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Star Wars Lovers

Awesome Droid Measuring Cups For R2-D2 Lovers

fun R2-D2 measuring cup set for Star Wars droid lovers

If you’re a Star Wars lover like I am, you’ll absolutely wow your friends with these awesome R2-D2 droid measuring cups.

You may not ever use them and just display on your counter because you can’t bear to take poor R2 apart. But he’s definitely a winner in the measuring department. You’ll get all the standard measuring spoon sizes plus the usual ones for dry goods.

It’s amazing how they got all those parts into one small droid. And if you’re looking for Star Wars gifts for a big fan, I think this is a great gift.

all those amazing pieces coming out of a small body

fall in love when you see how many different individual pieces there are in this set

If these are out of stock at Amazon, you can also try ThinkGeek to see if they have R2 in stock.

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Cooking Articles

Can You Cook Baked or Mashed Potatoes in a Slow Cooker?

I love potatoes. All kinds of potatoes. You might even call me an addict. 🙂

My brother-in-law makes the most delicious au gratin potatoes I’ve ever tasted (I’ve got to niggle the recipe out of him). And so I’m always looking for an easier way to make them. So I set out to see if you really could make tasty potatoes in a slow cooker.

Are Slow Cookers Good For Baked Potatoes?

baked potato in jacket with bacon and cheese
Baked Potato in Jacket
At first, I thought it wouldn’t work. I’m so used to either baking them forever in the oven or tossing them in the microwave to make them fast that I never thought about my slow cooker.

But I found out that I was missing out.

A friend introduced me to her favorite recipe for baking potatoes in a slow cooker, and I tried it out.

Although slow cookers aren't fast, they sure are easy and maintenance-free during cooking. It takes a couple of minutes to prep the bakers, and then toss them in and let them go. No standing around waiting for the microwave to test them for doneness, or tying up your oven just for the potatoes.

What About Mashed Potatoes?

Delicious mashed potatoes with greens in bowl isolated on white
Delicious mashed potatoes
That one had me a bit puzzled, but I was eager to find the answer.

Holiday dinners around here are hectic because my family loves both sweet and mashed potatoes, and they all want both at Thanksgiving and Christmas. And mashed potatoes every time we do roast.

Plus, we need the oven for the turkey and the stove for the gravy and vegetables. There just isn't enough room in our kitchen to cook more around the stove. As one member in my family says, "This is a two-butt kitchen." 🙂

So every year we juggle things, and every year we have to leave some dishes in the warming drawer where they don't always maintain their best texture and flavor.

However, we are a slow cooker family. I had an old and small slow cooker from my Grandma, and then we got one as a gift. Neither were really roomy enough to prepare a large recipe, so this year we bought the Crock Pot slow cooker with the mini-cooker add-on. I love it! And we have a big kitchen island with outlet plugs, so I could even borrow another one from my mom.

And with three different slow cookers on call, my mind has turned to ways to maximize their use. "POTATOES," I thought. "I can do all the potatoes that way."

So after a bit of research online, I found a couple of good recipes. They weren't quite the way we like our mashed potatoes, so I made some modifications to meet my family's exacting standards, and I can honestly report that mashed potatoes are doable in a slow cooker.

If you've got a recipe you want to try, but you're having issues figuring out cooking time and temperature on your slow cooker, CrockPot has some good conversion charts and cooking times on this page.

Are You Hungry For Slow Cooker Potatoes Yet?

So whatever type of potatoes you love best, I think you can find a solid recipe for them online. Another good place to check is recipe books specifically for slow cooker recipes like the ones here at Amazon

No matter what, happy cooking! And I hope you like our recipes for baked and mashed potatoes to prepare in your slow cooker.

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Cooking Tips

Save Time & Hassle – Easy Slow Cooker Cleanup Tip

I love my slow cooker. Actually, I love my THREE slow cookers.

Yes, I’m an addict. I’ll admit it.

But I’m also a neat freak, and a bit obsessive about easy cleanup after cooking.

Want To Know My Secret Whammy?

Easy-peasy slow cooker liners — I was in heaven from Day 1. If you haven’t used them before, you will be, too. Just pop in the liner, cook, remove the lid to let off steam, and serve with the liner in place. When it’s cool and you’ve removed your meal, pull it out. And Magic — No Mess. Try them out!

If you do have a gummy, messy slow cooker after you’ve finished cooking, here are some useful cleaning tips from CrockPot themselves.

My Recommendation – Try Them Out and Report Back Here

Come back and add your own tips. Tell us all if you liked using slow cooker liners or if you didn’t, and why…

Categories
Christmas Gift Guides Other Thanksgiving Wedding & Baby

Top 5 Highly-Rated Gold Flatware Sets – Service for 8

We’ve sourced out some incredible gold flatware for you to drool over. Imagine one of these sets proudly displayed on your holiday table for everyone to “ooh” and “aah” over. Your friends and family might even be afraid to “break them in.” Paired with your best china, any one of these sets will add a shine to your holiday table presentation.

All of these sets are rated well above 4.0 stars on Amazon, and all of them except the Lenox ones come with free shipping. And there’s Amazon’s incredible return policy, of course.

With all Top 5, you will receive:

  • 8 salad forks
  • 8 dinner forks
  • 8 dinner knives
  • 8 dinner spoons
  • 8 teaspoons

Each also has gives you some sort of hostess set for additional value. You don’t often see those with smaller sets or inexpensive ones.

Our #1 “Wowser” Pick: Wallace Golden Aegean Weave Flatware

Beautiful gold-accent fine sterling silver flatware with service for 8 plus 6 piece hostess set

This fine sterling silver flatware set comes with golden accents in a gorgeous weave pattern on the base and top of the handle.

You’ll also get a 6-piece Hostess Helper Set which includes:

  • Tablespoon
  • Pierced tablespoon
  • Sugar spoon
  • Butter knife
  • Pie server

What really makes this set stand out for me is that the pieces are made of fine sterling silver rather than sterling silver or stainless steel. Most flatware sets are sterling silver (not quite as high-grade but high-content silver at over 90%) or even stainless steel of varying grades or silver-plated. But this is well-crafted flatware, with a 99.9% silver content, so they’ll make a classy statement on your table.

My other favorite part is definitely the pattern. I love the weave designed into the top and bottom of the handles. Whether you’re after a stunning decorative set or one for formal dinners, you’ll rake in compliments for them. If you have a fancy china pattern or design, sometimes the “simple flatware” patterns don’t look just right. And if you have gold-rimmed china, these gold sets can be stunning. Be sure to take a close look at this one to see if it is a good match.

About the only downside to this set is pricing, even at Amazon. So if you fall in love, be sure to check out other sellers at the “new” price level.

Sometimes the pricing can be significantly better on some sellers, especially when the set has such exceptional value like this one.

But given the price, make sure you’ve chosen a reputable seller.

Right now, besides Amazon itself, only one other seller — Ava and Lucy — is selling this set and they do have a better price. They also have a great 5-star reputation with over 5,800 people providing feedback. I prefer Amazon as the seller myself, but this gives you some extra insight to make the best choice for you.

This isn’t an inexpensive set by price or quality, but if you’re looking for upscale, high-end, fabulous quality flatware, I encourage you to take a look.

Check Amazon Price

Our #2 “Fabulous” Pick: Oneida Golden Juilliard Flatware

Beautiful 24K gold electroplate gold-tip accent flatware with service for 8 plus 8 piece hostess set

Looking for something simpler? Try this 18/10 stainless steel flatware — it comes with 24K gold electroplate and has golden tip accents in a romantic fleur-de-lis pattern. If your china or stemware is trimmed in gold and would look good with an understated flatware pattern, be sure to check out this set from Oneida’s Heirloom Collection.

You’ll also get extra value with a better-than-average 8-piece Hostess Set. It includes:

  • Serving Fork
  • Pierced Serving Spoon
  • Serving Spoon
  • Sugar Spoon
  • Ladle
  • Butter Knife
  • Casserole Spoon
  • Servall (like a combination pie server and larger serving spoon)

I especially appreciate the larger hostess set here, with some pieces that five-piece or six-piece sets sometimes don’t include or they swap for another piece you also need, like a casserole spoon, servall, and ladle.

