10 Must Have Baking Tools Under $25

So, you have a recipe, and you’re ready to put it to the test. Baking requires quite a few tools, but that doesn’t mean you have to shell out hundreds for your home kitchen! That’s why we took the time to search for the top utensils you’re going to need for your best cookies yet…and each one is under $25. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Nonstick Pastry Mat

One of the most important baking tools is a pastry mat to place and roll out dough. Made of silicone, this mat won’t slip and is easy to clean after use. Plus, if you’re using it for other recipes, it has diameter measurements for foods like bread and pies.

Nonstick Pastry Mat, Williams Sonoma, $19.95

Ateco Pastry Bag Decorating Kit

We talked about the importance of sustainability, and these nylon bags support it – just hand-wash and use them again and again. Same goes for the stainless-steel tips and plastic coupler, which will give you the perfect dollop every time.

Pastry Bag Decorating Kit, Williams Sonoma, $19.95

Small Straight Icing Spatula

If you’re icing cookies, skip your kitchen knife and opt for this icing spatula instead. The rounded blade ensures even spreading, and it will smooth out any bumps of chunky icing that may have slipped in there.

Small Icing Spatula, Williams Sonoma, $4.99 – $21.95

Insulated Cookie Sheet

If you’re looking to up your sheet-game, this one uses insulated aluminum to give you the perfect cookies each time. The inner air chamber works to distribute heat across all cookies evenly, so you can say goodbye to burnt bottoms!

Insulated Cookie Sheet, Crate & Barrel, $16.95

Cookie Spatula

I’m really impatient, so I tend to just peel off cookies from the sheet. However, this often leads to the middles sinking and sticking. This cookie spatula is made of flexible silicone, so you can ease it under the cookies and lift up, minus the sink-age.

Cookie Spatula, Crate & Barrel, $7.99

Cooling Rack

Cooling racks help evenly set cookies by allowing air to circulate around the bottoms and tops. This will give you the texture you’re looking for: a perfect bite of ooey-gooey insides and crisp edges, without the mushy bottoms.

Cooling Rack, Crate & Barrel, $9.95

White Marble Rolling Pin

This marble rolling pin is absolutely gorgeous – use it as décor when you’re not rolling out dough. The marble stays cold, making it ideal for working dough that’s temperature-sensitive, or with ingredients like cold butter.

Marble Rolling Pin, World Market, $19.95

Kolder Glass Mix-In-Measure

We would be remiss to not mention our neighbors, the amazing Toque Blanche in Downtown Santa Cruz! This glass holds up to two cups, but the best part: it also marks tablespoons, teaspoons, and ounces. No more frantic googling “how many tablespoons are in a cup?”

Kolder Glass Mix-In-Measure, Toque Blanche, $7.99

Cookie Scoop

This cookie scoop is stainless steel and machine washable, so you can throw it in the dishwasher without ruining it. It will give you the perfect portion each time, meaning your cookies will come out evenly.

Cookie Scoop, Bed Bath & Beyond, $13.99 – $15.99

Digital Glass Kitchen Scale

Kitchen scales are super important when you’re baking. Sure, you can measure with a cup, but nothing will be more accurate than a scale. And when you’re dealing with precise measurements, it’s better to be safe than end up with crumbly or runny dough.

Digital Scale, Sur La Table, $24.95

What are your must-haves for baking? We want to know! Give us your recommendations in the comments.

Mother’s Day 2021 Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and we’ve got just what Mom needs this year…fresh-baked, gourmet cookies of course! We’ve put together a list of our top picks, which includes our brand new cookie towers!

Vintage Tulips Cookie Tower

Our BRAND NEW cookie tower is quite possibly the cutest gift to send this year! You’re basically sending Mom cookies and tulips. Well, not real tulips but like, you get the point. Select two of her favorite flavors and include your personalized message at checkout. Easy as can be!

Vintage Tulips Cookie Tower, $19.95

Wildflower Cookie Tower

You’ll be sending Mom Mother’s Day wishes AND Spring Greetings with our NEW Wildflower Cookie Tower. Inspired by California’s beautiful wildflowers, this is a sweet yet simple way to show Mom some love! She’ll be delighted to find our delicious, gourmet cookies inside!

