Last year at about this time my old Sunbeam Mixmaster (more plastic than chrome, unlike my late grandmother's Sunbeam, and which after 40+ years is still going, though not quite as strong) gave up the ghost after 12 years. Which made the usual Christmas baking routine quite a bit different -- some of the usual favorites I just abandoned, others I tried with the hand mixer or by hand.
Every so often, I'd open the Sears catalogue -- out here in the boonies my shopping options are pretty limited, and Amazon.ca is a shadow of its American self -- but couldn't get past the sticker shock; $160 for the usual Sunbeam, and $200 for the slightly more chrome "Heritage" model, and about twice that for the KitchenAids I'd been eyeing; the KitchenAid Artisan, with its 5-quart bowl, seemed especially appealing because whenever we doubled our favorite cake or cookie recipes, the dough would come crawling out the top of even the larger Sunbeam bowl.
Last week I hauled out the new Sears Wishbook and started dithering again over my choices. Then my mother phoned and in our chatting I mentioned my dithering to her. A few hours later my mother phoned back to announce that she and my father would be sending us an early present of a new KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer. How's that for generous, thoughtful, and absolutely wonderful?
Had a phone call yesterday morning from my friend at Sears to say the beast had arrived. Davy and I wrestled it into the back of the truck while the other two were at music lessons, and within an hour of arriving home I was making dinner and the kids were making cookie dough. I'm delighted to report that you can make a double recipe of cookie dough, with four-and-a-half cups of flour, without it coming out the top of the bowl. The power of the machine is a thing of wonder -- I've never creamed butter so well or with such good results. And unlike my old mixer, the hunky KitchenAid doesn't skitter gradually across the kitchen countertop; it's heavy and sturdy and doesn't go anywhere. It's a breeze to clean, though the nifty plastic collar is great for keeping too much mess from starting in the first place. I've already started thinking about our next project, something challenging enough for the hunk, and I think it just might be West Indian fruit cake...
Recipes to be posted later as time allows.