Hand Mixer Shopping Guide – 6 Things to Consider

Hand Mixer Shopping Guide – 6 Things to Consider

Hand Mixer Shopping Guide – 6 Things to Consider

A few years back I considered Standing Mixers to be the bee’s knees of baking appliances in the baking world…

To me, hand mixers felt like the poor unfortunate cousins of Standing Mixers that are constantly longing for the day they might evolve into standing mixers.

I thought “if I could just get a Standing Mixer, I will never need a Hand Mixer ever again!”, right?

Wrong!

Hand Mixers are LEGIT and there are some jobs that a Hand Mixer can do 10 times better than a standing mixer.

>> They give you so much control!

Another perk is that the tedious “scrape down the paddle & bowl” sessions are so much less with a hand mixer! I insist on making my Ultimate Chocolate Frosting with a hand mixer.

In a standing mixer it turns out lumpy and takes 3 times as long.

I’ve gone through my share of hand mixers as a full time baker. Some were amazing and some of them frustrated me a lot.

I’ve also decided to flex my I-actually-have-an-architecture-degree-and-can-draw muscles this week! Yay!

The sketches should help you understand what I mean. I hope you enjoy my little, super technical, super beautiful sketches. I’ve even framed them like the pro doodlers do these days.

*HINT* There’s a bonus tip #7 at the end of the post 😉

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you end up buying one of these products – but it’s at no extra cost to you. I believe each one of them is the best value for money. I’m proud to recommend these tools to you because I know they’ll enhance your baking life at the most affordable rate possible.

 

Here are 6 key things to consider when you’re buying a Hand Mixer

baking tips | baking tips and tricks | hand mixer | kitchen equipment

 

1. The Base of the Hand Mixer

By this I mean the side of the Hand Mixer you put down on the counter when you’re not using it. If the base is too small, the Hand Mixer will keep toppling over time and time again! It can become blindingly frustrating.

Be sure to buy one that doesn’t have crazy curves or rounded edges toward the base. It’s best when the body shape of the mixer goes straight down into a completely flat surface.

Some designers often try to be cute and add a creative little arch below the base of the mixer. It’s so impractical. A slight variation from a completely flat surface might not have too drastic implications.

The best way is to test it.

Put the mixer on a flat surface and test its stability by pushing it with varied amounts of force. This is a technical way of saying “poke the mixer”! Lol! If it falls over easily, I would recommend that you keep shopping.

The stability of the base also includes the angle at which the power cord comes out of the hand mixer.

Might seem futile, but if the angle is too steep it compromises the stability of the mixer in a standing position. Make sure that the cord doesn’t interfere with the stability.

 

2. The Shape of the Beaters

Beater attachments are just beater attachments, right?

I’ve come to see that there’s a whole lot more to it!

My dear husband bought us a new fridge last year. He knew I was in dire need of a new hand mixer. I’m super particular about the appliances I buy and he knows this.

The sales lady at the appliance store highly recommended a Bosch Hand Mixer and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

I was so skeptical about his impulsive buy, but it’s turned out to be one of the best hand mixers I’ve ever had. It meets a lot of other criteria, but the main reason I love this hand mixer so much is because of the unique little twist in the beater attachments.

These boys whip things up in at least 30% less time! It’s amazing! I assume that the slight twist agitates the ingredients just that much more during beating, speeding up the creaming/whipping process.

This little edge has saved me so much time over the past year!

Please note that this feature is NOT essential, it’s just a super handy “nice to have”.

I know Bosch Hand Mixers aren’t available everywhere, so don’t worry too much if you can’t get one. There are plenty of other AMAZING hand mixers available! I’ll give you my verdict right at the end of the post 🙂

 

3. The Weight of the Hand Mixer

Have you ever made 7 minute frosting?

Or a batter that needs to be beaten for 5 minutes?

Even the lightest hand mixer can feel like lead after about 2 minutes.

On the flip side, it also doesn’t help if you get a super light Hand Mixer that falls over when you just look at it. I know I’m exaggerating, but we’ve all had an el-cheapo that falls over like 5-10 times a day.

Not fun.

