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You know those documentaries about people who fall in love with inanimate objects, like the woman who married the Eiffel Tower? Well, this is a love story too. Not quite to that degree, but I’m not going to lie… I’ve thought about inviting my KitchenAid stand mixer into my marriage.
Almost. I mean, it was my marriage that led to my ownership of the mixer, after all.
My wife Kristie and I gleefully registered for all kinds of wedding gifts prior to our ceremony two years ago, from a vacuum cleaner to a camping tent. I was looking forward to unwrapping the mixer most of all, however. There was something that felt so pleasantly domestic about it. I could picture myself in a half-apron, a charming dash of flour absentmindedly wiped across my forehead, making from scratch some kind of nourishing, perfect dinner — my trusty mixer standing by. For better or worse, I felt like I would be accessing some kind of time-tested tradition of providing for one’s family via the kitchen. Frankly, it reminded me of my grandmother. She’d passed away only a few years before my wedding, and the idea of holding court in the kitchen with a standing mixer, as she had, made me feel closer to my memories of her.
The appliance’s iconic design hasn’t changed much since its debut in 1919, and the colors available today evoke retro, pin-up style (look to Green Apple, Majestic Yellow, and Pink). My heart ached for a machine in Pistachio or Almond Cream, but I opted for the classic white, knowing that while we wouldn’t be cooking in our hideously red rental kitchen forever, I should probably match it for now. (And Pinterest abounds with tutorials on how to spray-paint your mixer in case you ever want to switch it up.)
Engaged friends of mine recently asked if it’s worth it to register for a mixer. Aside from baking French macarons, what do I really use it for? Sentimentality and love of timeless design aside, this machine is a beast. We have the KitchenAid Ultra Power 4.5-Qt Stand Mixer that comes with three attachments — a whisk, a dough hook, and a flat beater. Lots of other attachments are available online, but honestly, we’ve never needed more than these three.
I use the mixer for French macarons, yes, but also for things like mashing potatoes, blending brownie/cookie/cake mix, creaming butter, shredding chicken, kneading bread for dough, making frosting, beating eggs, and more. It’s satisfying to flip a switch and watch ingredients transform before your eyes—but even more satisfying to spend that time preparing other ingredients for your recipe, or getting a head start on dishes. That extra time (and energy) saved means more of my attention can be given to other aspects of cooking and baking, making me a better cook—and, like, probably a better person to be around since I’m not exhausted and cranky by the time the oven timer finally dings. As the KitchenAid motor whirs in the background while I’m cracking eggs or chopping vegetables, I know my ingredients are in good hands (or robot claws, whatever), and I can happily focus on other tasks.
So I practically shook my friend by the shoulders when he asked if it was worth registering for. While I think a good standing mixer really is crucial for finicky pastries like French macarons or meringues (and you should totally try making them), I’m surprised again and again at the ways the mixer comes in handy. The good warranty even scored us a new whisk attachment after I (genius, hello) stuck a spatula into the original one while it was still rotating.
Nowadays I usually forget to put on an apron before I cook or bake, and the amount of flour on my face is far from charming. But we’re going on two and a half years of marriage, and the mixer is more than keeping up.
Price: $299.99 – $359.99
Good for: People who like to cook or bake at home
Want a recipe to try with your new mixer?
Make Your Own Chocolate Peanut Butter French Macarons
Originally published on The Homesteady
You will need:
- 115g aged egg whites at room temp
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 150g superfine sugar
- 165g almond flour
- 165g powdered sugar
- 25g cocoa powder
- Peanut butter
- Oreos (or their gluten-free equivalent, which I used here)
1. Weigh all of your ingredients ahead of time and have them set out and ready to go. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Prepare a piping bag or Ziploc bag open in a tall drinking glass with scissors nearby. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Sift the almond flour, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar together. Do this twice. Reserve the larger almond pieces that won’t pass through the sifter. If you have more than a tablespoon left over, try sifting them through one more time.
3. Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk on medium-low until stiff, shiny peaks form. Slowly add the sugar.
4. Switch to medium-high on your mixer and continue whipping until stiff, dull peaks form. Check your egg whites periodically until you have a stiff meringue.
5. Turn off your mixer and remove the whisk. Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients and fold in with a spatula. Combine the rest of the dry mixture this way, folding until incorporated. Continue folding until the batter falls off the spatula in a ribbon-like drizzle, disappearing back into the rest of the batter within 30 seconds.
6. Transfer the batter into the prepared piping bag. Snip off the end and pipe 1″ rounds onto your prepared sheets. Once all of the piping is complete, bang the trays on a table or counter a few times to release any trapped air bubbles. Let the trays sit out until the tops of the cookies feel dry to the gentlest of touches (about 30 minutes for me).
7. Bake the trays one at a time for 10 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Transfer the parchment paper or baking mat to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.
8. Pipe peanut butter into the center of half of the cookies, and sandwich them together.
9. Crush a few Oreos and roll the edge of each macaron in the crumbs.
10. Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge. They are best after sitting at room temperature for about 10 minutes!