From Marthastewart.com: Essential Baking Tools - Martha Stewart Recipes
Having the right tools is essential to successful baking. With the proper equipment on-hand, you will have better results and be encouraged to bake more often. There are a variety of tools that are indispensable:
Kitchen Aid Mixer
-Cuts down on time.
-Easy to use.
-Leaves your hands free.
Rimmed Baking Sheet
-Also known as a jelly-roll sheet.
-Used to make bar cookies, shortbread, and more.
-Allows air to circulate around cooling baked goods.
-Look for stainless steel mesh and feet on bottom.
-Graduated cake pans are used for layer cakes.
-Should be 8 or 9 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep.
-Look for a slightly heavy wooden pin.
-A pin without handles offers more control.
-Heat resistant, nonstick, and disposable.
-Used to line sheets and pans for easy release.
-Eliminates need for greasing.
Nonstick Baking Mat
-Heat-resistant silicone mat.
-Used to line baking sheets.
-Washable and reusable.
-Typical three-bowl set includes a 1 1/2-quart, 2 1/2-quart, and 4- or 5-quart bowl.
-Look for deep bowls with a flat base for stability and a curled rim for pouring.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
-Measure dry ingredients in graduated metal cups.
-Graduated measuring spoons used for dry or liquid.
-Even if your oven comes with a timer, you need another one on hand to time several things at once.
-Look for stainless steel with fine wires.
-Choose silicone so it is heatproof.
-Used to loosen dough from work surface, score cookies, and transfer nuts or chocolate into a bowl.
-Come in a variety of sizes.
-Used for buttering pans and applying egg wash.
Pastry Bag and Tips
-Essential for decorating cakes.