If you’re looking for a classic pattern that will never go out of style, I believe this will be your icing on the cake for an enviable holiday display. The big thing with formal place settings is that it always comes down to your china design. You want a good match. So check out this pattern if you think it might be a good complement to your china set or stemware and add elegance to each place setting.

Do you want something less expensive than fine sterling silver as the base metal (Wowser #1 above)? Or even sterling silver? Then the 18/10 stainless steel you see here is the next best bet. The metals in this alloy help reduce corrosion, increase durability, and provide a soft sheen that looks similar to silver. (For more technical information, read here.)

The 24K gold electroplate is a thin sheen of 24K gold added to the stainless steel to provide some additional “amazing” to the basic pattern.

For 18/10 stainless steel with gold electroplate, the price is surprisingly reasonable at Amazon. I looked around and Bed, Bath, & Beyond carries the service for 4 but without a hostess set, and the comparative pricing isn’t anywhere as good there. Target and Walmart don’t carry it at all.

So for a quality offering in high-end stainless steel with gold trimming, I like the looks of this one. I think you will, too, if you like the simpler touch.

Check Amazon Price

Amazon also sells this set with service for 8 without the additional hostess items. If you want to go that route, you can find them here. I just find the full 48-piece set to be a much better investment with more value.

Our #3 “Larger Than Life” Pick: Oneida Golden Michelangelo Flatware

Elegant and expansively decorated 18K gold electroplate gold-twined accent flatware with service for 8 plus 6 piece hostess set

This 18/10 stainless flatware comes with 18K gold electroplate and has golden accents twined throughout the handle. It’s an elegant pattern worthy of Michelangelo himself and it’s sure to go well with the fanciest china. This set catches attention the moment you feast your eyes on the table and decorations. And, if you’re big on fancier gold patterning, it’s probably the best set of the five.

You’ll also get a 6-piece Hostess Set which includes:

  • Serving Fork
  • Pierced Serving Spoon
  • Serving Spoon
  • Sugar Spoon
  • Butter Knife
  • Ladle

The 18/10 stainless steel, as I mentioned in the Oneida above, is the best stainless steel choice for your flatware. Unlike the 24K gold electroplate in the Golden Juilliard, this is a step down with 18K gold. My guess is that this is to keep the cost down because the gold plating is more extensive.

As a reviewer put it, “Even more beautiful than the picture, and we’d buy again in a heartbeat.”

With that recommendation, you owe it to yourself to take a look.

Check Amazon Price

Our #4 “Subtle Elegance” Pick: Lenox Eternity Gold Flatware in Box

Subtle decorations with gold electroplate and top/bottom handle banding accent flatware with service for 8 plus 5 piece hostess set

This 18/10 stainless flatware comes with gold electroplate and has two golden bands on the handle. This is a true Lenox quality set. Although the name here (“Eternity Gold”) differs slightly from the set sold on Lenox’s site (“Eternal Gold”), one reviewer confirmed that the difference is mainly a design change for weight, and a slight flattening of the flatware angles. This is sold under the Eternity Gold name (instead of Eternal Gold, which is a slightly different set) only for this 45-piece set.

If you check out Amazon’s comparison chart on this set’s page, you’ll notice the price difference as well. Eternal Gold sold on on Amazon as well as Lenox’s site would cost 2-3 times more respectively, and without the hostess set to boot! Other than the slight difference in weight, as one reviewer said, some of that is apparently because the Eternity Gold is limited to a specific piece count and configuration packaged for retail sale. I suspect that the gold might be a slightly lesser gold quality than 24K like Eternal Gold although I couldn’t confirm that. But from reviewer comments, that doesn’t appear to be an issue affecting the presentation or use of this set.

My guess is that Lenox will charge through the nose for the hostess set for this one or make you buy single pieces. So if you like this 45-piece with service for 8, then you should consider your options here.

If you have gold-rimmed china or gold-banded crystal glassware, this set looks like it will be a beautiful but understated complement to them.

You’ll also get a 5-piece Hostess Set which includes:

  • Serving Fork
  • Pierced Serving Spoon
  • Serving Spoon
  • Sugar Spoon
  • Butter Knife
  • Ladle

One reviewer researched the name, warranty, and other issues with Lenox themselves, and confirmed the packaging and warranty information. This set comes with the Lenox lifetime warranty as part of their Breakage Replacement Program.

As a reviewer put it, “Everything is beautiful. I was afraid they could look barroque but instead this flatware looks elegant. I was concerned also about the weight; however they are not too heavy or too light, and perfect weight for my taste…” (read more reviews here).

If you’re looking for good quality, nice-looking flatware with a reasonable price, be sure to consider this one.

Check Amazon Price

Our #5 “Unique Design” Pick: Mikasa Cameo Gold Flatware

Subtle ridged decorations with gold electroplate and handle banding with tapered design - flatware with service for 8 plus 5 piece hostess set

This 18/10 stainless flatware comes with 24K gold electroplate and has an outer ridging on the tapering handle. If you favor Mikasa and its designs, you’ll like this simple set. For gold flatware designs, this one’s a little different. Both the look of the rolled edge and the tapering lend themselves to an interesting look and feel.

If you have gold-rimmed china or gold-banded crystal glassware with an unsual edge, this might complement them better than complicated designs or overly traditional simple designs.

You’ll also get a 5-piece Hostess Set which includes:

  • Serving Fork
  • Pierced Serving Spoon
  • Serving Spoon
  • Cold Meat Fork
  • Butter Knife
  • Sugar Spoon

As a reviewer put it, “The gift recipient was very pleased with the quality of the flatware set, its simplicity and beauty as well as the contrasting gold…” (read reviews here).

If you’re looking for high quality, brand-name, nice-looking flatware with a reasonable price, be sure to check this one out further.

Check Amazon Price

Our Final Recommendations — Care and Handling

Most people are aware that fine sterling silver and regular sterling silver flatware require careful handling. But it’s worth repeating when you’re spending a fair bit and wanting them to last.

You should always handwash these pieces with a softer, less-abrasive soap. Dry them right away to avoid spotting, and use a soft chamois or soft cloth to prevent scratching or damage. Also, silver needs to be polished regularly, at least twice a year even if you don’t use it. That will help keep it in top shape for years to come.

While people believe stainless steel is dishwasher safe because it is “stainless,” I strongly believe — just like cooking knives — that it is still a good idea to wash them by hand. Like silver, you should also immediately dry your good flatware. Long experience has taught me that even “stainless” items can spot and corrode in the dishwasher no matter what they say.

And since gold is a softer metal, even in electroplate, it can damage more easily. Not to mention the terrible potential for bending or distorting items put in the dishwasher just because they were pushed against other residents of your dishwasher.

So take a look at some of these if you’re looking for gold flatware with service for eight. They’re gorgeous, with a nice ranging of prices, and a good place to start in your hunt for excellent table settings.

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Buyer's Guides Gift Guides

Small Spaces, Medium Batches, High Power – Why The Bosch Compact Mixer Saves The Day As A Stand Mixer

Bosch Compact Mixer

Stand Mixer Style: Bosch Compact Mixer
Our Reviewer Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
Brand: Bosch
Amazon Rating: 4.4 out of 5 Stars with 143 Reviews
Model Number: mum4405
Best Used For: Consumer Mid Range Use
See at Amazon  Read Amazon Reviews

Summary

Do you, your significant other, or family member love to bake? Are you considering a new or replacement stand mixer that doesn’t take up so much room but still carries the load? Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a baker who hates clunky big KitchenAids or their friends? You’ve come to the right place here at The Cook’s Measure. If getting the baker in your life a new compact yet high-powered stand mixer like this Bosch Compact Mixer isn’t quite what you’re after, be sure to see our other stand mixer reviews or check out our gift guide for women who bake for even more ideas.

