Monday, June 15, 2009


I have owned a Kitchenaid mixer for nearly 20 years. My first one, a 5-quart, was great. I have always had an interest in cooking, but when I got my first kitchenaid, I developed an interest in baking, which continued to grow over the years. This interest grew into a hobby, and I now like to bake and decorate cakes for friends and family. Now, I have 5 older sisters, and they saw my mixer and the many wonderful things I could do with it, and were stricken with mixer-envy. And so it became a benchmark in our family to own a Kitchenaid mixer. Over the years each one of my sisters, and my only sister-in law, became Kitchenaid owners.
Then Kitchenaid came out with the 6-quart model. Gee, a bigger mixer - I had to have it! So I decided to bite the bullet and get the new model. Since trade-ins aren’t possible, that left me with my 5-quart, which was in great shape. I gave it to my Mom, who really needed a new mixer. She then traded the 5-quart for my sister Maureen’s 4.5 quart, which was easier for her to handle. Everyone is now happy. Mom has a “new” mixer, Maureen and I have both traded up.
Fast forward a few years, many cakes, cookies, and a lot of use. About a year and a half ago - just after Thanksgiving 2007 - my 6-quart dies. S#%*! What do I do now? I had my annual cookie exchange coming up, and only had old hand mixer that was on its way out (but I hardly use it, so I refuse to replace it until it dies). I decided I had to make candy, which does not require the use of a mixer. OK, that problem solved. Now I needed to get the mixer fixed. After all, it wasn’t cheap when I bought it. Searching on the Kitchenaid website revealed the closest authorized repair doctor was 1 hour away. So I called to explain the problem and ask what it might cost for an office visit. After he told me that it may total $100 to fix it, I decided to go ahead and take it in. A new one would cost me 4 times as much. He fixed it, good as new, but he did tell me that “they don’t make them as well as they used to.”
So last month, May 2009 to be precise, “the incident” occurred. I had made some marshmallow fondant a week before “the incident”, and had to knead in the final powdered sugar, as it was obvious the 6-quart was starting to labor. I cleaned up the machine and put it back in its corner as usual. A week later, I need to make a 14-inch cake for my friends birthday. (Not to mention that I have several cakes to make for friends birthdays, and a big wedding cake to do for my step-son and his lovely fiancee in June.) So I uncover my machine and get my ingredients lined up for the cake - an almond butter cake with raspberry filling for Wendy. I put the butter and sugar in the bowl, and as I turn on the machine, the motor is running, but the beater is not moving. Hmm. I soon discovered that the paddle would rotate if the bowl was not touching it, but as soon as the bowl was locked in place, it would stop. Well, I guess that is that.
It was too late in the evening to call my Mom to borrow her machine, so I had put everything away. I was in a state of shock and withdrawal the rest of the evening. What would I do without my mixer? I remembered how horrible that feeling was when it had been away at the repair shop before. And did I want to invest another probably $100 into a machine that I have already repaired once?
Quickly, I ran to the computer to research my options. I looked at a replacement for the same model. Then I looked at the Cuisinart, and the Viking. Gee, after so many years with the Kitchenaid, I might feel like I was getting divorced or having an affair. But, I had lost confidence in my old friend, and I was so darned mad, I think it was affecting by blood pressure. I discussed it with Mike, who agreed that there was no sense in paying to repair the old machine again. I read reviews on each of the mixers in order to make an informed decision. The reviews that impressed me the most were about the Viking. It is the machine of choice for The King Arthur Flour test kitchens, and comes in a 5-quart or a 7-quart model. Wow! So I scoured the web for a deal, and found a great price on a 7-quart model in graphite gray (on sale!) at So I ordered it. I can’t say enough about them. Free shipping and great customer service.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen - I had to borrow my Mom’s machine the next day, and quickly made the 14-inch birthday cake for Wendy’s birthday. Chris, her husband had asked me to make it, and would be picking it up the next day.
My new machine arrived in two days, and was gorgeous, despite Mike’s comment about the graphite gray color (“Geez, all that thing needs is a swastika painted on the side of it.”). It is a tank - tough, and will plough through anything in it’s bowl. Just what I needed. And the color matches a fleck in my granite counter top, so it all blends in.
So, my review of the Viking 7-quart mixer: LOVE IT!!
Now that you have read my first rant, here is a great recipe for a cookie I made from “The King Arthur Cookie Companion” in honor of my new machine. The original recipe is called Monster Cookies, but I made a few minor changes. I don’t like butterscotch chips, so I used peanut butter chips. I also used a #40 cookie scoop (about 1 1/4 Tablespoons) to make a smaller cookie for the guest bags for the wedding (I know, am crazy making the wedding cake and the gift bags too, but I am secretly stressing and enjoying it at the same time!). I scoop the cookie dough and freeze the dough balls on a cookie sheet, then put them in freezer containers until I am ready to use them. When ready to bake, I just preheat the oven and place frozen cookie dough on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake as directed.

Mini-Monster Cookies - adapted from “The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion”


3 eggs                                               1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed           1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar                 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract            1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon corn syrup                  3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking soda             3/4 cup peanut butter chips
1 teaspoon salt                              3/4 cup mini M&M’s

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease/spray/line baking sheets (I prefer parchment paper).

Combine the eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, corn syrup, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine. Add softened butter. Next add peanut butter, oats, and flour and mix thoroughly. Stir in the chips and M&Ms. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes to allow the oats to absorb some of the butter.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons (#40 scooper) onto the prepared baking sheets. Use your fingers to flatten the cookies slightly. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking time, or until lightly browned.

Note: The original recipe calls for the dough to be dropped by 1/4-cupfuls, yielding 26 - 4 1/2-inch cookies. I used a much smaller #40 scoop and made about 5 dozen “normal-sized” cookies.