Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Exactly Do You Use A Stand Mixer For, Anyway?*

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.

7 comments:

  1. I love my Kitchen Aid mixer. Although it is a huge piece of kitchen equipment, I use it regularly for all kinds of things. It has made baking so much easier. If I was not into baking as much as I am, I probably would not use it enough to justify its space requirements in my kitchen. With the right attachments, you can use the mixer for way more than baking. I have the meat grinder attachment that I sometimes use to make my own ground meat.

    I have used my hand mixer maybe a dozen times in the 9 years I have owned my stand mixer. I could get by withouth my hand mixer if I had to do so.

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  2. I love my KitchenAid mixer. (Just thought I'd start the same way as Angela!) Don't get me wrong, the hand mixer works just fine, but I love that I can add things with two hands instead of adding and trying to use the hand mixer at the same time. I mostly use it for large batches of cookies, although I do make cakes and such. Haven't made bread yet, though . . .

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  3. I love my KitchenAid mixer and I love my ice cream attachment. My husband got it for me as a surprise a couple of months ago (I may or may not have said that I wanted one every time I saw it). We've used it several times and personally I love homemade ice cream way more than store bought stuff. Yes, the store bought stuff is easier to get, but there's just something about making your own that I like better. Even if it does take forever and a day!

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  4. Too funny, we didn't register for a mixer because I just didn't think I would use it and didn't want to have someone buy it for me if I never intended on using it. Well the day after we registered Groomzilla's mother called him up and asked why we didn't have a mixer on our registry. Is a mixer like a pre-req for registering or something????

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  5. I LOOOVE our KitchenAid. It was hands down the best present we got for our wedding. (In fact, my wife and I had agreed long before we registered for anything that even if we didn't get any wedding presents at all, we would buy ourselves a KitchenAid for our wedding.) I had a Sunbeam before, which worked okay, but I got tired of scraping the sides and having to help the bowl along whenever making something remotely stiff/thick. I use it pretty regularly for cookies, and I love that I can just walk away from it no matter what's in there and only need to do a little scraping at best when I return. By far our best experiment with the mixer so far was French Silk Pie. Carrie used The Pioneer Woman's recipe, which involves whipping each egg for like 5 minutes or something. This process eventually results in some otherworldly concoction that left me wanting to have the stand mixer's babies. Seriously.

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  6. My partner wants one for the sausage making attachment, and because he grew up with it, which I understand, though I don't know that I would use it much. I don't even have a hand mixer, and get by just fine, with occasionally borrowing a kitchen aid, or just using a spoon or my hands.

    I use our ice-cream making quite a lot in the summer. It's not a kitchenaid attachment, but I really like it.

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  7. I love mine too. It makes me so happy and does everything so well!

    I am a cake lady!

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