My newest kitchen small appliance is a stand mixer. A Christmas gift from my husband. Having never used one, I thought, “How hard can it be?” Having seen it used about a ba-zillion times on Cook’s Country it seemed the logical choice. Dump the ingredients, mix, done. (sigh) Alas, this was not my best encounter.
Having enjoyed mixing things by hand, the stand mixer had always seemed expensive and unnecessary. Making cookies from scratch was done with a certain fork. It fits into my palm and creaming the sugar and butter was never a problem. My cousin gave me her buttercream recipe and told me, basically, “You’ll need a stand mixer for that.” I thanked her for the recipe and smiled. I had a fork that would get the job done, and it did. For decades, me and “The Fork” creamed a LOT of butter and sugar or shortening or whatever else needed a good mixing.
Alas my wrist decided the fork wasn’t enough. Too many years and too many cookies…it was time for an upgrade.
Enter the Hamilton Beach stand mixer. Again, this didn’t seem like rocket science. I am still thinking, “How hard can it be?” Hubby unpacked it, set it up and plugged it in. Buttercream time!
No. The bowl that came with the mixer was so deep it was a struggle to get the butter and shortening mixed. The paddle wasn’t working and the whisk wasn’t much better. Trying to add the powdered sugar was messy. The motor with the attached whisk didn’t lift away high enough to add anything without getting “batter” on my knuckles. Add a little milk, scrape down the bowl, try again. Mr. K decides to help. (sigh) Maybe two heads will be better than one. He could see first-hand that my struggle was real. I was too far into this adventure to throw it out a window. Geez! It was never this messy on Cook’s Country. Half the utensils in my kitchen were in various stages of sticky and there was plenty of powdered sugar still waiting to be dumped in.
Little by little we got it all mixed. Making buttercream frosting with this mixer took longer — a lot longer and was seriously messy. My mixer was ‘dusty’ from the powdered sugar. And, yes, I turned it off before each installment. Between the time spent struggling and cleaning the mess afterward, I had EARNED the right to lick the bowl. The only good thing was my wrist. It wasn’t all that tired or painful. If, and I mean IF I use this mixer again, some things will change. I plan to mix it by hand until there’s enough volume in the bowl to make the whisk more effective. All the buttercream-to-be was far down in the bottom, it was impossible to whisk it.
My daughter-in-law said, “I LOVE my stand mixer.” (sigh) She has generously offered to let me bring this beast to her house for some mixer lessons. I’ll bring The Fork, just in case.
Until next time, did you know you can no longer buy buttercream from the bakery at Ingles? I know. I asked. I used to just BUY it once in a while. Oh well.. I still have The Fork.