Standmixers Are for Sissies
Earlier today during our esteemed editor's food tip portion of the staff meeting (for the uninitiated, there's also an exercise tip and a lifestyle tip), he mentioned the essential efficiencies of having a Kitchen Aid-type standmixer when you're throwing together a batch of cookies. And in today's Post White House executive chef Christa Comerford is quoted as saying such a tool is "a must-have" in renovated kitchens.
I call bullshit.
Somehow, without a standmixer, my mother and her mother and her mother and probably a few fathers and grandfathers managed to make all manner of baked goods. I love to bake and, as such, I have tried out the "must-have" mixer.
First of all, the creaming stage requires you get in there with your spatula at regular intervals to get things consistent. With standmixers, the mixing agent, as its name implies, just stands there, requiring even more spatula work. With a handmixer, mixing butter and sugar is like a dance. One hand swirls the beaters into the ingredients, the other pushes ingredients into the swirl. It's quick and efficient. You don't have to stop the thing, raise the thing, scape down the sides, put the thing back down, turn it on again. Repeat.
Second of all, dumping in the dry ingredients is a complete fucking mess with a standmixer. Dump in too much, and you're standing in a flour fog. And even if you take it slow and incremental, as you should, you'll still end up with a bunch of flour on the counter. The mixer takes up most of the bowl, leaving little room to tip out the last bits of flour and friends.
And lastly, incorporating dry ingredients with wet ingredients, especially for cookies, is something that should be done by hand. Show a little fortitude and get in there with a wooden spoon or spatula. Or, go Nigella on that naughty, naughty dough and spank it around with your hands. Your cookie will have a better crumb and you won't overmix. And best of all, you'll be a baker, not a stupid advertisement for a piece of kitchen equipment you need like you need a cherry pitter or a garlic press or an egg slicer or a lid opener or a silicone potholder or....