As you’ll see in our review, the Bosch Stand Mixer is a small kitchen baker’s dream for a lightweight, powerful mid-range mixer. With a small kitchen, space is at a premium and this mixer easily stores away in a cabinet or pantry. You also have access to a wide range of Bosch mixer attachments for expanding the tasks you can accomplish with a single small kitchen appliance.

If you’re looking to replace or upgrade an older, finicky, or lower-powered stand mixer, this Bosch kitchen mixer has become a popular choice. KitchenAid users wanting to move to a stand mixer with equal or more power and a smaller countertop footprint love this little guy.

I suspect Bosch will keep converting fans with this re-release of this compact model as more KitchenAid enthusiasts get tired of repair bills and huge mixers. Of their current Amazon buyers, they have a very solid 4.4 Stars Amazon rating with 87 reviews, and several reviewers specifically mentioned shifting from KitchenAid to this smaller Bosch for regular-sized and smaller batches of bread, cookies, pies, and cakes.

Power and Mixer Speeds:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Capacity:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Quality and Durability:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Versatility of Add-Ons:
8 out of 10 stars (8.0 / 10)
Overall Value:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Busy Family Cooks:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Couples Who Entertain:
8 out of 10 stars (8.0 / 10)
Cooks Working Outside Home:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Cooks Who Cook for One or Two:
10 out of 10 stars (10.0 / 10)
Cooking Enthusiasts or Pros:
8 out of 10 stars (8.0 / 10)

What Do You Get in this Compact Stand Mixer?

The Bosch model mum4405 comes with a plastic 4 Quart mixing bowl that locks into place, and the bowl can handle up to about 5 pounds of dough. You also get a full lid and splash cover, plus wire whips and a dough hook. This model is a planetary stand mixer, which means it has a planetary mixing action to improve performance. (Wikipedia: How does a planetary mixing action gear system help my mixer?)

The oscillating mixing action also has the side benefit of maintaining a better circuit around the bowl and keeps the sides free of dough so you don’t have to constantly scrape the sides of the bowl. This makes it perform well as a dough and pastry mixer.

While the powerful 400 Watt motor only comes with 4 main speeds, they are controlled electronically for a more even mixing process.

And like other quality stand mixers, Bosch offers a number of useful mixer accessories. In addition to the wire whips and dough hook the mixer comes with, you can purchase other Bosch stand mixer attachments like the Food Processor, the Blender, and the Continuous Shredder.

I really like the Bosch accessories because you can bypass your other kitchen machines for some common tasks. If you do a fair bit of blending in small quantities, you could nix your separate blender in many cases with the small blender add-on. However, if you want to use a full-size blender, I wouldn’t get the Bosch blender attachment because it only holds 4 cups.

But the best part of this is not just fewer devices. You’re saving space, too, by storing less items and only pulling out one compact stand mixer and attachments for multiple tasks. That’s efficient!

Pros and Cons of Bosch Stand Mixers

Pros:

  • The compact head area means that this small stand mixer has a lower vertical footprint than other consumer mixers. And the overall mixer itself has a small footprint (13″x11″) and is lightweight (only 8 pounds!), so it’s easy to handle or store away. If you have limited strength or need to store this in a cabinet or a pantry, you’ll find the lighter weight a big relief over your old mixer.
  • The 4 Quart mixing bowl is perfect for normal-sized batches of bread, cookies, brownies, or other sweets. And best of all, despite looking like a plastic Fisher Price toy on the outside, it has solid engineering inside and is both durable and powerful. Reviewers say the Bosch can easily go head-to-head with a comparable KitchenAid and even outperform some, especially with bread dough.
  • Bosch has made this mixer easy to use and keep clean. The bowl doesn’t turn at all and clicks into the mixer so the beaters do the moving for you. And the splash guard has an opening in the front for adding things. The mixer also has a locking park position to keep the beaters out of your way. Less fuss, less muss, and easy-to-clean parts.
  • A 400W motor for a mid-range consumer stand mixer provides plenty of power even without the planetary gearing. Bosch has also improved engineering to add safety features and prevent overheating, which we all know is a problem with certain other brands of similar power and capacity.
  • High power like a larger capacity mixer combined with a smaller bowl means it’s easier to work with small and normal sized batches of even dense dough than for a larger stand mixer.

Cons:

  • This stand mixer is targeted for baking smaller or regular sizes batches easily, with lots of power and a reasonably-large bowl. So working with difficult dough isn’t a problem, but you are in a middle-of-the-road position in terms of volume. Don’t expect to do triple batches or more than 4-5 lbs of dough because the bowl is most likely small for those.
  • If you’re going to use the mixer’s lid with large amounts of dense dough, make sure the lid is tightly fastened or it’ll try to pop off as dough moves around. You can use it without the lid, though.
  • Like many stand mixers with even medium volume mixing bowls, very small batches of egg whites, whipping cream, or creaming of ingredients give it some trouble due to the wide and deep bowl.
  • The mixer is packaged somewhat loosely in the box, so it could shift around during delivery. Be sure to check it upon arrival for obvious damage and use it right away in case of internal problems. Bosch will treat you well if you need a replacement, even if it wasn’t Amazon handling returns for this, but you do want to discover problems quickly.

Versatility of Use

With the same kinds of stand mixer attachments that you can find with a KitchenAid stand mixer or the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine, as well as the included wire whips, dough hook, splash ring and lid, this slimmed-down mixer can handle a lot of tasks even beyond any heavy duty stand mixer tasks you plan to give it. As an “in-between” mixer, this Bosch is one of the best stand mixers in its class.

My favorite attachments are the food processor, blender, and continuous shredder with 3 different disks (and you can buy a grater add-on to it, which I also like).

There is also a cookie press, grain and meat grinder, and a berry press available. Some folks said they had issues finding accessories stocked in the U.S. but they found them on Amazon sites in other countries.

Note to Readers:
If you have trouble finding accessories, use our contact form to shoot me an email and I’ll see what I can find for you.

What Buyers Say About Bosch Compact Stand Mixers

Reviewers definitely like the extra power in this mixer over, for example, the 325W KitchenAid Artisan stand mixers. And as long as the batches are a reasonable size, it can even go head-to-head with the 575W KitchenAid Professional 600 Series.

[sws_pullquote_right]As an “in-between” mixer, this Bosch is one of the best stand mixers in its class.[/sws_pullquote_right]

Reviewers like the flexibility of being able to handle both small and even some regular batches in this mixer that the high-end mixers are just too big to manage. One buyer has both this machine and the Bosch Universal Plus stand mixer so she can do any size dough or bread job, small or large, in one or the other.

Buyers say that the compact machine is really nice for delicate batches of egg whites, making butter, meringue, or even Jello, and then you can turn around and do a few pounds of heavy bread dough.

And many purchasers are specifically moving over from KitchenAid mixers because they are tired of having to troubleshoot and repair or service their KitchenAid stand mixers every year or two in some cases. Buyers have commented that they don’t experience the same heating-up and overheating that they had with other brands. And — small drum roll — this is a quiet mixer. That’s one less B-52 taking off in your kitchen.

Who Should Buy This Bosch Mixer

I know that most home bakers — and most well-equipped kitchens — have stand mixers already, but we often grow to dislike certain features or lack thereof, have mechanical troubles with a model or brand, or want to downsize to a more reasonably-sized stand mixer.

This mixer is perfect for single people, a small family, somebody with a very small kitchen, or anyone who needs the flexibility of a solid and trouble-free mid-range stand mixer.

If you or a family member or friend doesn’t do a lot of big-batch baking and bread making, or if you want a compact yet high performance mixer that doesn’t hog your counter space, you just might be craving a new compact stand mixer.

Are you’re looking for a different or replacement stand mixer for a baker in your life? If so, the Bosch Compact Mixer is a wonderful choice to save your counter space, save your arms lugging it around, and save your sanity with an easy-to-use mixer.

Who Shouldn’t Buy This Small Footprint Mixer

Quite simply, if you need the extra capacity for your big batches, and need the additional power of a high-end consumer mixer, you don’t want the Bosch MUM4405. In this case, you need to definitely look closely at our review of its big brother the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine.

