Are Countertop Ovens Worth the Splurge?

I’ve run into this problem multiple times: I’m trying to make dinner and dessert at the same time, but the baking temperatures are so drastically different that I’ll either burn or undercook one of them. So, I decided to look into countertop ovens. I was weary at first: how can you beat the standard? I was especially skeptical because I’ve owned toaster ovens, and they’re good at…toasting, and not much else. (Even reheating food can be a miss.)

But through my research, I’ve found some that are just as good as your usual.

Wolf Gourmet Countertop Oven Elite

We love double-decker ovens, but they can be hard to find when you need a smaller one. Wolf Gourmet’s oven is, just as the name says, elite. It has seven cooking modes, including bake, and it promises to reduce cooking time by 25%, and with its powerful fan and high-volume airflow vents, your food will bake evenly.

Breville Mini Smart Oven

This oven is on the more affordable side, but you won’t be sacrificing quality. The cool thing about this oven: it has eight settings, and one is specifically for cookies! It’s on the smaller side, but it can still fit 11-inch pizzas and four slices of bread – meaning you’ll have no issues fitting your cookies in there!

Anova Precision Oven

“From baking to sous vide, this smart steam oven is your new kitchen BFF.” That’s what The Wall Street Journal has to say about Anova’s combi-precision oven, so you know it’s gotta be good. Your standard ovens can reach 60° higher than you’d like; this oven makes sure the temperature is consistent throughout the cycle.

Oster Stainless Steel Convection Oven with Pizza Drawer

This oven is perfect if you’re trying to cook dinner for the fam, then bake cookies while eating dinner all in one oven. With its drawer for food like pizza, quesadillas, or bruschetta, say goodbye to ordering out. While the oven and pizza drawer can’t be used simultaneously, it’s perfect for small spaces or trips – think to the cabin in the woods or a tiny home.

Luby Large Toaster Oven Countertop

This is sold as a toaster oven, so I wasn’t sure about including this… but let me tell you, it does it all. Like, you can fit a 20-pound turkey OR bake a 24-cup muffin tray. It has two racks, and the coolest part is that you can choose separate cooking temps for each rack at the exact same time. Plus, the French door design doesn’t take up extra counter space, making it ultra-efficient.

KitchenAid – Convection Toaster/Pizza Oven

Another convection toaster and pizza oven? I promise I’m not leading you astray. This oven has 13 functions, including bake and convection bake, as well as its own option for cookies. (It also has options like pizza, roast, and reheat.) It’s so baker-friendly that it even comes with a bake pan, meaning one less product to find that actually fits into a small countertop oven.

We hope these ovens work for you! Do you own a countertop oven? Let us know in the comments!

Products That Will Solve Minor Kitchen Problems

You have the mixer, you have the sheets, you have the cookie scoops. All of these make your life easier! But there are some issues that are just… well, annoying. I’m constantly looking for products that will make my kitchen life easier, so I did a search, and I found products and upgrades that will change the way you bake. Read on for my favorite picks!

Magnetic Knife Holder

Don’t place your metal baking utensils in a drawer or high in a cabinet. This magnetic strip will hold all of your metal baking tools, including knives and icing spatulas, so you no longer have to dig through cupboards to find the right attachments for your mixer.

Floating Wall Shelf

If you love a rustic feel within your home, this shelf fits right into the aesthetic. It comes with eight S-hooks for any utensils, pots, or pans, and it doubles as a paper towel holder should you remove the hooks. The shelf is a fashionable bonus.

Bakeware Storemore Adjustable Rack

I am so tired of digging through pots, pans, racks, and muffin tins to find my favorite cookie sheet. That’s why I’m obsessed with this adjustable rack. I can place all of my baking items here and see and grab them easily, rather than rifling through a pile of metal.

X-Chef Kitchen Rail with 15 S Hooks

The floating shelf is nice, but sometimes you need more. Each rack has 15 S-hooks, and it comes in a pack of two – yep, I just said that $28 will give you 30 S-hooks. If that’s too many, feel free to remove as many as you want, but we have a feeling your space-saving self will be using them all.

Over The Sink Multipurpose Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack

I hate things that take up precious kitchen space. So much. When I didn’t have a dishwasher, I had to use a dish rack that sat permanently next to the sink, and it seriously cramped my style. This roll-up dish drying rack is there when you need it, and gone when you don’t. Where was this when I needed one?

Adjustable Expandable 4 Tier Steel Spice Rack 

My spice drawer is a mess – just being honest – so this spice rack is serious eye candy to me. It’s expandable, from 13 ¼ inches to 26 ½ inches, meaning it can fit in your drawer no matter how narrow it is. The bottom four tiers have 4 ½ inches of space, and the top has about 2 inches, but the slant stops them from blocking your drawers.

What kitchen items have made your life easier? Tell us below!

