Below is a list of my favorite “tools of the trade” for alternative dessert prep. These are thing things I actually use in my own kitchen, with notes about what I use it for. Hopefully this points you in the right direction if you’re feeling uncertain about your next purchase. Most of the below are affiliate links, so if you’d like to support the site, any purchase you make through those links will help (without costing you extra).
Vitamix – You need a good blender to achieve a really smooth consistency with your desserts. This is the queen of blenders, and what I use pretty much non-stop in my kitchen. I personally really like the dial knob for adjusting speed. If you’re shopping for one, they’ve got a newer low profile model out now that basically has a wider jug, making the whole unit shorter overall and easier to fit under cabinets. Which is great, but the downside of that: it doesn’t work as well for blending smaller quantities of ingredients. The taller classic size jug is better for blending smaller quantities, so just a consideration to keep in mind.
Froothie Optimum – For you Aussies, I know Vitamix is super expensive over there. When I was visiting Australia, I borrowed this blender from a friend during my stay and it was excellent. Just as powerful and high quality as the Vitamix, but at a fraction of the cost (for those in Australia). Also available in the UK.
Magic Bullet – I use this to blend very small quantities of ingredients, for when a Vitamix would be overkill. A lot of people also like this one, made by the same company but nicer blades and more expensive.
Breville Sous Chef – I love love love this food processor. It’s amazing, heavy duty, fairly quiet as food processors go, and can handle anything you throw at it. It’s got two bowl sizes, so you can do large or small batches of ingredients, which is brilliant. I expect to have mine for many years to come. This was a recent purchase for me, after tearing through a string of cheapos. The biggest obvious con is the price. If you can’t afford one now and you’re serious about making a lot of alternative desserts, get a cheap one and then save up for this in the future, or keep hinting to family and friends when it comes time for your birthday or other holidays :) These are branded “Kitchen Wizz Pro” in Australia.
I like to make smaller portion desserts, so I find that having a range of smaller pans is more cost effective. Alternative desserts, by their nature, are rich so you don’t need huge portions anyways. Over the years I found that a regular size 9” pan is way too big unless you’re serving a large number of people. So below are the pans that I use every week.
6″ Springform Pan – I recommend getting a 6″ springform pan with tall sides. With the high walls, it gives you the option to stack your ingredients right up, and make taller multi-layered cakes if you want to. The 6″ cake size looks particularly good when stacked taller, and if you’re making a shorter, flatter 6″ cake, you can still use this same pan just without the extra ingredients for extra layers, so it does double duty.
OTHER BITS & BOBS
I use both these size scoops for making cookies usually– like macaroons– or just to evenly divide the batter. They also come in handy for scooping out sticky ingredients from jars — like coconut oil, nut butters, and things of that consistency.
Below are some of the more unique edible ingredients that you might want to order online if your local stores don’t stock them.
Unscented Coconut Oil – A good alternative for those who don’t like the flavor of coconut in desserts.
Edible flowers are a cornerstone of my decorating arsenal, especially for raw cakes. Below are a few of my favorites.