Our Favorite Cooking Tools

The key to great, easy cooking, is having the right kitchen gadget for the job.
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The dishes are as appropriate in a gallery as in a restaurant or your kitchen table. They act as a reminder: To eat with your eyes first.

The Bread-Baking Chef Turned Potter Behind Some of New York's Most In-Demand Dishes

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Aciar’s current work takes influences from a range of sources. Blotches of black on one of his designs suggest the ink-drenched wrist of an inspired poet. A set of white cups with yellow interiors shine in the light, like fresh farm eggs. A pale blue set with navy trim recalls the wabi sabi of an antique Japanese indigo: beautiful because of (not in spite of) its imperfections.

The Bread-Baking Chef Turned Potter Behind Some of New York's Most In-Demand Dishes

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“Making bread and making pottery come from the same place,” says Fernando Aciar, the bread-baker and chef-turned-potter who launched Fefo Studio last year. Both demand strength and dexterity, the power to turn a lump of raw material into something beautiful.

The Bread-Baking Chef Turned Potter Behind Some of New York's Most In-Demand Dishes

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THE ANCIENT CRAFT OF GULLAH BASKET WEAVING. n the Lowcountry of Charleston, the Gullah-Geechee people keep an African tradition alive

The Ancient Craft of Gullah Basket Weaving

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The pinnacle of Japanese chef knives at the vendor Aritsugu, which has been crafting knives since 1560 like this lightweight one perfect for precision fish and vegetable work.

9 Genius Kitchen Tools to Steal From Kyoto, Japan

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The same family in Kyoto has been making these moisture-proof storage containers since 1875. A cult favorite for chefs and serious tea fans, they can be used to store anything.

9 Genius Kitchen Tools to Steal From Kyoto, Japan

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Unlike the heavy molcajete you have your tableside guac served in, this Japanese-style mortar and pestle is lightweight, with a fine-toothed wave pattern inside that makes grinding nuts and seed pastes, like a black sesame paste for mochi, extra simple.

9 Genius Kitchen Tools to Steal From Kyoto, Japan

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Buy a mortar and pestle, suffer a half hour at most of buyer's remorse, and then be a slightly better cook forever.

Why It's Really, Truly Worth it to Finally Buy Yourself a Mortar and Pestle, Because it'll Make You a Better Cook

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Baking sky-high cakes isn't science; it's engineering, and our favorite baking tools make it easy.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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OXO Stainless Steel Scale | By now you’ve likely heard that measuring by weight instead of volume makes for more consistent baked goods. This is true, and it’s doubly true for layer cakes, because even the best eyeballer isn’t going to nail evenly dividing a batch of batter into multiple pans. This baking scale with a pull-out display and tare function (for subtracting the weight of the pan) solves that problem.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Pastry Bags | If you plan to make delicate icing decorations, you’ll need a piping bag and some tips. This basic model is fine; start with simple designs and work your way to more complex ones.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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OXO Pastry Brush | Some layer cakes get brushed with a sugar syrup to keep them moist after baking but before icing. A pastry brush ensures that syrup gets distributed evenly.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Wilton Off Set Spatula | What’s wrong with the spatulas you already have? Those are great for smooshing around batter, but not so much for spreading icing around evenly. For that you need a long, thin spatula with an offset angle to keep your hands out of the way; it’s a vital way to get smooth edges on your cake. Also pick up a small one for fine detail work.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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BIA Cordon Bleu Porcelain Cake Stand | If you’ve gone through all the trouble to make a lavishly decorated layer cake, it’s worth putting on a pedestal (I mean, how many times do we get to literally do that for our desserts?) But cake stands also have a practical function: When it comes to icing your cake, it helps to give it some vertical clearance from the counter, and a base you can spin with one hand is a big help. I love this simple porcelain cake stand, which is affordable yet elegant ...

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Wilton Cake Circles | Once your layers are baked, how do you move your cake around? Cake rounds: thin discs of cardboard that give you a stable base to move and ice your cake. If you want to pass on this product, go ahead, don’t buy cake rounds...then try to move your cake around the kitchen. You’ll get them next time.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Chicago Cutlery Walnut Serrated Knife | If you’re splitting your cakes into thinner layers, you’ll need a serrated knife at least as long as your cake is wide. If that means you’re buying a serrated knife for the first time, here’s a sturdy, affordable one.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Wilton Cooling Rack | Cakes shouldn’t cool in their baking pans; moisture will condense into steam on the bottoms, making your perfectly baked layers gummy. Pick up some cooling racks so they can breathe.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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OXO Silicone Spatula | You’ll need some sturdy but flexible spatulas, too, and this three-piece set is long-lasting, and it includes a large one for spreading batter around and a smaller one for fine detail work.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Cooking Spray | The best way to keep the sides of your cake from sticking is pretty obvious: simple cooking spray. Line the bottom of your pan with a parchment round then spray the sides for a cake that’ll slip out with almost zero effort.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Regency Parchment Paper Liners | The single best way to keep your cake from sticking to the pan is a slip of parchment paper at the bottom. You can, if you want, do some parchment origami to make round circles from plain sheets, but these baking rounds are a cheap lifesaver that save a lot of hassle. Pick up a bunch and use them to line bamboo steamers as well.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Chicago Metallic Cake Pan | A layer cake begins with cake pans, eight or nine inches in diameter. The most important thing to know: Do not buy non-stick pans. A properly greased pan will release cake easily (more on that below), and the darker shade of non-stick pans absorb heat too quickly and lead to burned bottoms. These light-colored but heavy-duty rolled aluminum pans are good enough for bakeries, which means they’re good enough for you and me.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Thermapen | Some icings call for sugar cooked to various candy stages in excess of 200 degrees, and for high-heat cooking, the Thermapen is the best thermometer on the market. It’s actually the best instant-read thermometer period—fast, responsive, and accurate, with a big display for easy read-outs. Yes, it’s pricy, but you’ll use it for every roast, steak, and cake, and they’ll all be better for it.

Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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Cambros: The Restaurant Essential that Beats All Other Food-Storage Solutions | These chunky little containers are, hands down, the very best way to store large amounts of food at home.

The Restaurant Essential That Beats All Your Tupperware

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One of the first things we do when testing recipes is set up our stations.

A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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A dark roux—a flavorful thickener made by cooking fat with flour—is the foundation of most Louisiana gumbos. The keys to making it well? Constant stirring, even heat, and patience. We love using Wolf's induction cooktop for this purpose; since it distributes the heat evenly, you don't have to worry about certain spots cooking—or burning—faster than others.

Video: How to Make a Dark Roux

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