Wildflower Cookie Tower, $19.95

With all My Heart

This totally reminds us of the arrow-running-through-heart-mom-tattoo. Right?! Show Mom your loyalty, without the permanent ink, with our NEW cookie tower: With all My Heart. You can pick from our red, white or pink hearts (or, send Mom one of each?!). Each tower includes one dozen scrumptious cookies!

With All My Heart Cookie Tower, $19.95 each

Sweet Elegance

Our most popular gift box is a great way to say, “Happy Mother’s Day!”. What’s even sweeter is you can pick Mom’s favorite color combinations AND her four favorite flavors. You seriously can’t go wrong with this one!

While these are just a few of our favorites for this year, any of our gourmet cookie gifts will make a perfect Mother’s Day Gift. Wishing all the amazing Moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Sugar and its Alternatives

Sugar and Its Alternatives

Sugar is what makes cookies so… well, sweet. But sometimes, you may realize you’ve run out of sugar right in the middle of a recipe. Or maybe you prefer an alternative. Or maybe, you’re looking to remove refined sugar from your diet. Well, look no further: these are sugar substitutes you can use. Bonus: you probably already have at least one in your cupboard.

Honey

Honey has different variants based on the flower, which will slightly alter the taste of your cookies – in a good way. Rather than your typical, white sugar-cane extract, it’s nice and rich, and the different tastes will give your cookies a unique twist. Check your local farmer’s market for the freshest honey!

Fruit Concentrates

No, we’re not talking fruit juice, with all that added sugar – we’re talking concentrates, which are the fruit extracts with water removed. These concentrates add a hint of sweetness to any recipe – we recommend bananas and figs.

Natural Maple Syrup

The key here is that it’s natural: pancake syrup has extra sweeteners, which can make it even sweeter than your half-cup of white sugar. The nutrients in maple syrup are attractive – it contains antioxidants and calcium, for example. What’s not to love?

Apple Sauce

Yep, I’m serious, it’s not just for babies and hospital cafeterias. It’s kind of like fruit concentrates, but you can buy the unsweetened type for less of a sugar punch; we promise it’ll still taste good! It’s also a fantastic substitute for eggs, so you can keep a recipe dairy-free and sweet.

Molasses

Molasses is what comes from processing sugar. So, why should you choose molasses over your typical white sugar? Well, molasses is less sweet with a specific, subtle taste, which can give your usual cookies a richer hit. It also contains a few nutrients, including iron and vitamins.

Any of these alternatives will enhance your cookies’ flavor profiles, so have fun experimenting! Which are your favorite alternatives to use? Let us know in the comments.

What to do with Burnt Cookies

It happens to the best of us—you turn your back for a minute too long and your cookies are burnt. But just because they’re a little charred doesn’t mean you have to throw them out! There are still many delicious ways to use the cookies. Here are our favorite ways to reuse them:

Try Saving Them

Rather than throw in the towel the minute the bottoms are black, you can try scraping off the burnt bits. Take a knife or grater and carefully scratch away at the dark spots. Sometimes, cookies can be salvaged if they’re only slightly burnt, so don’t panic right away.

Use as a Crust

Needing a pie crust? Throw your cookies in a food processor, add some butter, and voila: you have one. Cheesecake is another perfect dessert that could benefit from cookies. Try unique combinations; for example, peanut butter cookies as a crust for an Oreo cake, or salted caramel cookies for a chocolate cheesecake slice.

Make Ice Cream Sandwiches

If your cookies are only barely burnt, then their crunch will be delicious when sandwiching ice cream. Simply grate off the most charred bits! You can add some oomph by decorating with toppings to the ice cream and cookies—think dipped in chocolate or covered in sprinkles.

Crumble ‘Em Up

The easiest way to use burnt cookies is in a crumble. You can either throw the cookies in the food processor or crumble by hand, then sprinkle them on top of ice cream, iced cupcakes, and other desserts for a satisfying crunch factor.

Long story short: don’t throw your cookies straight into the trash because you assume you can’t eat them. Try any of the above and enjoy that chocolate chip cookie you were about to miss out on.