This Bosch is a bit expensive for a mid-range consumer mixer, certainly not the cheapest option, but it fits beautifully into a niche all its own between the low-end or simple mid-range mixers and the heavy-duty “do-everything” high-end all-purpose ones. If you need a powerful but compact versatile stand mixer, this little mixer is fabulous. If you’re looking for quality baker gifts, or if you’re trying to replace a mixer or downsize, this is still worth a close look.

Accessories and Related Items

Of all of the attachments for this mixer, I most recommend these.

You can also access the product manual and user guides at the Bosch website here.

Our Recommendation and Why

If you need to replace or downsize a baker’s stand mixer, or are looking for a gift for a baker (especially bakers in small kitchens), what you’ll really like with the Bosch Compact Mixer is the reasonably-sized bowl, powerful motor, and compact size. You’ll get a flexible mid-range stand mixer that runs quietly and stores away easily and will make your baking and dough making more enjoyable for your everyday general baking needs.

Amazon consistently has the best prices over department stores for stand mixers and small kitchen appliances. And of course the qualifying Amazon Free Shipping is nice, too. You’ve got to check out this compact mixer.

See at Amazon    Read Amazon Reviews

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Categories
Buyer's Guides Gift Guides

Bosch Universal Plus Stand Mixer Review – Why Home Bakers Crave This High-End Stand Mixer

Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine Stand Mixer

Stand Mixer Style: Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine Stand Mixer
Our Reviewer Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
Brand: Bosch
Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5 Stars with 29 Reviews
Model Number: MUM6N10UC
Best Used For: Consumer High End Use
See at Amazon  Read Amazon Reviews

Summary

Do you, your significant other, or family member love to bake? Are you considering a new, upgraded, or replacement stand mixer? Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift for someone who loves to bake those quadruple batches of cookies or bread dough? You’ve come to the right place here at The Cook’s Measure. If getting the baker in your life a new powerful mixer like this Bosch Universal Plus Stand Mixer isn’t quite what you’re after, be sure to check out our gift guide for women who bake for even more ideas.

As you’ll see in our review, the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine is a home baker’s stand mixer dream for making big batches of any recipe. With a much larger than average bowl and a significantly stronger motor than most other high-end consumer mixers, the Bosch mixer will plow easily through double and triple cookie, brownie, cake, or bread batches. You also have access to a wide range of attachment add-ons for expanding the tasks you can accomplish with a single small kitchen appliance.

If you’re looking to replace or upgrade an older, finicky, or lower-powered stand mixer, Bosch’s Universal Plus mixer has become a popular choice, especially among KitchenAid users wanting to move to a mixer with more power and bowl capacity. While its Best Seller Rating of #76 doesn’t seem high in Stand Mixers, many people never get past all the KitchenAid mixers in 10 colors to look at Bosch models.

I suspect as that changes, Bosch will gain quite a few more fans. Of their existing buyers, they have a very solid 4.6 Stars Amazon rating with 29 reviews, and several reviewers specifically mentioned shifting from a KitchenAid to a Bosch for their bread baking mixer.

Power and Mixer Speeds:
9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)
Capacity:
10 out of 10 stars (10.0 / 10)
Quality and Durability:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Versatility of Add-Ons:
9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)
Overall Value:
9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)
Busy Family Cooks:
9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)
Couples Who Entertain:
9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)
Cooks Working Outside Home:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Cooks Who Cook for One or Two:
7.5 out of 10 stars (7.5 / 10)
Cooking Enthusiasts or Pros:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)

What Do You Get in the Universal Plus Stand Mixer?

The Bosch mixer comes with a plastic 6.5 Quart bowl that locks into place, and the bowl can handle up to 15 pounds of dough. You also get a full lid and splash ring, plus wire whips, a dough hook, bowl scraper, and cookie paddles. Everything centers around the metal driver, and the drive shaft is removable for easy cleaning.

And for those of you who hate “walking” mixers, the mixer has suction feet so it remains stationary and stable. Although this Bosch model MUM6N10UC is not a planetary mixer, the smaller Bosch Compact Mixer MUM4405 has a planetary gear system. (Wikipedia: How does a planetary mixing gear system help my mixer?)

While the powerful 800 Watt motor only comes with 4 main speeds, you also have access to the pulse function. Also this mixer has a lower low-speed and higher high-speed setting for more versatility.

And like other high-end stand mixers, Bosch offers a number of useful mixer attachments. In addition to the wire whips, cookie paddles, and dough hook, you can purchase these 11 stand mixer attachments.

I really like the Bosch add-ons like the food processor, grater, and slicer/shredder attachments because you can bypass your food processor for some common tasks. If you do small bread batches, for only a small loaf or two, you’ll find the dough hook extender a great attachment. And if you do a fair bit of blending in small quantities, you could nix your separate blender in many cases with the small blender add-on. However, if you want to use a full-size blender, I wouldn’t get the Bosch blender attachment.

It even has integrated cord storage, and since I like to keep my counters neat and free of cables all over the place, that’s a plus for me.

Pros and Cons of The Universal Plus Stand Mixers

Pros:

  • The compact head area means that this mixer has a lower vertical footprint than other consumer mixers.
  • The 6.5 Quart high volume mixing bowl is perfect for double and triple batches of bread, cookies, brownies, or other sweets. It’s larger than most any consumer brand’s mixing bowl and doughnut shaped for easier access. The Bosch Kitchen Machine is a workhorse dough mixer with breads and does well with wet dough, too.
  • The Splash Ring Lid has a removable center that makes it easy to add ingredients to the mixing bowl, and also keeps softer ingredients from “poofing” out of the bowl at high speeds.
  • The 800W motor is better for big jobs like bread dough mixing, quadruple batches of cookies, or candy-making that will bog down low powered consumer stand mixers. And if you’re worried about the high speeds causing your mixer to “walk” across the counter like some other brands, Bosch has added suction cups to keep your mixer stationary.
  • This mixer model here has an included bowl scraper. Why do small appliance companies think we don’t need a bowl scraper, anyway? Bosch knows better and has included one with the mixer accessories sold in this particular combination of attachments.

Cons:

  • The Kitchen Machine comes with fewer power settings, and some people like the extra levels between main speeds.
  • Attachments, as you’ll find with any brand of stand mixer, are specifically designed for the Universal Plus Kitchen Machines, so if you’re used to trading your old KitchenAid attachments with friends, you’ll lose that. On the plus side, if you upgraded to a newer series KitchenAid, the older attachments often don’t work with those, either.
  • Like many heavy duty mixers with large volume mixing bowls, very small batches of egg whites, whipping cream, or creaming of ingredients give this mixer some trouble due to the wide and deep bowl.
  • This Bosch mixer, like many small kitchen appliances sold in the U.S., is only usable in North America where US Standard Voltages of 110-120V and 50-60 hertz are available. You can’t use it overseas, in Europe, etc. with 220V outlets.
  • This mixer is a little bulky to wrap your arms around and while lighter than KitchenAids is still pretty awkward. If you have limited strength in your hands and arms, you may find it hard to move, which is fine if you leave on your countertop. So if the intended user is an elderly or disabled person, this could require a bit of help from another person when moving the mixer.

Versatility of Use

With the same variety of stand mixer attachments as you can find with a KitchenAid stand mixer, as well as the included wire whips, dough hook, splash ring and lid, cookie paddles, and bowl scraper, this mixer can handle a lot of tasks even beyond the heavy duty stand mixer tasks you plan to give it.

My favorite attachments of the ones listed above are the food processor, grater, and slicer/shredder. And the Meat Grinder is important for using some other attachments.

If you prefer using stainless steel bowls instead of plastic ones, you can get those as well.

What Buyers Say About Bosch’s Universal Plus Stand Mixers

Reviewers definitely like the extra power in this stand mixer over, for example, the 325W KitchenAid Artisan stand mixers, or the 575W KitchenAid Professional 600 Series.

The larger bowl with the wider access for adding ingredients is something reviewers also like, and they pretty much universally praise this heavy duty stand mixer for bread making over stand mixers by other major brands like KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and Hamilton Beach.

