The winter holidays are peak season for home baking. Come December, in the midst of dipping temperatures, gifting traditions, and widespread feasting, bread- and pastry-makers get to flex their skills more than any other time of year. But what to give to the baker with everything? Show them just how much you appreciate their efforts with our top gifts for home bakers. We hit a range of sizes and price points, from quirky stocking-sized gadgets, to premium bakeware and kits, to great new baking books, to top-of-the-line appliances. Treat the baker you love (or yourself!) to one of our best picks, or go big and order the bunch.
The large, rimmed baking sheet—or “half-sheet pan,” in restaurant parlance—is one of the most foundational pieces of kitchen equipment. What else glides seamlessly from oven-fried bacon and one-pan chicken dinners to chocolate chip cookies and jelly rolls? I slip one of these babies under overstuffed apple pies and lasagnas to keep my oven clean of drips; I also use it for neatly toasting nuts, granola, coconut, and croutons, and for drying out herbs. In fact, I’d say the sheet pan is neck-and-neck with my favorite knife for the title of most-used piece of kitchen equipment. For some reason though, rimmed baking sheets sold for home use have a nearly universal tendency to warp at high temperatures—certainly not ideal for bakers who like to use them for whipping up even sheets of cake, brownies, focaccia, or candy. The sturdy aluminum versions available at restaurant supply stores are a reliable if somewhat homely alternative. If the home baker or pastry cook you love appreciates good design and quality construction, treat them to this magnificent new stainless steel baking sheet from Hestan. Its tri-ply construction means it’ll hold its shape in the oven or broiler for up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit and its sleek wide handles and pretty, high-gloss finish make it safe and easy to move and clean.
This new pizza party bundle from King Arthur Baking Co. has everything the home pizzaiolo needs to assemble and serve a top-notch pie: An Italian-style blend of durum and all-purpose flours specifically formulated for the perfect crispy-yet-light crust; garlic oil, sauce, and seasonings to get the flavor just right; and a heavy-duty, ergonomically designed pizza wheel. (If you’re looking to go grande, consider pairing this one with an Ooni pizza oven.)
Pop the pits out of six cherries at a time with this clever, compact, and no-mess new tool from OXO. I’m always very suspicious of a single-use, single-season kitchen tool (I’m looking at you, corn cob holders), but I promise, the fruit pie baker in your life will thank you for this one. Also handy for pitting some (freestone) olives.
When I was just starting out as a pastry chef, Claudia Flemming’s game-changing first cookbook, The Last Course: Desserts of Gramercy Tavern (2001) was a game-changer. Coauthored with Melissa Clark, the book inspired a generation of American restaurants' desserts in much the same way that The French Laundry Cookbook (1999) influenced the era’s fine dining. Out of print for years, copies of Fleming’s book were highly coveted, passed down from mentors to interns and occasionally popping up on eBay and Amazon for astronomical prices until Penguin Random House finally decided to republish it in 2019.
This month, the chef returns to Union Square Hospitality Group as Executive Culinary Director at Daily Provisions, around the same time her highly anticipated second book drops, and I couldn’t be more excited. This time, her unfussily elegant sweets are interspersed with savory baking recipes as well—think cheddar-Stilton scones, sweet potato and miso rolls, pecan olive shortbread, kumquat tarte tatin. Delectable, indeed.
Any home baker who has ever tried their hand at making bagels from scratch has a special appreciation for the time and effort that goes into these beloved breakfast breads. This season, Zucker’s is offering a shortcut to the New York City bagel shop experience through Goldbelly. The bakery’s signature kettle-boiled bagels, parbaked and frozen, need only 10 minutes to finish in a hot home oven. For the full effect, add on a container of scallion cream cheese, some nova lox, and a shaker of Zucker’s everything seasoning blend.
I thought I couldn’t be more thrilled about baker and recipe developer Erin Jeanne McDowell’s new savory baking cookbook. That was until I learned that the Kansas City native was pairing up with KC chocolatier André’s Confiserie Suisse for this special holiday gift box. Recipients receive a signed copy of the book, André’s signature chocolate-covered almonds, a trio of McDowell’s savory crackers—spicy cheese, herb, and whole wheat—and extra recipes not in the book.
Matcha lovers and the choux-curious will delight in this cute kit from Kitsby. Founded by NYC native Amy Hsiao to celebrate her Taiwanese heritage, Kitsby is a from-scratch Brooklyn baking company that aims to educate consumers about Asian pastries and sweets through classes, mail-order kits, and in-person events at the brick-and-mortar Kitsby café. (The cream puff kit is best for those who know their way around the kitchen; for beginners, check out the brand’s cookie and brownie mixes.)
I’ve raved about this rocketship of a stand mixer before and I’m sure I’ll do it again. Wolf spared no expense on this impressive appliance, which has the footprint of a home mixer but the heft and capacity of heavy-duty commercial versions. Especially great for home bakers who find that smaller machines aren’t up to tackling heavy bread and cracker doughs.
For the crispest, most golden-brown pie crusts, no other material can hold a candle to cast iron. Lodge’s bakeware is a bit lighter weight than the brand’s standard skillets, making this line easy to maneuver in and out of a hot oven. I especially appreciate the pie plate for preventing those dreaded soggy bottoms in just about any sweet or savory pie.
I fell in love with Made In’s pretty porcelain bakeware last fall when it launched in partnership with California pastry chef and restaurateur Nancy Silverton. This year, I was tickled to see that the DTC brand is offering its navy-trimmed white pie plate as part of a special recipe bundle. The dish is shipped with three baking spices from Burlap & Barrel as well as a special pumpkin pie cheesecake recipe from Eberly pastry chef, Sarah Seghi.
The biscuit baker in your life will go gaga over this darling East Fork cutter, handmade in Tennessee from locally sourced black walnut. A tiny hole, carved into the top of the cloche, prevents perfectly punched 2½-inch biscuits (or rolled cookies!) from getting stuck, while a quick wipe with a dry cloth will keep this little beauty looking its best for a lifetime.