Especially when there’s batter on the beaters and now it’s all over the counter. *Sigh of note!*

To me, the ideal weight of a hand mixer should be about 680 g (1,5 lbs) without any attachments. You can still go down to 650 g, but anything lighter than that becomes a bit too flimsy.

The weight of a hand mixer is not necessarily on the box, so be sure to take your scale with so that you can weigh it in the store! It may be nerdy, but it’s also kind of hard core when you think about it. Oh yeah. You know it.

 

4. Watts of the Hand Mixer

You get some powerful hand mixers on the market, but we’re not planning to use it to propel us across the ocean.

On the flipside, you do want a rather powerful mixer that will get the job done, and get it done well.

I recently watched a YouTube video by Cupcake Jemma where they reviewed different Standing Mixers. What an eye opener! Turns out higher watts does NOT mean it’s a higher quality mixer! Click here to watch the whole video.

The Watts refers to how much power goes INTO your mixer, not how much comes OUT! A lower watt mixer often means that the gears inside your hand mixer are of a higher quality, so they need LESS watts to operate.

So higher watts does NOT mean higher quality!

In my experience, 350 Watts is ideal for a hand mixer. But ultimately, it’s your decision here. 350 Watts has just worked the best for me so far.

 

5. Speed Settings of the Hand Mixer

A turbo speed option is not essential. My current hand mixer doesn’t have one and I honestly haven’t missed it for a second.

In fact it’s actually more important that the slow speeds on your mixer are in fact SLOW. I’ve had 2 hand mixers where the so called “slowest speed” was actually really fast! Try to test this in store if they allow you to.

 

6. Price of the Hand Mixer

Have you watched “Midnight in Paris”? Rachel McAdams’s mother says on a few occasions “You get what you pay for. Cheap is cheap!”.

I really don’t feel that’s true.

Some famous brands have these stunning hand mixers, but they are so heavy and unpractical. Very strange, but true.

Price does not equal quality when it comes to buying a hand mixer. Specs equal the quality of the hand mixer.

 

7. Spinning Direction of the Beaters

This point is super important. Generally, we beat things with a hand mixer to incorporate air. Thus it is KEY for the ingredients to be forced to work against gravity i.e. starting at the bottom and ending at the top.

For this to be accomplished, the spinning direction should spin from the inside out, forcing ingredients UP.

If the spinning direction is from the outside in, then the ingredients are being forced DOWN resulting in less air in the mixture.

What you hold the hand mixer out in front of you like a drill, you want the beater on the left to spin anti-clockwise and the beater on the right to spin clockwise.

 

Summary + My Recommended Hand Mixers

  1. Check the standing stability of the hand mixer you are considering. Do not compromise on this. Seriously. You can compromise on any of the other points, but not this one.
  2. Try to get a mixer with twisted beater attachments to save you whipping time. (This is not essential, it’s just a nice bonus)
  3. Higher Watts does NOT equal higher quality! Often lower Watts indicates better gears on the inside of sa hand mixer. 350 Watts is ideal in my experience.
  4. Get a hand mixer that isn’t too heavy. 680 g (1,5 lbs) is perfect.
  5. Don’t go for pretty, go for practical. You will use this hand mixer almost every day. Pretty is a bonus. Pretty hand mixers from famous brands will also cost you a whole lot more.
  6. Always read the specs of the appliance and decide according to that. Base your decision on the facts, not the brand name!
  7. Check the spinning direction of the beaters – it should be from the inside out.
  8. Don’t be too idealistic. Sometimes you’ll have to settle. What’s the best value you can get for your money? As long as your mixer has great standing stability, you should be fine.

 

Here are 3 options for hand mixers (each the best in their price range) to accommodate your budget:

BUDGET PRICE RANGE: Hamilton Beach 6 Speed Mixer (around US$20)

 

INTERMDIATE PRICE RANGE: Synmixx Hand Mixer (around US$40)

Image Source: Amazon.com

 

PREMIUM PRICE RANGE: KitchenAid Cordless Hand Mixer (around US$100)

Image Source: Amazon.com

 

And that’s it!