Other reviewers feel the mixer’s price is a little expensive for what is essentially a high-end, high-powered residential mixer. The plastic parts are also something they wish would be replaced. But as long as you realize this mixer is not a commercial-level stand mixer more like the KitchenAid Pro Line 7 Quart mixer and adjust your expectations accordingly, this really isn’t an issue.

And many purchasers are specifically moving over from KitchenAid mixers because they are tired of having to troubleshoot and repair or service their KitchenAids every year or two in some cases. Bosch, on the other hand, provides the Universal Plus mixer as their main stand mixer, and it’s a sturdy small kitchen appliance, with a special sealed oil transmission that Bosch says will extend its transmission lifetime quite a bit.

Who Should Buy This Bosch Universal Plus Stand Mixer

I know that most home bakers — and most well-equipped kitchens — have mixers already, but we often outgrow our kitchen appliances over time through wear and tear or growing beyond their limited capacity. If you or a family member or friend has ramped up your baking and bread making a lot over the years, you just might be craving a new, versatile, more powerful stand mixer. If you’re looking for an upgrade or replacement stand mixer for a baker in your life, this one is a good choice especially for bread making.

The higher wattage motor and larger bowl significantly add to the production capacity for bakers. And if you or your baker is a holiday baking fiend like the ones we have in our family, you’ll really appreciate the features in this mixer.

Who Shouldn’t Buy This Bosch Stand Mixer

Quite simply, if you’re not going to use the extra capacity, and don’t need the additional power, the only real advantage to this mixer is the attachments. But if you have many of those attachments for other mixer brands, you can’t use those on this mixer, so you’d have to buy them all over again.

It is kind of a toss-up there: buy a new mixer and have to get new attachments for your favorites, or replace an existing mixer with the same brand and model (which you might have outgrown a little) so you can use existing attachments. Keep in mind also that not all KitchenAid attachments, for example, work with different series or models, so you might be in the same boat with attempting to replace a current model.

It’s a bit expensive for a residential mixer, certainly not the cheapest stand mixer option, but if you want the best in consumer heavy duty stand mixers, are looking for quality baker gifts, or if you’re trying to replace the lower-powered and smaller capacity KitchenAid residential models, this may still be a solid choice for you.

Accessories and Related Items

Of all of the attachments for this stand mixer, I most recommend these.

You can also access the product manual and user guides at the Bosch website here.

Our Recommendation and Why

If you need to replace or upgrade a baker’s stand mixer, or are looking for a gift for a baker (especially bread bakers), what you’ll really like with the Universal Plus Kitchen Machine is the high volume bowl, very powerful motor, and Bosch attachments. You’ll get a solid high-end stand mixer that plows through the toughest tasks and will make your baking and dough making more efficient and enjoyable.

Amazon consistently has the best prices over department stores for stand mixers and small kitchen appliances. And of course the qualifying Amazon Free Shipping is nice, too. You’ve got to check out the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine Stand Mixer.

See at Amazon    Read Amazon Reviews

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KitchenAid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer Review – Best Stand Mixer For Home Bakers With 6-Quart Bowl

KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer

Stand Mixer Style: KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer
Our Reviewer Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
Brand: KitchenAid
Amazon Rating: 4.3 out of 5 Stars with 3264 Reviews
Model Number: KP26M1X
Best Used For: Consumer Mid Range Use
See at Amazon  Read Amazon Reviews

Summary

Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift for someone who loves to bake? You’ve come to the right place here at The Cook’s Measure. If getting the baker in your life a new powerful stand mixer like this KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer isn’t quite what you’re after, be sure to check out our gift guide for women who bake for even more ideas.

As you’ll see in our review, the KitchenAid KP26M1XER Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer is a true home baker’s stand mixer, with a larger than average bowl and a significantly stronger motor than mid-range mixers or even older KitchenAid mixers. You also have access to a wide range of attachment add-ons for expanding the tasks you can accomplish with a single appliance. If you’re looking to replace or upgrade an older or lower-powered stand mixer, this KitchenAid Pro 600 is a popular choice. With over 3,250 reviews (more than any other mixer), a Best Seller Rating of #11 in Stand Mixers, and a solid 4.3 Stars Amazon rating, this is clearly a sought-after choice for a KitchenAid stand mixer for bakers.

Power and Mixer Speeds:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Capacity:
9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)
Quality and Durability:
8 out of 10 stars (8.0 / 10)
Versatility of Add-Ons:
9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)
Overall Value:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)
Busy Family Cooks:
9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)
Couples Who Entertain:
9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)
Cooks Working Outside Home:
8 out of 10 stars (8.0 / 10)
Cooks Who Cook for One or Two:
7.5 out of 10 stars (7.5 / 10)
Cooking Enthusiasts or Pros:
9 out of 10 stars (9.0 / 10)

What Do You Get in this KitchenAid Stand Mixer?

The KitchenAid Professional 600 Series model KP26M1X comes with a spiral dough hook, flat beater, wire whip, a single-piece pouring shield, and a stainless-steel 6 quart mixing bowl with a comfortable handle, which is important when you’re hefting that big full bowl. You’ll be a hero to your family when you use the large capacity mixing bowl to turn out huge holiday cookie batches.

And KitchenAid offers nearly 15 more optional Professional Series 600 attachments if your baker needs more accessories. Common KitchenAid attachments for these mixers include the food grinder / food processor, pasta and noodle makers, juicers, grater-slicers, an ergonomic handle bowl, and the ice-cream maker.

KitchenAid Mixer Attachment Pack for Stand Mixers
I really like the KitchenAid add-ons like the food grinder, juicer/pulper, and grater-slicer attachments because you can bypass your food processor for some common tasks. You can even get these three items in the FPPA Mixer Attachment Pack for Stand Mixers on Amazon.

Unlike older KitchenAid products and many other stand mixer brands, this is a bowl-lift design which is more ridged than a tilt head and this Pro 600 allows for a stronger motor and the ability to add the spiral dough hook.

This all-metal 10-speed mixer has a direct-drive transmission and a powerful 575 Watt motor.

This Professional 600 Series design also boasts a 67-point Planetary Action, which provides extra torque to the gear system. (Wikipedia: How does a planetary mixing gear system help my mixer?)

Pros and Cons of KitchenAid Professional Series Stand Mixers

Pros:

  • The KitchenAid stand mixer bowl is made with steel. Steel is stiffer and more durable, and can handle more wear and tear. Other materials can be more resistant to corrosion and are often used because they are cheaper to process. But since the Pro Series mixers are best cleaned by hand-washing and drying immediately despite saying “dishwasher safe,” I really don’t think corrosion is going to be an issue. Plus I like a more durable mixing bowl.
  • With more extra speed settings than most comparable mixers, you have a lot of flexibility in the mixing process, but be sure to ramp up gradually to higher speeds if you don’t want a big “poof” of dry ingredients all over you and the counter on a sudden burst of higher power.
  • The larger volume 6-quart bowl is perfect for double and triple batches of cookies, brownies, or other sweets. And, as long as you follow the manual’s instructions regarding mixing speed and volume of ingredients, also good for bread making and other dense mixtures. As a mixer for cake batters, it’s top-notch.
  • The 575W motor is better for your big jobs like quadruple cookie batches or sticky holiday candy-making that will bog down a more common 325W stand mixer. And if you’re worried about the high speeds causing your stand mixer to “walk” (or is that “thump”?) across the counter, KitchenAid has added a very heavy base to keep it stable. Plus, the bowl clips in to keep it from oscillating and causing the mixer to move. Unlike smaller mixers or other high-powered models, the Pro 600 doesn’t shift around on the counter.

