Today’s Guest Star is Nancy Martel of Nancy’s Fancies Cupcakes and Cake-pops!
When Jenny invited me to write a guest post about great gifts for bakers, I was very excited! I have been given some wonderful gifts by clients, students, family members and friends. There are also some things that I am currently lusting after. Let’s start with some stocking stuffers.
You can find some really great stocking stuffers for under $15, even at high end stores.
1. Measuring Spoon Set from Sur La Table. Retail price 3.95-4.95. I received these little beauties from a friend for my birthday just two weeks ago. I absolutely love that they come in 5 different colors (mine are purple) and they have a little pour spout on the side. This comes in very handy for messy bakers who tend to spill things a lot. (Me.) Also, consider adding the matching measuring cup set for 9.95.
2. Neilsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract, Williams Sonoma, 9.95 -8 oz. bottle.
Every baker knows that good vanilla is essential to a perfect cake, cupcake, etc. Williams Sonoma offers a nice collection of vanilla products by Neilsen Massey, the best of the best. Choose from Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Bean Paste (if you like those flecks of vanilla in your pastry), or Vanilla Sugar.
3. OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop, 13.99 med. 12.99 small.
Cookie scoops are great for getting a uniform look, whether you are making cookies, cupcakes, or muffins. The squeeze-release mechanism makes getting every last bit of dough out of the scoop a breeze! The Oxo Good Grips® stainless steel scoops are dishwasher safe and can also be used to scoop ice cream.
4. CIA Masters Collection 11 Piece Round Cutter Set, $15.95 (Yes, these cost a little more than $15.00. Use your BBB 20% coupon to bring them back under the $15.00 limit.) These cute little cookie cutters also work great for cutting biscuits. They fit neatly inside each other ranging in size from 7/8” – 3 5/8”. Put them in a little gift box, or tie a ribbon on them and hang them on the tree.
5.Cupcake Corer $5.95. When I opened my cupcake and cake pop business in June of 2011, this was my first purchase. Since then, I have used it repeatedly to core cupcakes, allowing me to fill them with wonderful fruits, chocolate fillings, etc. When you are finished, just throw it in your silverware basket in the dishwasher and it comes out clean and ready to use next time!
6. Ceramic Pie Bird $6.14. The pie baker in your life will love this adorable little ceramic black bird! Hailing back to the old nursery rhyme, 4 and 20 blackbirds, this little birdie summons you by whistling when your pie is ready. He works by releasing built up steam, which keeps the filling from boiling over, and keeps the crust nice and flaky. Just set him in the center of your unbaked, two-crusted pie, put the pie in the oven, and wait for his little tune to sail through your kitchen.
7. Pie Weights Jar, Williams Sonoma, 13.50. While we’re on the subject of pies, every pie baker needs a good set of pie weights to help keep the bottom crust from bubbling and buckling. These darling ceramic beads come in a nice little mason jar. Tie a pretty bow on top and you’ve got a lovely little stocking stuffer that will be much appreciated!
8. The Martha Stewart Holiday Collection – Homemade Holiday 3.95. No baker’s gift list is complete without an offering or two from Martha Stewart. I found this gem of a DVD while browsing her shop. The DVD features recipes, decorating tips, a Christmas Cookie Glossary, Gift Wrapping Guide, Holiday Planner, and more. This is also a great gift for the crafter or cook. (excuse me while I go place my order…)
9. Holiday Copper Cookie Cutters, Williams Sonoma, 7.95 each. These sturdy and gorgeous copper cookie cutters come in a variety of shapes ranging from Christmas Stockings to Snowmen. For a cute presentation, lay the cookie cutter on a piece of red or green tulle, fill with red and green holiday candies, and tie with a matching ribbon.
10.Babycakes 20-Ounce Chocolate Dipper , Kohls, 12.99 (use your 15% coupon and/or Kohl’s cash.) True, it won’t fit in a stocking, but who says you can’t put the little accompanying booklet in the stocking and the chocolatier under the tree? I own 4 of these babies, and I use them all the time. This is the perfect little gift for cake pop and candy makers. Gone are the days of having to constantly melt and rewarm your chocolate. Just take out the ceramic insert, fill it with chocolate, melt in the microwave, and set it in the mini warming pot. Your chocolate stays warm for hours and doesn’t burn or scorch. The ceramic insert is dishwasher safe, and the pot cleans up easily with a wet paper towel or cloth. The BabyCakes Mini Chocolatier also comes with 2 dipping tools, which is a nice little bonus gift.
Now that the stocking has been filled, let’s look at some fabulous gifts for the baker for $75.00 or less. Here are my faves:
1.Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, $24.95 each. I love Silpat®. It’s the perfect non-stick cookie sheet liner, (9” x 13”) replacing cooking spray or parchment paper. Each Silpat® Silcon Liner can be used over and over again, lasting up to 5 years or 5,000 uses, whichever comes first. Clean up is amazingly quick and easy. Just wipe with a damp cloth, dry, and roll up to store in your cabinet until next time.
