I was telling a friend over the weekend that we got our Kitchenaid as an off-registry gift, but that I really do love it and have been surprised. I think a lot of people register for Kitchenaids because somebody talks them into it or, "I want to learn to cook" or "I want to learn to make holiday cookies". (Don't get me started on the people that get the really expensive huge one because they think they will make holiday cookies but have never baked anything in their lives. If you are one of those people, feel free to justify yourself in the comments.) I used to have a Sunbeam stand mixer, which I liked because I could scrape the bowl as I used it. But it wasn't as powerful as the Kitchenaid, and the bowl has to turn, which means that if there is something particularly thick or cold in the bowl, the mixer gets stuck and needs some hand assistance. I have a hand mixer, and was planning to continue just using a hand mixer until we had a house, but you don't look a gift-mixer in the bowl, after all. So we kept Darth Mixer, and he has proved very useful to us. I thought I'd share some of my favorite recipes.
Anyway, last week, for the first time, we used a stand mixer to make ice cream. It was a friend's stand mixer, and it made amazing salted caramel ice cream. We are now discussing whether we would actually use the ice cream maker attachment, or, if since we would have to go to the store to get the stuff to buy ice cream anyway, we wouldn't rather just go out and get ice cream. Because it was good, and fun, but it wasn't that good, and it was a lot of work. (So really and truly think about whether you want the ice cream maker attachment, because nobody I know that has one actually uses it on a regular basis. Feel free to disagree in the comments!)
I also recently made my first cake from scratch, which was incredibly delicious and easy. I won't be buying cake mix anymore (unless it's funfetti). I also tried out a pumpkin cheesecake. Creaming three sticks of cream cheese is not something I could have done with a hand mixer, and I don't even think the sunbeam would have held up very well. I have been having some trouble with cookies, to be honest, but our chef friend told me over the weekend that I need to be using the paddle attachment to be creaming butter and sugar, not the whisk attachment.
My favorite thing to do with the mixer is make bread. The food processor also works pretty well for making bread though, so never fear if you don't have a KitchenAid. I have found great recipes in The New Best Recipe Cookbook and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, but frankly, the white bread recipe that comes with the KitchenAid is a pretty good starter.
What do you use a stand mixer for? And do you share my belief that everybody needs a hand mixer, a stand mixer is optional, but if you have a stand mixer, you should also have a hand mixer?
*Another post inspired by the fabulously funny Robin Hitchdied.