Hello friends! I received my early copy of the New Cookbook in the mail just a week ago, and it’s a real beauty! I snapped a few photos of the pages with recipes that you seem to be most excited about. Now I won’t bore you with all the blah blah blah about how hard I worked on this book, and how proud I am of it. You can see that for yourself! Just know that this book is all about giving you back the packaged snacks, cookies, crackers, candies and breakfast treats that you miss, one recipe at a time. It’s all in here!
So what’s this post about?
I’ve heard from many of you that you’d like a “Getting Ready for Classic Snacks” post, as so you can hit the ground running when Gluten Free Classic Snacks hits your doorstep (soon!). Well that’s just music to my ears (eyes?)! So basically this post is for you, in case you don’t win The Giveaway (ends tonight!!) and would like to buy some of those items yourself.
Wait—I need lots of stuff?
No! In fact, there’s very, very little you absolutely need to get started baking as soon as you get the book—apart from basic baking ingredients like a good all purpose gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed), salt, milk, butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, chocolate. You know: the basics you need for really any of my gluten free baking recipes. Beyond that, here are a few things you might consider buying:
[Disclosure: I own every single one of these items myself, and use them regularly in my own gluten free kitchen. The amazon.com links below are, indeed, affiliate links.]
Candy/Deep Fry Thermometer: I most frequently use and recommend the large rectangular Polder thermometer. It’s the one that has extra metal casing at the bottom to suspend the end of the thermometer above the very end of the device, so your temperature reading is of the contents of the pan, not the pan itself. I also have the ChefAlarm by ThermoWorks, but it’s pricey and honestly it’s kind of a pain to position. Go with the Polder (or something similar).
Chocolate Dipping Tools: A standard set of chocolate dipping tools is inexpensive and so handy. The tines of the tools are flattened on the end to facilitate removing excess chocolate, which helps you avoid the flat chocolate “foot” on your chocolate-dipped goodies.
Chocolate Molds: You do not neeeeed these, but of course it’s so much fun to make totally authentic-looking chocolate candies. The three I recommend are for making gluten free Kit Kats (page 269), Cookies ‘n’ Creme Bars (page 272), and 100 Grand Chocolate Bars (page 276)—but especially the Kit Kat mold. My favorite sources for these molds are Country Kitchen Sweetart, Global Sugar Art and Sweet Baking Supply.
Cookie Cutters: Oh cookie cutters. I won’t lie—I have a gazillion. I recommend the following sets and individual cutters, ascending order of ridiculousness. In other words, least ridiculous purchases on top, more ridiculous as you go down. By the last one, we’re into totally overpriced ridiculous territory:
- Ateco plain round cookie cutter set
- Ateco plain oval cookie cutter set
- Ateco small geometric cookie cutter set
- Ateco 3-piece rectangular cookie cutter set
- Animal plunger cutters for animal crackers (I absolutely love these, but they’re so unnecessary)
- Birkmann shortbread plunger cutter for Town House crackers (one trick pony, but unequaled)
- 3-inch Hexagon cutter for Little Debbie Zebra Cakes (ridiculous—just cut out shapes with a sharp knife)
- Ateco oval cutter for Biscoff cookies (ridiculous, I know, but less ridiculous than the make-your-own cookie cutter set I bought to make my own in the proper shape)
- Mini fish cookie cutter for Goldfish crackers (why doesn’t anyone else sell this shape? WHY?)
Simple digital kitchen scale: Are you tired of hearing about this from me yet? To achieve consistent results from your baking efforts, you need a digital kitchen scale! Volume measurements for dry ingredients like flour are just too unreliable and variable, from person to person, from day to day.
Simple oven thermometer: Every oven is improperly calibrated, unless it has juuuuuust been calibrated. And then give it a week. To determine proper oven temperature, you need a simple oven thermometer. Turn the dials based upon the registered temperature on the oven thermometer, not your oven itself. It lies!
Pastry bags and tips: If you don’t have any pastry tips, try this handy set of 14 tips + a pastry bag to get you started. You’ll also need another few tips, but that set will get you going. A box of disposable 14-inch pastry bags will also serve you well.
Pizza or Pastry Wheel: I have a small pastry wheel for making clean cuts, but I find that I reach for my pizza wheel almost every time instead. It just seems easier to control, and the dough doesn’t get caught in the larger pastry wheel as I’m cutting like it does in the pastry wheel.
Specialty Snack Cake Pans: You do not need any of these pans to make all your favorite snack cakes, like Twinkies, Sno Balls, and Ring Dings. Really! But if you want to make picture-perfect versions, and prove that you can, I get you! Clearly, I get you. Wilton currently makes a version of each of those pans. You’ll find them all on Amazon.com, too (Twinkie pan, Sno Ball pan, Ring Ding pan). It does seem like these cake pans float in and out of availability, however, so as time goes on these links may no longer provide what you’re looking for! Sur La Table, the kitchen store, also makes some of them but those often prove hard to find. Go for the Wilton ones.
There are other super basic kitchen things you’ll need, like parchment paper, baking sheets, a rolling pin, square baking pans, that sort of thing. But you figured as much, right?
Now it’s your turn! Do you have questions for me? The Look Inside feature should be live on the Classic Snacks page on amazon.com soon (hopefully!), and that should help. But beyond that, ask me everything you’re wondering about in the comments, and I’ll answer you as best I can!