Alternatives to Butter

Look, sometimes you run out of butter. Or sometimes you just don’t want to use butter. Sometimes you want a different taste than what butter usually gives you. Whatever the case, butter isn’t always the right choice – even when you’re baking cookies. We spoke about oil as a substitute previously, but with so many different types, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. These are our favorite oil substitutes and how they can give your cookies an extra taste.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is one of the preferred oils to use in place of butter. It’s derived from a type of rapeseed, and has a low amount of erucic acid (which is linked to fatty deposits in heart muscles). It also has the most neutral taste, is a light texture, and can withstand high temperatures of heat, making it ideal for baking. Use a ¾ cup of canola oil in replacement of one cup of butter.

Avocado Oil

Avocado is great for you heart and filled with oleic acid, an unsaturated fat which can help by lowering cholesterol and reduce inflammation within the body. Refined avocado oil’s flavor tastes mildly like avocado (of course), and unrefined avocado oil can have a bit more of its grassy taste. When cooked, however, it generally is more tasteless than olive oil. Use the same amount of avocado oil as you would butter.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains healthy fatty acids, though it’s higher in saturated fats – sort of like butter. However, there are many benefits to coconut oil. First, the science: coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of shorter fatty acid train. These go to your liver and turn into either a boost in energy or ketones; ketones can help with overall brain health. MCTs may also increase how many calories your body burns, reduce hunger, and be heart-healthy. Its taste is neutral, so you won’t know it’s in your food, and you can substitute at a 1:1 ratio.

Olive Oil

The main downside to olive oil is its taste – no matter how much you cook it, it’ll alter the flavor. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on what you’re baking, but definitely keep it in mind and try to find a “mild” olive oil to avoid the taste. If you’re baking something with citrus-y flavors, or vegetables like zucchini, lemon cookies and zucchini bread can taste good with this oil. Substitute three parts olive oil for four parts butter.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is high in vitamin E – as in, one tablespoon has 28% of a person’s daily recommended intake. However, it’s also filled with omega-6 fatty acids (which can be pro-inflammatory within the body), so if you use it, balance it out with omega-3s to keep it heart-healthy. If you can’t balance it out, just use it in moderation. Replace one cup of butter with ¾ of a cup of sunflower oil.

Peanut Oil

Make sure no one has a peanut allergy before serving with peanut oil. If you’re in the clear, this is a delicious substitute if you’re looking for a slightly nutty taste; it’s versatile, so it doesn’t need to be used solely with peanut-based goodies. It’s filled with vitamin E and omega-9s, but it’s also high in omega-6s, so use it in moderation. It has a high smoking point, so heat is no problem for this. Substitute three parts peanut oil for four parts butter.

What oils do you use in replacement of butter? Are you going to try any of the above? Share your thoughts with us!

Alternatives to Baking Powder

Baking powder helps foods to expand in the oven, giving you your perfectly-puffed pastries and cookies. But sometimes, you don’t have baking powder, or you’re looking for a twist. Luckily, there are ingredients you can use in place of baking powder! Read on to learn.

First: What’s Baking Powder, Exactly?

Baking powder is a leavening agent. Made of sodium bicarbonate and an acid (such as cream of tartar), a chemical reaction occurs when it mixes with water. This releases carbon dioxide and makes bubbles, which then increase volume.

Alternatives to Baking Powder

Before you start, stock up on baking soda. It doesn’t contain an acid, so it must mix with one to have a reaction. These suggestions are acidic and will help start the chemical reaction.

1. Molasses

Molasses is usually used as a replacement for your usual sugar. But despite its sweet taste, it’s fairly acidic. Therefore, when it mixes with baking soda, the chemical reaction is set off. For substitution, use a quarter cup of molasses and quarter teaspoon of baking soda for one teaspoon of baking powder. Because it’s so sweet, lessen the amount of sugar you’re using.

2. Buttermilk

Old-fashioned buttermilk is made by churning sweet cream into butter, while commercial buttermilk is made my adding bacterial culture to milk, therefore causing fermentation. This fermentation then breaks down sugar into acid, therefore causing a chemical reaction when its acidic properties are mixed with baking soda. Substitute half a cup of buttermilk and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda for one teaspoon of baking powder. Because it’s liquid, lessen the amount of liquid ingredients to avoid a watery result.

3. Milk That’s Gone Sour

You don’t have to throw out your expired milk just because you can’t eat cereal with it. Sour milk goes through a process, acidification, which leads to a drop in pH levels, making it acidic. Combine it with baking soda, and you’ll have the ideal leavening agent. Substitute half a cup of milk and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda for one teaspoon of baking powder. And don’t forget to lessen your liquid ingredients!

4. Lemon Juice

Warning: you’ll taste the lemon if you need to substitute for a lot of baking powder, so save this for recipes that have lemon or only use a little bit of baking powder. For example: lemon cookies and lemon cakes will taste fantastic with the added citrus. Substitute half a teaspoon of lemon juice and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda for one teaspoon of baking soda.

Did you know you can use these as substitutes? Which will you be using? Let us know!