Embellishing a cookie or 200 with meticulous detail can be back-breaking work. If you’ve ever written, swirled, dotted or piped intricacies on a 3 inch edible canvas, you know what I’m talking about.
You might, if you’re anything like me, work standing, not sitting. Standing, leaning, bending, hunching sometimes for hours on end.
I NEVER sit while decorating cookies. First of all, I can’t outline a cookie to save my life while sitting. My counters are higher than most kitchen counters. My torso is short and my legs are long, so when I sit, that counter is practically at the same level as my neck. Definitely not a good angle from which to work.
Years ago, an accomplished wedding cake designer told me she never lets her employees sit while working. With a packed daily production schedule, she was concerned with employing assistants displaying deft skills and record-breaking finishing times. Allowing workers to sit, she discovered, made them too comfortable, extinguishing the spring in their pastry bag wielding steps.
So, the question becomes how to work effiiciently and quickly, without becoming the next Hunchback of Notre Dame?
Answer: Cake turntable, or, as J calls it, the twirly thing.
It’s not just for frosting cakes. By balancing your tray of cookies on the turntable you can stand, bend from the waist, as opposed to hunching over, and, because it twirls, you don’t have to reach unnaturally over to that cookie in the far left hand corner of the tray. Twirling the tray means you’re less likely to drop something on a freshly flooded cookie, because you’ve easily turned it out of the way.
If you don’t have a turntable, think about investing in one. Your straighter back and your un-huched shoulders will thank you. So will your cookies.
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When I bake, I like to scale out my ingredients. Weighing all the components insures a consistent product each and every time, regardless of the season, the weather, or any other dastardly impediment to a perfect cake, cookie, or frosting. And, since I was schooled at The French Culinary Institute, I’ve converted most of One Tough Cookie‘s recipes to grams, kilos and litres.
That said, I need a scale I can rely on every day. I’ve gone through several through the years. They’re your best friend when they’re in tip top form, but watch out when that damned battery fails. The scales that I’ve used in the past have never issued warning signals that told me they were living on borrowed time. Not a chirp, not a blink….nothing. The thing just dropped dead in front of me. Of course, because Murphy’s Law seemed to wake up at this time, too, I always had the beginnings of a cake for 50 or so in the bowl. And, it’s not like I ever had a stash of these batteries in my “just in case” closet.
Thank goodness I have good neighbors who cook. I borrowed a scale to get me through my cake. Oh…I’ve neglected to tell you that I did buy replacement batteries, but something happened to the little battery holder in my scale, so it wouldn’t close competely and make the proper connection to power up the battery. Time to research new scales!
It’s no secret that I love Oxo Good Grips products. I’ve tweeted about a number of them. And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not paid by Oxo to be nice to them. Not paid in money, not asked to test products or anything of the like. I buy Oxo just like everyone else, from various retail outlets.
Well, did you know Oxo Good Grips makes a digital scale? Neither did I! I read the online product description and decided to take the $50 plunge. Result? I. Am. In. Love.
This little piece of perfection was made by and for people who weigh their ingredients. It has an easy to remove and easy to clean stainless steel platform upon which to place the object(s) to be weighed. It holds up to 11 pounds! It works in pounds and in kilos, and, specifically in 1/8 oz increments; important to bakers like me.
What really separates this baby from other products is (a) the back lit display. You can light it up to see the already large readout even better. Ever place a gigantic bowl on top of the scale only to have it overshadow the display? I find myself turning my head practically upside down to read the display. Not with this baby. THE DISPLAY PULLS OUT! SEE?
Someone in Oxo really had their thinking helmet on the day they invented this! Oh, Oxo, you’re making those other scale makers really kick themselves in the rear with this feature. So simple, so obvious, yet so not available on any scale but yours, I think. And, I adore the little icon that shows what percentage of the 11 lb capacity has been used. No more stressed out scales.
Remember those silly little batteries that you need to go to the special battery store for? Not now. Oxo’s scale takes AAA batteries. The kind you can find anywhere. And, as if I couldn’t love this thing more because of everything I’ve mentioned, there is one more feature that made me say, “Oxo, I’ll never stray.” A low battery indicator. It sends you a gentle warning when the batteries are conking out so you never have to curse at the blasted scale again while in the midst of a big project. Is that the most genius thing ever? NO MORE SCALEFAIL!
And, like other scales, if you forget to turn it off, it turns itself off for you.
Oxo, the only thing I can’t measure out is the respect and admiration I have for this amazing kitchen helper.Read More »