I hope this post has shed some light on the process of buying a hand mixer.

Have fun when you whip out your digital scale in the store to weigh the prospective hand mixer. Make sure you are wearing shades at the time and playing “Bad to the Bone” in the background 😀

Chat soon

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

How to Freeze Custard (Creme Patissiere) and Restore It

How to Freeze Custard (Creme Patissiere) and Restore It

How to Freeze Custard and Restore It

Freeze custard and restore it in just 5 minutes – it’s so quick and simple! Normally, freezing custard/creme patissiere is an absolute NO-NO in the baking and pastry world. All info online clearly states that you cannot freeze custard/creme patissiere because it splits into oblivion. And it does.

But I’m here to tell you that you can FULLY restore thawed/defrosted watery custard! YAY! 😀

Context

I’ve been developing a recipe for a super exciting brownie (which I will share in the future) which requires creme patissiere. Not knowing how much custard  I would need, I made the whole recipe and ended up with about 2,5 cups of it. After using only half a cup for my experimental brownies, I still had 2 cups left!

Of course I wouldn’t let the rest just sit in the fridge and go to waste. Without googling at all (which is quite unlike me) or thinking twice, I just popped the custard in the freezer.

 

Current Info on Freezing Custard

According to the whole web (cooking.stackexchange.com, thekitchn.com, nigella.com, chowhound.com, forums.egullet.org just to name 5) homemade custard should never be frozen as is and used again later. Apparently the best method to at least avoid waste is to make “frozen custard” aka ice cream! This requires a bit of effort though.

Once in the freezer, you need to whisk the custard every 30 minutes for 3 hours. This aerates the custard and keeps it smooth during the freezing process. The result is beautifully smooth frozen custard.

BUT, they all say you cannot freeze custard, thaw/defrost the custard and then use it again as custard due to the severe separation that cannot be rectified.

Unfortunately I only read all this info after my custard had been in the freezer for 3 weeks already! I left it on the counter to defrost for a few hours. It was a watery MESSSSS. I really did not expect this, but since I hate wasting, I was not going to throw it away.

Although it may not always seem so, I suffer from selective, slightly-above-moderate laziness. I go to extreme and labour intensive measures to achieve a “yum-high” in my cooking and baking, but for some things I just cannot be bothered.

I’m definitely not going to make creme patissiere 3 times a week. I’m also definitely not going to divide a single egg yolk in 3 so that I can make 100 ml of creme pat! There had to be a way to freeze custard and restore it.

My dad has this incredible line I’ve been quoting for years: “If you want to be lazy, you have to be clever.” So I put on my thinking cap…

 

The Science of Freezing Custard

I did a post a while back on how to fix and prevent chocolate ganache that has split. Both ganache and custard split when frozen. The ingredients are still 100% tasty, but the texture has transmuted completely. In one case it is the fat that separates and in the other case it is water.

Although ganache and custard are completely different, I firmly believed that their restoration processes would be very similar.

I decided to apply the same process I use on thawed ganache. Step one was to heat it on the lowest possible heat in a saucepan while stirring occasionally with a balloon whisk. It became looser, but was still very much grainy with a watery residue.

At that point I realized that custard is typically cooked at a much higher (boiling in fact) temperature. I upped the heat one setting higher. It started looking much better.

Another trick that works to re-emulsify split ganache, is adding warm milk. I heated 1 tablespoon of milk in the microwave and proceeded to whisk it into the warm custard.

After whisking a bit more vigorously (still with a balloon whisk) for about 10-15 seconds it smoothed out TO PERFECTION!!! SO rad! 😀

I got so excited! There was still a big concern that it just looked smooth, but upon tasting it I would end up writing that “the restored custard is 95% smooth!”. Not the case. At all. It is seriously 100% smooth! It tastes, looks and feels freshly made. Can’t believe it!

 

Method Recap

How to Freeze Custard

>> Put your left over creme patissiere / custard in a freezable cotainer.

>> Place in freezer.

Have some coffee, you’ve worked hard.

How to Thaw/Defrost Custard

>> Remove custard from the freezer and leave out on the counter to defrost for 3-4 hours.

