SAVEUR Gift Guides: Baking Tools for Better Desserts

Pastry chef Tracy Obolsky's sweet recommendations

Tracy Obolsky started bartending at night while looking for work after she graduated from Brooklyn's Pratt Institute. In her few free moments away from the bar and the job hunt, she started cooking and watching the Food Network. A passion for pastry and cake-decorating grew out of hand, so she went back to school, this time to the International Culinary Center to begin a career as a pastry chef. Obolsky knows how to make fancy desserts with the rest of them (stints at Mario Batali's Esca and Danny Meyer's North End Grill prove it), but her real passion is something more home-spun: ice cream sundaes, fudgy cakes, festive cookies. It's what we can expect from her at Cookshop in New York, where she begins as pastry chef this week, and it's why we reached out to her for advice all the gear and goodies a home baker needs. Here are her recommendations.

KitchenAid 6-Quart Professional 600 Stand MIxer - Aqua Sky
"I could never live without this stand mixer. It's worth every inch of space it takes up on your counter." KitchenAid 6 Quart Professional 600 Stand MIxer, $359.99 from Everything KitchensEverything Kitchens
Rubbermaid Commercial High-Heat Scraper, 9.5-Inch
"This is the best spatula for withstanding high heat," important for hot dessert sauces like caramels. "It will never lose its shape or melt." Rubbermaid Commercial High-Heat Scraper, 9.5-Inch, $8.95 from AmazonAmazon
Moslekin Hard Cover Coloured Notebook Large
Pastry recipes require exactitude, which often means note-taking. "These are great for recipes, ideas, sketching, and menu-writing," Obolsky says. Moleskin Hard Cover Coloured Notebook - Red, $13.95 from MoleskinMoleskin
54901736863-sku2397255-adTypePLA-devicec-adid^51671909263">Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker with Extra Freezer Bowl, White
"The most inexpensive ice cream makers are the most sensible for home cooks," Obolsky says, and this one makes great ice cream with a relatively small counter footprint. Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker with Extra Freezer Bowl, White, $69.95 from Williams-SonomaWilliams-Sonoma
Swiss Classic 3" Paring Knife
"These are the best. They're inexpensive, dishwasher-safe, and they stay sharp for a very long time." Use them for cutting citrus, splitting vanilla beans, and loosening bar cookies from their pans. Swiss Classic 3" Paring Knife, $10 from VictorinoxVictorinox
Escali Primo Digital Scale 11-Pound
"I can go on and on about how volume measurements should be outlawed in favor of weight for baking. This scale is small, inexpensive, and reliable—and it comes in fun colors." Escali Primo Digital Scale 11-Pound, $24.95 from BakedecoBakedeco/Kerekes
Anthropologie Cuisine Couture
I really like the aprons from Anthropologie. They are all super feminine, affordable, and cute. Cuisine Couture Apron, $32 from AnthropologieAnthropologie
Zeroll 1020 Original Ice Cream Scoop, 2 Ounce
An ice cream expert's favorite scoop: "The design makes it so ice cream won't stick." Zeroll Original Ice Cream Scoop, $13.53 from AmazonAmazon
Anchor Hocking 575GU 4.5 oz. Crystal Footed Sherbet Dish - 6/Pack
"I collect these. They're good for more than just sundaes!" Try them for pudding, parfaits, and even cream-topped cakes. Anchor Hocking Crystal Footed Sherbet Dish - 6/Pack, $20.49 from Webstaurant StoreWebstaurantStore
Boyajian Baker's Box
"These are my favorite oils and extracts. I use each of the ones in this box all the time." One box comes with vanilla, peppermint, anise, and almond extract. Baker's Box, $12.50 from BoyajianBoyajian Inc.