Cons:

  • The Professional 600 Series bowl-lift mixer doesn’t come with a bowl scraper attachment. So the sides of the bowl don’t always get scraped down properly, and you have to lower the bowl to get inside and scrape it down. However, there is a “SideSwipe” attachment (see below in Related Items) you can get which can help with that annoying little task.
  • In real life — in contrast to a test lab — particularly dense bread mixes are really better to do in a made-for-purpose bread machine or with a stand mixer with more power, like the Bosch Universal Plus (read our review). While KitchenAid small appliances like this stand mixer can certainly do bread dough, a really dense mix will still put a strain on the motor over time, especially at a higher speed, which is why KitchenAid says to never mix bread dough at above a 2 setting to avoid wear and tear on the gears. You might have problems from the first, or you may just experience a gradual wearing on the mixer over time.
  • This mixer, like many KitchenAid small appliances, is only usable in North America where US Standard Voltages of 110V to 120V and 60 hertz are available. You can’t use it overseas, in Europe, etc. with 220V outlets or with an adapter.
  • The KitchenAid Pro Series mixer is bulky in your arms and weighs over 25 pounds according to KitchenAid’s specs. I’ve lifted one and it is like trying to lug a huge anchor around your kitchen. If you have limited strength in your hands and arms, you may find it hard to move, which is fine if you plan to leave on your countertop for all eternity. And clipping in the bowl takes some hand and finger strength, as well as a bit of dexterity, so if you’re an elderly or disabled person, this could cause some issues or require a bit of help from another person. You can pay them for help in cookies!

A couple of words to the wise on using this mixer:

  1. Don’t use more than 14 cups of flour in cookie, cake, or batter recipes. And avoiding more than 8 to 10 cups of flour for breads should be fine.
  2. When making bread, you shouldn’t have to knead for more than 4-8 minutes maximum. Don’t judge based on your hand-kneading, because this stand mixer is far more aggressive in its kneading process. KitchenAid says that 2 minutes after the dough starts to clean the walls of the bowl is fine, but use your judgment with some experimentation to determine the best time. Just err on the side of caution. Like cooking meat, you can always go back for more but can’t undo “overdone.”

Versatility of Use

With KitchenAid’s variety of different stand mixer attachments, as well as the included wire whisk, flat beater, spiral dough hook, and pouring shield, this mixer can handle a lot of tasks even beyond the baking tasks you plan to give it.

The bowl lift design makes it easier to add ingredients than a tilt head mixer. And you won’t have to worry about batter spills messing up your counter unless you forget to take out the beater, whip, or hook first.

While the larger bowl might give you some troubles if you are working with a very small batch of egg whites or whipped cream, there is a 3 Quart Bowl and Combi-Whip you can purchase to use with this attachment head. And that’s the perfect size for smaller batches.

If you pulp fruits and berries for jams or juicing, you can get a great attachment for that, too.

The Pro 600 Series Stand Mixer shown here is in Nickel Pearl, but you get up to 10 different colors to choose from, too, so matching kitchen colors is easier! Green Apple, Tangerine, Licorice, Cobalt Blue, or Pink anyone?

What Buyers Say About KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Bowl Lift Stand Mixers

Reviewers definitely like the extra power in this stand mixer over, for example, the KitchenAid Artisan stand mixers at 325W. The extra speeds, auto-shut-off, and Soft-Start features are also welcome.

Other reviewers feel this mixer’s price is a little expensive for what is essentially a high-end residential mixer. They’re a bit disgruntled by the name “Professional” when it does not have the durability to handle commercial level tasks that need to be repeated multiple times a day every day in commercial use. I think as long as you realize the KitchenAid Professional 600 stand mixer is not a NSF commercial-level stand mixer like the KitchenAid 7 Quart Commercial stand mixers and higher and adjust your expectations accordingly, this really isn’t an issue.

Some reviewers have had problems with burning out their gears, but from the context of the KitchenAid mixer reviews, I suspect some might have been pushing the mixers beyond the manufacturer’s suggested operating instructions, which appear to be rather detailed in both composition of ingredients and speeds compared to earlier models of mixers. Frankly, with all the problems they had in earlier models and series of mixers, I rather expect KitchenAid has done this to try to prevent problems in this Professional series.

However, this potential durability issue is one reason, along with price, that I’ve downgraded my rating some. If you are confident of your ability to use this mixer within specifications, like 85%+ of the other reviewers giving excellent reviews you probably won’t have any issues.

Others don’t like the fact that certain “less demanded” Professional Series 600 colors are more expensive than others. The Artisan series had a lot more colors, but I think KitchenAid learned from their sales history that some colors were less popular, so they limited colors and runs for this mixer series. The lower number available with reasonable demand is always going to push up price some on those. But with 3 slightly different black KitchenAid Pro Series mixers, a Cobalt blue mixer, a couple shades of red stand mixers, and other fun colors like Tangerine, Pink, and Green Apple, plus good old white, sometimes that “just right” color is important to people buying a countertop stand mixer. For some of us, matching colors in the kitchen is a critical component of a “proper” kitchen.

Some reviewers have had troubles with the motor wearing out more quickly than expected but experienced users who are not having issues say that the key to not wearing out the motor is to carefully adhere to KitchenAid’s recommendations regarding quantities and mixing speeds for different types of tasks, especially with bread making or dense mixtures.

You can find more information to help you check out this model and design by downloading the user manual here.

Who Should Buy This KitchenAid Pro 600 Mixer

I know that most home bakers — and most well-equipped kitchens — have countertop mixers already, but we often outgrow our small appliances over time through wear and tear or growing beyond their limited capacity. If you’re looking for an upgrade or replacement stand mixer for a baker in your life, this one is a good choice.

The higher wattage motor and larger capacity bowl significantly add to the production capacity for bakers. And if your baker is a holiday baking fiend, they’ll really appreciate the features in this stand mixer.

Who Shouldn’t Buy This KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Quite simply, if you’re not going to use the extra capacity, and don’t need the additional power and speed settings, the only real advantage to this mixer is the attachments. But if you have many of those attachments for another brand or design of stand mixers, you may not be able to use those on this mixer, so you’d have to buy them all over again.

It is kind of a toss-up there: buy a new mixer and have to get new attachments for your favorites, or replace an existing mixer with the same brand and model (which you might have outgrown a little) so you can use existing attachments. I wish I could tell you “go for it” but I don’t know your budget for buying attachments, too.

It’s a bit expensive for a residential stand mixer, certainly not the cheapest KitchenAid mixer option, but if you want the best in consumer KitchenAid stand mixers, are looking for quality baker gifts, or if you’re trying to replace the lower-powered Artisan with its smaller capacity bowl or other versions, this may still be a solid choice for you.

Oh, and unlike many kitchen small appliances from other brands, you can get some of the really cool colors just like the Artisan Series. So if a colored stand mixer is an important part of giving the perfect gift, then you may not have a lot of other options.

Accessories and Related Items

If making pasta is your passion, the KitchenAid pasta attachments will certainly be useful. And Amazon’s prices are far better than retail or other outlets.

Our Recommendation and Why

If you need to replace or upgrade a baker’s stand mixer, or are looking for a gift for a baker, what you’ll really like with the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series is the 6 quart high capacity bowl, powerful 575W motor, and flexible add-ons. As the #15 Best Seller on Amazon it is a popular choice, especially for bakers, as noted by all the reviews by enthusiastic baking fiends. You’ll get a solid higher-end stand mixer by a well-established brand that will make your baking more efficient and enjoyable.

Amazon consistently has the best prices over department stores for KitchenAid stand mixers. For the special Amazon-specific pricing, be sure to check the current price at Amazon. It’s often lower than it appears until you add it to your cart. And of course the qualifying Amazon Free Shipping is nice, too. You’ve got to check out the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer.

See at Amazon    Read Amazon Reviews

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Top 15 Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Women Who Love to Bake

KitchenAid Pro 600 Stand Mixer in Empire Red
KitchenAid Pro 600 Stand Mixer in Empire Red
Are you looking for the perfect Christmas, Mother’s Day, or birthday gift for women who love to bake? Here are my Top 15 gift ideas for bakers.

I’ve included a range of holiday and birthday gifts for you to choose from, including luxury gift ideas if you’re shopping for that special present for your wife, fiancée or other woman in your life. These are great ideas for presents if you’re looking for more expensive gifts for your favorite ladies. I’ve also included some cool gifts for women when you’re buying gifts on a budget. These smaller gifts for bakers are sure to delight. I know I want a few of them!

