The stand mixer. One of the greatest kitchen inventions since the modern oven (in my humble opinion). It’s also one of the pricier items for your kitchen (at least $300 retail, so look for it on sale) and a true prize should you get one. Last year I started saving my pennies and put it on my ultimate wish list. I have a hand mixer, and while it does the job better than a wooden spoon like our grandmothers would use, it’s just not the same, especially if you do the amount of baking I do. My birthday last year landed on the night of the Oscars so I decided to throw an Oscar-Birthday party and my dad came down and cooked all the party food and made my favorite-a chocolate cheesecake. He brought his Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer (not the exact one, but the current model closest to it) to help. What I didn’t know until the morning of my birthday was that he was leaving it for me! He had bought himself a new one at a post-Christmas sale and knew that I wanted one for my kitchen. Best dad ever!
I do believe this stand mixer is older than me (you can see the not so perfect metal and the encrusted dough from years of use) but it’s still in tip-top shape. About five years ago my dad did have to buy a new beater and because it’s made for the newer models (and bowls) it’s about 1/8″ shy of the bottom of the bowl. So when I use it I have to remember to lift the bowl for part of the mixing so it gets everything. It also weighs a ton, which is something that hasn’t changed from the specs online (listed at 30 lbs, OK not a ton, but definitely use two hands to move it). You can get them in multiple colors, in 4.5, 5 or 7 qt bowl sizes (stainless steel or glass), a lift mechanism for the bowl or the head will tilt back (the tilt back is new within the last five years or so) and with so many attachments you’ll need a whole drawer to store them. Most of the mixers come with the three basic accessories: a flat beater, a dough hook and a wire whip. The flat beater is the most commonly used and now they make one with a spatula on one edge so nothing is left on the side of your bowl.
You can also purchase numerous attachments to do more with your mixer. On the front of the mixer head is a metal cap that says “Kitchen Aid”. You unscrew it and the attachments go there. Hidden in plain sight. They have one to make pasta, sausage, ice cream, ravioli, citrus juicer, a pouring shield (which I have!) and various other mixers and beaters, check out the entire collection here. Maybe next Christmas I’ll get the pasta attachment and try my hand at homemade pasta! Oh the possibilities!
I love my stand mixer. It made Christmas baking this year so much easier. I could prep the next steps while it was mixing away. My arms were also appreciative, as it can be quite a work out using a hand mixer on bread dough. I hope she continues for another 20+ years as there’s something wonderful about baking using the mixer from my childhood that I learned to bake with. (Although I would love to get a purple one someday…) If you love to bake I hope you get a stand mixer (if you don’t already have one). And get a Kitchen Aid as they are timeless and will last a lifetime. So start saving those pennies and start watching those sales, it will be one of your best investments. Happy baking and mixing!