Have some coffee, you’ve worked hard.

I wouldn’t recommend defrosting in a microwave for longer than 2 minutes. You may do that to get it going, but longer than that will start overcooking some parts of the custard. You can also place the sealed container in some warm water to speed up the process if you are in a hurry.

How to RESTORE Thawed/Defrosted Custard

>> Place the split custard in a heavy based saucepan (all of it, including the separated water).

>> Turn on the stove to the lowest possible setting. Stir the custard with a balloon whisk every 30 seconds so that it heats evenly and doesn’t catch on the bottom.

>> When the custard is warm to the touch, turn up the heat a bit more. Stir occasionally for about 2 minutes while it keeps heating up.

>> Heat 1 Tbsp Milk (I used 4,5% fat whole milk) in the microwave for 20 seconds. Use 1 Tbsp Milk for every 200 g of thawed custard.

>> Add the warm milk to the saucepan. Keep whisking the custard on the stove for another minute till it smooths out and comes together again. Take it off the heat before it starts to simmer/boil. Taste a tiny bit to make sure it is fully smooth.

Now you should have coffee AND a pastry covered in your amazing freshly made (thawed) custard 😉

Please let me know if you give this hack a go. Save yourself a mountain of effort and waste! Freeze custard and restore it because now you CAN!

Freeze custard and restore it in just 5 minutes - it's so quick and simple! Normally, freezing custard/crème patissiere is an absolute NO-NO in the baking and pastry world. All info online clearly states that you cannot freeze custard/creme patissiere because it splits into oblivion. And it does. But I'm here to tell you that you can FULLY restore thawed/defrosted watery custard! YAY! #bakingtips #homebaking #baking #cremepat

 

Thanks for reading!

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

How to Make Chocolate Shavings

How to Make Chocolate Shavings

How to Make Gorgeous Chocolate Shavings

Chocolate shavings were basically the first decorative thing I could associate with. In my first few years of baking the term “cake decorating” always scared me off.

It seemed like this super fancy skill which you can only acquire through years of studying and practice.

On top of all that I could not reach equilibrium in my mind over fondant and gum paste… I didn’t like them at all because they have NO FLAVOUR whatsoever, but it seemed like those are the only materials to use in cake decorating.

Should I give in? I guess it is okay that gum paste decorations are flavourless… isn’t it?

For me, the main reason I add anything to a cake is because it contributes to the flavour – a very honest and bare approach. And that’s me in a nutshell; I cannot pretend to save my life.

This meant I had to find a way to decorate cakes in an honest fashion. The simplest answer was this…

Quality Ingredients as Decorations

Taking an ingredient that is inside the cake already and presenting it in a beautiful way on top of the cake. To me the final product is incredibly inviting.

Beautiful chocolate curls and fresh berries call out to my taste buds, but silver deco balls just don’t get my mouth watering (anyone else feel the same way?).

If gum paste and fondant works for you in your cake decorating, that’s wonderful. We all have to discover what materials work for us and best represent, and express, us as creatives.

I am an honest purist at heart so if I approach cake decorating in the same way, I am way more likely to create a stunning product I am proud of and feel comfortable with.

Over the past 5 years I’ve discovered some nifty tricks to make cakes & cupcakes look spectacular in a matter of 5 minutes just by using ingredients to decorate my cakes.

It makes so much sense to me and the end result can hold its own next to a fondant cake any day 🙂 I would define my cake decorating style as “Purist Cake Decorating”.

Make your own luscious chocolate shavings in 5 minutes! I use this method DAILY for giving my cakes a professional edge. With these chocolate shavings I decorate cakes, cupcakes and tarts. Minimum effort for maximum results - EASY cake decorating at its best! #cakedecorating #chocolatedecorations #cakedecoratingtips #cakedecoratingideas

 

Isn’t it Hard to Make Chocolate Shavings?!

Please don’t panic! You don’t need amazing skills to do this. I don’t have any qualifications in working with chocolate, but just figured things out as I went along.

This technique is super easy and quick, I promise! And the finish is just so beautiful. It immediately adds a professional edge to your cakes!

