Baking is one of my favorite activities. I do it to show love, to relieve stress, for fun, and when I want to celebrate a special day, or a significant (or not so significant) achievement. Baking is one of my major creative outlets, and gluten-free baking certainly requires creativity!
I use a few reliable items with almost everything I bake. Whether you're setting up your gluten-free kitchen, or refreshing what you use right now, I recommend these - nothing fancy, nothing expensive, all widely available. I bought them all and have not been paid to mention any of them. I am just sharing what I use, for real. We all need a bit more "real" these days, right?
Whether I am mixing dough or folding egg whites into a batter, I love my silicon spatulas. They mix smoothly, and unlike spoons they can scrape every little bit of batter out of the bowl.
My favorite is the small purple one. I love the light weight, and the small size is perfect when I need to scrape the last bits out of my small chopper. I wish I could remember where I bought it - I would buy another, or maybe two.
For larger batches, I have two spatulas from the Pampered Chef®: one flat, medium-sized spatula for cake batters or mixing melted chocolate, and one big spatula with that I use for large batches, like large cakes. I even use it for making big bowls of my Asian-style slaw (see the recipe at the end of this blog).
Plastic Mixing Bowls
I know, plastic, right? But I love it for bowls! It's microwaveable, goes in the fridge or freezer and is dishwasher safe. Plastic bowls are light weight and clean up easily. They are great for melting butter or chocolate, then adding the rest of the ingredients and pouring the batter right into the baking form.
Always check for the microwave usage - I bought one beautiful mixing bowl with a handle and pouring lip that unfortunately can't be zapped. I was so disappointed!
My two favorites are this small 8-cup bowl from IKEA with a pouring lip, and a 12-cup Tupperware® mixing bowl with a cover. I use the cover when for refrigerating batter overnight, and it's also great for transporting big batches of cookies. And the bowl has some sort of coating on it that makes it almost completely non-stick and super-easy to clean, by hand or in the dishwasher.
I will sometimes use a glass bowl, but I find them very heavy. And I don't particularly like to use metal ones, unless they are attached to a blender or food processor. Don't really know why; I just don't.
Yes, more silicon. It's non-stick and easy to clean, and our gluten-free goodies release from it easily. And it comes in an almost endless variety of shapes and colors! I have loaf pans, muffin pans, individual muffin cups, Bundt, bar, square and round pans. I find a lot of them on Wish.com for very little money. You can also find them in specialty shops, grocery stores, Target and Walmart.
I learned to bake in the US, and still bake primarily by volume even though I live in Europe. I have a kitchen scale, but it doesn't get much use. Instead, I have old measuring cups that have travelled the world with me. I think every baker should have at least these 3 sizes: 1 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1/3 cup. Everything else is either more than one of these, or half of one. And my recipes are forgiving, so exact measuring is not essential.
An official tablespoon and teaspoon are handy, but I find that soup spoons and tea spoons in most tableware sets are good enough to replace them.
That's really all you need to make most of my delicious gluten-free goodies. I usually put my silicon bakeware on a cookie sheet before I put it in the oven to support it, but you don't have to. Sometimes I mix with a spoon instead of a spatula. It works; I just get annoyed when the batter clumps up and sticks to the spoon. Sometimes I even use non-silicon bakeware. I just grease it well and know that I'll need to put extra effort into easing out the items and cleaning the pan afterwards.
Those are my best baking friends. What are yours?
And here's a free recipe - something I make all the time and love almost as much as a brownie. Enjoy!
Marne's Asian-Style Slaw
1 small red or white cabbage
1 sweet pepper (any color)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, or 1 Tablespoon dried ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated chili pepper (optional)
Shred the vegetables in a blender or with a hand grater and toss until well-mixed. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth. Adjust the ginger, lime juice and hot pepper to your preference. Pour over the vegetables and mix it all together to coat them - that big silicon spatula works really well! Let the slaw sit for at least 1 hour. Serve cold or room temperature. This is great to take to a picnic because it doesn't need refrigeration.