Popular Gifts for Women Who Love to Bake

If you’re looking for a popular baking item for the women in your life, I’ve tried to include some ideas for presents for the woman who has everything. And if you’re shopping for a baker who is a daughter, mother, sister, in-law of any kind, grandma or even a Nana, she’ll like these gifts. If she likes to bake, and you surprise her with the perfect add-on to her baking tools collection, she is certain to find it thoughtful that you took the time to find her the perfect gift.

If you’re in a hurry to shop, Click Here for the Best Baking Gifts on Amazon.

Top 15 Best Baking Gift Ideas For Women for 2016

Drum Roll Please…

Top Luxury Gifts #1 to #5

Gift Idea #1 — KitchenAid KP26M1XER Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer

KitchenAid KP26M1XER Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer in Empire Red
In our review, you’ll see that the KitchenAid KP26M1XER Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer is a true baker’s stand mixer. With a 6 quart bowl to work in and a powerful 575-watt motor to drive its direct-drive transmission, this stand mixer is especially favored by bakers. KitchenAid has long since solved a problem it had with plastic gearboxes and this model comes with metal gearboxes standard since the spring of 2007. This particular model and size has over 3,260 reviews on Amazon, far more than any other mixer, and an average rating at this time of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

With the spiral dough hook, flat beater, wire whip, and a single-piece pouring shield, your lady baker will have a solid baker’s stand mixer. And KitchenAid offers over 15 more optional attachments if she needs more flexibility. The bowl is a lift design bowl which is more ridged than a tilt head and this design allows for a stronger motor and the ability to add the spiral dough hook.

Read Our Review

Or, if you’re looking for something a little different, check out our stand mixer reviews here.

Gift Idea #2 — Oster CKSTBRTW20 2-Pound Expressbake Breadmaker

Oster CKSTBRTW20 2-Pound Expressbake Breadmaker
The Oster CKSTBRTW20 2-Pound Expressbake Breadmaker is an excellent choice of a breadmaker for a larger family, and can do up to a 2-pound loaf. Right now it’s the #1 Best Seller in Bread Machines on Amazon, with an average 4.3 rating and over 1,400 reviews.

I recommended a different breadmaker last year (a Panasonic), but it didn’t do whole grain bread, and I decided to find a better model this year.

The Expressbake has a 13-hour programmable baking timer, so once you’ve got your bread recipes down pat, you can set and forget and come back anytime you want to fresh bread. I also like the 9 different bread settings (up from 5 for last year’s recommendation) and 3 crust settings. Who wants boring looking bread?

With a large LCD, you can see what stage the bread machine is in if you want to monitor its progress, and the Expressbake setting takes less than an hour to produce your loaf of bread. You can also work with dough or jam, although breads are my favorite. If you like to add nuts or fruits to your bread, there is an “add ingredient” tone to let you know when it’s time to act.

Here’s a small tip from a user (good for any bread machine):
Be sure to take the kneading paddle out of the bread right after you drop the loaf out on the table. Once removed, put in the bread pan but do not put in the kneading cylinder. The bread around the paddle is moist, and if it dries onto the cylinder, you may never get it off!

Gift Idea #3 — George Foreman GRP4EMB Black Evolve Grill

George Foreman GRP4EMB Black Evolve Grill
The George Foreman GRP4EMB Black Evolve Grill comes with 2 removable grill plates, 1 deep-dish bake pan and 1 cupcake and muffin pan insert. The 84-inch grill surface makes for some true cooking space on a tabletop grill, and the nonstick coating allows you to cook without butter or oil if you want, and it truly does work.

If you aren’t familiar with George Foreman grills in general, you’ll love these. They have removable grill plates that can be washed in the dishwasher and they are incredibly easy to clean, especially if you wipe them down while they’re cooling so junk doesn’t dry on and coat them. I LOVE my George Foreman Grill.

They come with an adjustable slope to help keep the fat off the food, and it’s amazing how much healthier foods are when cooking with the fat or excess oils draining off. This tabletop grill is also designed especially for bakers and includes a 4-plate starter set (2 grill plates, 1 deep-dish bake pan and 1 cupcake and muffin pan insert). Easy to use to bake. Even easier to clean up.

Best of all, you can use this for more than just baking. You can do all the normal indoor easy grilling, and you can also get other inserts like the omelet and snack plate set, a waffle plate set, a shallow griddle pan, and the mini burger insert. George Foreman grills are truly multi-functional appliances and well worth the counter space.

My George Foreman grill is one of my most-prized kitchen appliances. What more could any women want ‐ easy to clean, does lots of different things, works specially for baking, and healthy cooking, too!

Gift Idea #4 — Wilton 2109-0309 Ultimate Professional Cake Decorating Set

Wilton 2109-0309 Ultimate Professional Cake Decorating Set
Be sure to take a look at the Wilton 2109-0309 Ultimate Professional Cake Decorating Set. If the women in your life loves to bake cakes, then this is an essential tool for her. It has all of the essential tips, cutters, shaping tools, spatulas and more to give her the ability to create even better masterpieces than before.

Indulge her passion for cake decorating and get her this ultimate set of cake tools for a Christmas gift. And of course you’ll be the wonderful person who gave her this useful cake decorating and baking set, so you should get to taste the results, right?

Everything she’ll need to decorate a cake is available here. One caution — if your gift recipient is a beginner enthusiast to cake decorating, this set doesn’t come with a "how to use these tools " manual. My best recommendation is to get these three Wilton lesson books as well if she needs some guidance on how to get started. A few step-by-step instructions with pictures never hurts.

  1. Wilton Decorating Basics course 1
  2. Wilton Wilton Lesson Plan — Flowers & Cake Design
  3. Wilton Gum Paste and Fondant Lesson Plan

Gift Idea #5 — Wilton Decorate Smart Ultimate Rolling Tool Caddy

Wilton Decorate Smart Ultimate Rolling Tool Caddy
Wilton Decorate Smart Ultimate Rolling Tool Caddy is my favorite choice for a decorating kit tool caddy. The wheels, in my opinion, make it more practical than a flat base kit that you have to migrate from place to place on your counters or find a place to store it.

Most bakers like our tools organized, and this Wilton caddy is great for that. Four levels of drawers and compartments keep everything just so, and I really like the tip organizer because the tips are stored upright and easy to spot.

If she’s been baking for long, she has probably already collected a considerable number of Wilton or other accessories to practice her baking hobby or avocation. But if she hasn’t, you should also look at the Wilton Ultimate Professional Cake Decorating Set because it has a huge selection of all the basics a budding baker is going to want in her baking toolset.

Chances are good that if you hover in the kitchen while she’s decorating or baking, you might spot some gaps in the tools she has available, and you can check out the Wilton options on Amazon for more choices.

Best Reasonably-Priced Gifts #6 to #11

Gift Idea #6 — Norpro 3301 Cookie Press

Norpro 3301 Cookie Press
The Norpro 3301 Cookie Press makes dropping cookie dough a much easier proposition that my grandmother’s old “two-spoon” method.

While I’m not going to claim that Grandma’s old methods are outdated — not if I ever want cookies in THIS family again — when you’ve got a lot of holiday cookies to bake or bake sale batches to prepare, something faster is a good thing.

Plus I like the 24 different accessories to make pretty cookie shapes and decorations. You even get a recipe book and instructions in case you’re looking for some extra inspiration.

Gift Idea #7 — Snow River 7V03152 18-Inch by 24-Inch by 3/4-Inch Embossed Pastry Board

Snow River 7V03152 18-Inch by 24-Inch by 3/4-Inch Embossed Pastry Board
Snow River 7V03152 18-Inch by 24-Inch by 3/4-Inch Embossed Pastry Boards are solid hardwood boards designed and premarked for bakers. A lot of bakers work on a hardwood board for stability and a pre-marked board makes sizing and measuring far easier while you’re rolling out dough for pies, phyllo dough, biscuits, or pastries.

The pastry board is crafted to ensure consistent moisture content to avoid cracking or splitting, so your baker will have this pastry board for a long time to come.

There’s also a nice weights, measurements, and liquids conversion chart for those of us who can never remember how tablespoons translate to cups and back.