2. Cake Stands and Plates, available at Department and Specialty Stores, online, EBAY, or vintage shops. Price range $24.95 -$75.00. When I bake a gorgeous batch of cupcakes, I always look for the perfect way to display them. Cake stands and plates are a beautiful way to show off those goodies! They come in a huge variety of designs, including milk glass, porcelain, cobalt blue glass, holiday décor, and clear glass. The Glass Domed Cake Plate/Punch Stand from Williams Sonoma is proudly displayed in the middle of my kitchen table year round. Remove the dome and use it as a cake stand. Or reverse the dome and now you have a lovely punch bowl. Retail: $35.99.
3. BonJour Creme Brulee Chef’s Professional Culinary Torch with Fuel Gauge 28.99. Ask my family how excited I was when I got this! I love my little torch, and I use it to toast the marshmallows on my S’mores Cupcakes, and brown the meringue on my Lemon Meringue Pies and Cupcakes. The Bonjour® Professional Creme Brulee Torch comes with a base to keep it upright on your counter. It also has a safety lock feature to keep curious little hands safe. Be sure to pick up an extra can of propane to go along with the torch. (approx. $7.95.)
4. World Vanillas, 3 pack, Williams Sonoma, $32.00. Looking for a unique gift that will definitely be appreciated? The World Vanillas 3 pack by Neilsen Massey is perfect! The description on the Williams Sonoma website says the following: “Vanilla extracts from Nielsen-Massey have long been the choice of bakers and ice cream makers for their unparalleled quality. Our set includes extracts of vanilla from Mexico, Tahiti, and Madagascar, created through an exclusive cold-process method that preserves their intense nuanced flavors.” You can never go wrong giving the baker in your life a good quality set of vanilla extracts!
Any of the gifts listed above would make me or any baker very happy. But if you really want to knock our socks off, I suggest the following beauties.
1.Wilton Ultimate Decorating Set , 186.99 also available at craft stores across the nation, and directly from Wilton.com. (Use your Michaels 40% off coupon on this set.) This is the top of the line in cake, cookie, and cupcake decorating. The Wilton® Ultimate Decorating Set includes such gems as decorating tips and bags, spatulas, fondant tools, cutters, a thin rolling pin, and a cool caddy to make transporting your kit a breeze!
2. Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick 6-Piece Essentials Bakeware Set, $149.00. Currently on sale for 99.99. Exclusive to Williams Sonoma, The Goldtouch® Bakeware line is both functional and beautiful. This non stick set includes the following:
Cookie sheet: 18″ x 14″ x 1” high.
Half-sheet pan: 18″ x 13″ x 1” high.
2 Cake pans: 9″ diam., 2″ high.
Cooling rack: 16 3/4″ x 11 1/2″ x 1/2″ high.
Muffin pan: 15 3/4″ x 11” x 2” high.
3. Sur LaTable White Marble 16” x 20” Pastry Board, 39.95 (pair w/rolling pin 24.95)
Elegance and function are what you get with this gorgeous white and black marbled pastry board. Use it to roll pie crusts, cookie dough, or serve cheese at a cocktail party. The Sur La Table White Marble Pastry Board is so pretty that the recipient will want to leave it out on his/her counter all year long!
4. Sur La Table Pink Essentials Gift Set, 84.96. Have a baker friend who loves the color pink? (See me waving frantically over here.) This gift is sure to please! Included with this set is an Oven mitt, Cuisanart® Smart Stick Immersion Blender, Tongs, A Mini Digital Timer, Measuring Cups and Spoons, (the same ones I chose for stocking stuffers, but in Berry Pink!), and a Kuhn Rikon® 6” Pink Striped Santoku Knife. I think I need to go make a call to Santa…
Finally, here is (in my opinion) the Absolute Ulimate, Must Have, Drool Worthy Gift for Every Baker on The Planet. I have been lusting after this for months!
5.KitchenAid Artisan Design 5-Quart Stand Mixer, Raspberry Ice $399.99 also at Kohls (use a 30% coupon and claim Kohls cash for future shopping) True, theKitchenAid Artisan Design 5-Quart Stand Mixer comes in a wide range of colors from Almond Cream to Onyx Black. The gorgeous Raspberry Ice model was created as part of the Susan G. Komen for The Cure® 2012 Campaign. KitchenAid® will donate up to $450,000 to the foundation, so this is a gift that will not only please your recipient, but will benefit women everywhere. Plus, it is so darn pretty!!!!!!
I hope these suggestions will help make your holiday shopping fast, easy, and fun! You can feel free to send any of these items to me. Jenny can tell you where to send them!
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