We deny ourselves all year long. It’s just a fact of life. I know I’m constantly reminding myself throughout the year that I cannot afford that dress, those books, that trip to Europe. This is why I love Boxing Day. It’s the one day I can ignore that little voice telling me I’m poor and spend my Christmas money on what I want. If I want that outrageously overpriced teapot from Myer, I’m going to buy it. That hot pair of stilettos that will likely sit in my closet for months collecting dust? They’re mine!
If, however, you tend to be a bit more practical-minded than me but still intend to splurge a little this Boxing Day, I’ve created a top ten list of the best and most useful appliances you should be stocking your kitchen with. Get ’em while they’re cheap!
10. Sandwich Press
Now, you may be wondering how this made it into the top ten list. I’m telling you, this is one of those you-don’t-understand-how-wonderful-it-is-until-you-own-one appliances. It is not simply for sandwiches. I use this for making garlic toast out of stale bread, for grilling leftover stuffed pide, and it makes a mean french toast. Try one. You won’t be sorry.
9. Waffle Maker
Isn’t this the most flamboyant of splurges? Who doesn’t want Belgian waffles on demand? And then, of course, all the flavour combinations one can dream up! Pineapple Upside Down Waffles anyone? Or if you’re feeling truly adventurous, Buzzfeed has this list to offer you waffle aficionados. I don’t know about you, but I am all over those cinnamon bun waffles.
8. Espresso Maker
I’m always scoping out these beauties in the housewares stores. The idea of endless cappuccinos and earl grey lattés appeals to me greatly. You can’t tell me when one of your friends whips you up a frothy, luscious dark chocolate mocha from one of these babies you aren’t secretly prickling with jealousy. No? Well, maybe that’s just me. But an espresso machine has been on my list for years. An infinite source of espresso that doesn’t cost me five dollars a pop? I can get behind that.
7. Conical Burr Coffee Grinder *
In the same vein as the espresso machine (can you tell I’m a coffee addict yet?), a coffee grinder is a must for the average household. The conical burr grinder is probably the best type to own if you’re a true coffee addict or enjoy an above average cup of coffee. Blade grinders – the typical ones you see selling for cheap in Target and Big W – will crush and dice the beans disproportionately. The blades also spin at a very high RPM which can burn the grounds and cause the coffee to taste bitter. The conical burr grinders, while they cost a bit more, are the ideal choice because they have two plates that mash the beans between them which creates a more even grind. These plates also do not heat up like the blades of the blade grinder do, so you lose the risk of burning your coffee. I have one of these grinders and it’s honestly one of the best choices I made. I will never go back to blade grinders! Never!
6. Kitchen Scale
Every baker needs a decent kitchen scale or you might as well give up baking. There, I said it. Your bakes will not only be so much tastier if you can accurately weigh out the ingredients, but they will also rise better and be lighter. So what should you look for in a digital scale? I like ones that have a long holding time, so I don’t have to keep resetting it when I add more ingredients. I also look for ones that can switch between metric and imperial. Since I bake from a variety of different sources, I like to able to choose the units.
5. Slow Cooker
Now we’re getting into the biggies. A slow cooker is a great tool to have in your arsenal when you just don’t feel like cooking. Throw some chicken, rice, veggies, and chicken stock in there, crank ‘er on, and dinner is waiting for you when you walk through the door after a
hard day’s work. What could be easier? Plus, you can make stunning desserts, breakfasts, and pulled meats in your slow cooker! Golden.
4. Food Processor
This is a new love for me. Whenever I looked at these in the shops, I used to balk at the prices, confuse myself with all the options and additional pieces, and rush away to hug the wallet-friendly whisks and hand graters. They just weren’t for me. Until I purchased one. Now I can’t imagine life without one. (Or two!) They’re handy for chopping, slicing, dicing, mixing, grinding, pulverizing, and generally everything in between. If you’re the type of person who grates their knuckles, fingers, and nails when using a hand grater, try one of these. Your fingers (and guests) will thank you.
3. Stand Mixer
The kahuna of all kitchen appliances. The most expensive piece of baking equipment you can splurge on and the most useful. I don’t know how many batters and frostings I’ve concocted in my stand mixer, but it’s safe to say that it’s quite a few. Desserts are simply easier with a stand mixer. You don’t have to beat cream or egg whites until you get carpal tunnel; you don’t have to pass off stirring an incredibly thick batter to another person; and you don’t have to stop mixing to add more ingredients! Still not convinced? Even if you’re not a baker, you can still make use of a stand mixer in countless other ways. They’re basically the best thing ever.
2. Hand Mixer
I asked for one of these for Christmas. Mainly because making the candy cane cream for my Mint Chocolate Pancakes this year reminded me how much I
hate loathe whipping cream by hand whisk. Thankfully, my boyfriend was kind enough to oblige in my gift request, but if you weren’t lucky enough to be presented with a mixer this Christmas, I sincerely hope you buy one this Boxing Day. Like his big sister the Stand Mixer, this little fella comes in handy for all your beating, whipping, and whisking needs. It makes it a helluva lot easier to make whips, tiramisus, mousses, cakes, and brownies, just to name a few. Plus, if your hands aren’t working as well as they used to, you’ll find a hand mixer is the ultimate life saver.
1. Knife Block
I couldn’t end this post without urging you, no, begging you to buy a decent knife block. When I first moved to Australia, our knife block was our first expensive purchase. I’ve used it every day since, and I don’t think I could live or cook without it anymore. If you’re in the market for a set, make sure it has the following essentials: a chef’s knife, a paring knife, a serrated edged knife, a santoku knife, and a sharpening stele. You don’t really need more flash than those five pieces. Ours also came with a set of 6 steak knives, which are lovely but not a necessity if you want to conserve your cash. If you won’t believe me when I tell you every chef, amateur or professional, requires a good set of knives, perhaps you’ll listen to Jamie Oliver. Don’t like Jamie? Gordon Ramsay will tell you the same.
I hope this guide to Boxing Day splurges has been at least a little useful to you. I’ve certainly convinced myself that I need a few items on this list! The links included with the subtitles of this post are my recommendations for the appliances based on either personal experience or quality reviews. Happy shopping!
* You can read more about the functions of blade and conical grinders here.
Upcoming Changes at The Cinnamon Scrolls:
I’m off to New Zealand for three weeks starting on Monday! I’ll be touring both the North and South Islands for two weeks and then spending a week in Auckland while my boyfriend is at the 2015 Linux conference. I’ll be soaking up the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, traversing the great heights of Mt. Cook, and partaking in a Lord of the Rings tour outside Queenstown. But these are only highlights. I’m sure I’ll have much more to tell when I return!
On that note, because I’ll be spending much of my time driving and adventuring over the next three weeks, please expect a decrease in posts. I’ll be posting something new each Tuesday while I’m away, and we’ll be back to the regular bi-weekly posts on January 20th.
I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and have an even more fabulous New Year!