Gift Idea #8 — VillaWare V5375 Power Cookie Press

VillaWare V5375 Power Cookie Press
A VillaWare V5375 Power Cookie Press is a great holiday gift, birthday present, wedding present, or engagement gift for a baker, especially if she’s big on cookies!

It’s electric, cordless, and rechargeable, so this will definitely appeal to us ladies who like kitchen gadgets. (Hand raising here). It also comes with both everyday and holiday discs to create beautiful decorative (and tasty) cookies any time of the year.

The one reviewer so far says that she can manage 5 to 7 dozen cookies pressed out within about 1.5 hours. Compare that to Grandma’s spoons!

Unfortunately, as of December 27, 2015, this is out of stock at Amazon. I’ll keep you posted when it comes back in stock, and if you really like it and are in a hurry, I left the link to Amazon live so you can click and check any time you’d like.

So I’ve added another cookie press here as an alternate gift idea for you for #8.

Gift Idea Alternate for #8 — OXO Good Grips Cookie Press with Stainless Steel Disks and Storage Case

versatile OXO Good Grips Cookie Press
A OXO Good Grips Cookie Press is a great holiday gift, birthday present, wedding present, or engagement gift for a baker, especially if she loves to bake cookies!

This is the #1 Best Seller in Cookie Presses on Amazon, with over 350 reviews.

In addition to the cookie press itself, you can also buy spring, autumn, and Christmas add-on disk sets so she can create yummy cookies all year long.

Gift Idea #9 — Wilton Fondant 20 Inch Rolling Pin

Wilton Fondant 20 Inch Rolling Pin
Wilton’s Fondant 20 Inch Rolling Pin is a solid choice for a baker’s rolling pin. Unlike most pie and pastry rolling pins, larger sheets of fondant sometimes need some extra handling capacity.

This 20-inch smooth and extra wide rolling pin can roll out a beautiful piece of fondant, especially if you add the separately available rings. Because there are no handles, the rolling surface doesn’t taper, and your baker has use of the full length of the fondant rolling pin. Its non-stick surface easily serves to lift and cover your cakes with the fondant sheet as well.

While you’ll get the best benefit from working with your cakes and fondant, it works well for pies and pastry, too. Some reviewers felt that it was harder on the hands to use, but others found it easier to use because it was heavier and worked well with the measuring rings.

Gift Idea #10 — Sur La Table White Marble Pastry Board HK165-50

Sur La Table White Marble Pastry Board HK165-50
This Sur La Table White Marble Pastry Board HK165-50 is a formidable 16×20 inch working surface for all of your baker’s pastry board needs. If your baker is working with tart shells or any other butter-based pastries, they need to maintain the dough’s consistency and keep cold butter bits intact so the dough can create essential flakiness.

Just working with refrigerated dough won’t cut it because the rolling pin and board create friction and heat while working with the dough. If the butter bits aren’t cold enough, the dough won’t be its best, and the natural coolness of the marble in this pastry board helps reduce issues with melting.

Gift Idea #11 — Wilton Tilt N Turn Ultra Cake Turntable

Wilton Tilt N Turn Ultra Cake Turntable
Wilton’s Tilt N Turn Ultra Cake Turntable gives bakers the best of both worlds with its ability to both rotate cakes for decorating around the sides and also tilt cakes to better reach different surfaces.

Cake decorating is precise work and takes a steady hand to make beautiful baked art. The non-slip design and balanced base weight helps hold the plate surface securely, and the rotating top plate rotates in either direction for left-handed use or right-handed manipulation.

While working on a section, a baker can lock it down, and the 18 different plate tilt positions are also secure.

The Wilton Tilt N Turn Ultra is taller than many compact turntables used in cake design at 5 inches, and the plate is 12 inches in diameters, so it can hold a larger cake comfortably.

Best of all, Amazon users rate it currently at 4.9 out of 5 Stars, which is an incredible rating. Reviewers rave about how stable and useful it is, and wonder how they ever got along with other cake stands and cake decorating turntables before.

Best Budget Gifts #12 to #15

Gift Idea #12 — OXO Good Grips Silicone Cookie Spatula

OXO Good Grips Silicone Cookie Spatula
OXO Good Grips Silicone Cookie Spatula
How much can you say about a cookie spatula? Normally not much, although this pretty dude does come in blue, green, red, and grey/black.

However, OXO makes an incredible kitchen utensil, with the best comfortable grips I’ve ever found on any spatula, spoon, or turner. And I started with silicone kitchen gadgets several years ago and I’ll never go back. They’re basically non-stick, and the utensils don’t heat up when you leave them touching a pan or pot, and that’s a major blessing. Plus the silicone surface doesn’t hurt your pots and pans when you scuff along or scrape them along the bottom or sides to scoop, loosen, or lift things.

So I guess there’s a lot you can say about a cookie spatula, at least one with as good a grip and as useful a surface as Oxo’s ones.

Gift Idea #13 — Fox Run, Silicone Baking Mat with Measurements

Fox Run, Silicone Baking Mat with Measurements
Fox Run Silicone Baking Mats with Measurements are a wonderful addition to any baker’s kitchen, especially if she struggles with space issues because it can be rolled or stored flat. She can use it in all oven types and it provides a wonderful heat distribution for baked goods.

There are metric to Imperial weight and measure conversions if your baker needs them, but I think its best features are the fact that it rolls up to store away, and the silicone mat is both stain-proof and resistant to “stuff” sticking on it. To clean it, it just needs to be wiped down with a damp, soft sponge and warm water, and only needs some soap in extreme cases.

However, this mat isn’t good for cutting or scraping dough because it will damage the silicone surface. It also shouldn’t be used under a broiler or on a grill. But for a baker to use in creating even, well-baked goods, it is a nice kitchen baking tool.

Gift Idea #14 — AmoVee Professional 11lbs/5000g Compact Digital Food Scale Baking Scale

AmoVee Professional 11lbs/5000g Compact Digital Food Scale Baking Scale
The AmoVee Professional 11lbs/5000g Compact Digital Food Scale Baking Scale doesn’t take up a lot of room in your kitchen, and it serves as a general kitchen and food scale. It’s also accurate and precise enough for baking enthusiasts down to 0.1oz or 1 gram, and can manage 11 lbs or 5kg without problems.

I love the tare and auto-off features. I can’t stand messing with a scale to zero it out. And you’re safe wherever your baker lives or bakes. It will do grams, pounds, and ounces for weighing or conversion.

Normally inexpensive products like this turn out to be somewhat cheap in manufacture or quality, but despite the price, this scale appears to perform much better than reviewers expected. Just keep in mind that this is a “compact” scale. If the baker in your life needs one for measuring large containers, it might be too small for that.

Gift Idea #15 — #1 Rated Silicone Baking Cups / Cupcake Liners

The Number 1 Rated Silicone Baking Cups / Cupcake Liners
#1 Rated Silicone Baking Cups and Cupcake Liners are an incredible holiday present for any baker. I’ve got them on my Christmas present list, too. No more messy paper baking cups again.

They are made of BPA-free, FDA approved, Eco-friendly, and non-stick silicone. And because they are flexible, it’s incredibly easy to get baked treats out of them. They’re oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe for easy use.

With reusable silicone baking cups, bakers won’t have to hassle with muffin tins or cupcake papers, and they’ll go right on a baking sheet into the oven. And I’ve got my eye on them for some of the other suggestions they mention — Ice-cream desserts, cheesecakes, gelatin, and gooey chocolate-lined desserts. I can’t wait to get mine for Christmas.

Wrapping Up Our Best Gift Ideas for Women Who Bake

Sadly enough, we can’t include every possible fabulous baker’s product here to choose from, but these should be a good start for you to help pick out a wonderful present for the women in your life who bake. Whether you’re shopping for a girlfriend, wife, sister, mother, mother-in-law or sister-in-law, or other family member or friend, if she loves to bake, she’s sure to find something on this page a wonderful gift under the tree.

So happy shopping, and hopefully our holiday gift guide for women who love to bake will help you make the cooks in your life happy this Christmas and all year round.