel - and come in a set of graduated sizes (from 1/4 cup to 2 cups). Straight rims allow ingredients to be leveled in the cup for accuracy. Plastic measuring cups are cheaper - but they are also less accurate - and less sturdy. That said - plastic will work - and if you must economize - this is one place you can do it!


Double Boilers

You are going to be using this over and over again - invest in a good one! Generally a glass double boiler consists of a stacked set of two pans - the lower one holds simmering water - and the smaller top pan gently heats the chocolate (or other heat sensitive foods)

Should I have a Rolling Pin?

Rolling Pin with Handles

Get a rolling pin with ball bearing handles for smooth rolling. You'll also need to have a hardwood or even better - marble - surface at least 12" long to doing your rolling on. Never wash either the pin or the hardwood pastry board - you don't want them to wrap. Just wipe them clean with a dry cloth.

What other pans should I purchase?

Other required pans

A traditional round cake pan (either or both 8 and 9 inch sizes) is an essential. Choose good quality, seamless, heav metal pans. Remember - dark steel pans means adjusting down the oven temperature. Less usefull, but handy to have is a springform pan. These pans open on the sides to release the finished cake. Very handy to have if the cake is delicate and might stick to the pan.

Do I need a Sifter?


Your grandmother swore by hers - but that was in the days of unsifted flour. Today, most flours are so uniformly ground - you don't need to sift for the same reason your grandmother did - you need only sift to combine white ingredients like flour, baking powder, etc. Still, a sifter is nice to have! One use is to sift icing sugar on top of warm desserts - it's a fast way to get a lovely decoration. Professional kitchens will often combine a sifter with a paper mask with their logo cut out. The result is a unique design on the finished cake.

Do I need Wire Cooling Racks?

Wire Cooling Racks

An essential that you won't appreciate until you have some - and then you will want more. Cooling racks allow air to circulate under baked cakes, pies, and cookies for quick , even cooling. Get as large and as many as you can afford.

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Joe Wallace