The technique for making chocolate shavings is simple in principle. Very simple. It comes down to pressing and dragging a knife over chocolate.

First place I saw this technique was on The Naked Chef (I NEVER missed an episode).

Jamie was decorating a chocolate tart or something and in seconds he made these stunning chocolate shavings that made his homemade tart look like a centerpiece in a French Bakery!

RELATED: How to Write on Cake Without Free-Handing

What I love about this technique is that you just use an ordinary bar of dark chocolate to make them.

No need to fuss about with baking sheets and vegetable shortening which is the case when making proper chocolate curls. No thanks, too much effort.

Only problem is that these regular chocolate shavings can often seem a bit skimpy.

I’ve discovered a few hacks however that end up giving you fuller chocolate shavings which give you something in between a chocolate shaving and a curl… a shurl! 😀 Officially a thing.

Chocolate curls are too “stiff and organized” for me and regular chocolate shavings can look a bit skimpy, so chocolate shurls are absolutely ideal!

 

How to Make Chocolate Shavings/Shurls

You’ll need:

A bar of Dark Chocolate (56% – 65% Cocoa Solids. Anything higher is too hard and anything lower is too soft.)

A hairdryer

A smooth edged chef’s knife

Ceramic plate

Method:

I’m giving you the method here in WRITING but, as you know, it often helps to SEE someone doing the things we want to learn, right?

That’s why I’ve created a Chocolate Shavings Video Tutorial to SHOW you how to create these gorgeous chocolate shavings 🙂 And it’s only $15! Click the blue link if you want to SEE how it’s done.

Here’s the Method in Writing:

Put on an apron made of thick fabric (very important!).

Put your knife and plate to one side so they don’t get warm from the hairdryer’s heat.

Place the bar of chocolate on your work surface, perpendicular to your tummy. Make sure the smooth side is facing up.

Hold your hairdryer about 20 cm away from the chocolate and turn it on to its lowest speed. Gently move the hairdryer up and down the length of the chocolate, all the while keeping the hairdryer at 20 cm distance.

You only want to soften the chocolate slightly! You don’t want it to melt. The surface of the chocolate should become dull, but not shiny (then you’ve gone too far).

Press and drag your knife over the surface of the chocolate, starting at the furthest end and dragging it towards you, bracing the chocolate with your tummy.

Do this in one, swift motion. Drag the knife over the chocolate as fast as you can!

The chocolate shavings will cling to the knife. Very gently, starting from the top, loosen, curve and roll the shavings onto your ceramic plate with your fingers.

Even after the shaving has been made you can manipulate it to curve a bit more since the chocolate has been softened slightly.

Some chocolate shavings will already be quite curled, so in such cases you can just push them off the knife onto the plate.

Carry on shaving till the soft surface chocolate is used up. Repeat hairdryer process again before making more chocolate shavings.

In summer I like to place the plate of chocolate shavings in the fridge for a minute, just to firm up the chocolate a bit.

These thicker chocolate shavings are not as fragile as regular chocolate shavings, so you can easily pick them up with your fingers and place them where you want without breaking them.

I use this method DAILY for making chocolate shavings. With them I decorate cakes, cupcakes, tarts… anything really. Minimum effort for maximum results. Nice!

 

Struggling to Get The Chocolate Shavings Right?

This technique does require some practice to get just right!

Maybe you’ve been trying and trying to create chocolate curls like these, but they’re just NOT cooperating…

And now you’re literally covered in chocolate and giving up hope…

But just wait a minute!

As you know, it often helps to SEE someone doing the things we want to learn, right?

That’s why I’ve created a Chocolate Shavings Video Tutorial to SHOW you how to create them 🙂 And it’s only $15!

And there’s another video tutorial for White Chocolate Curls which is also $15.

I hope you give this simple & delicious cake decorating technique a go and WOW your friends and family with your super snazzy chocolate curls.

And then you can be all like “Oh yes, I spent my whole day doing this incredible chocolate work because you all are just so worth it!” and then take an elaborate bow! 😉

Thanks for reading! Chat soon!

Aurelia

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)