A paring knife is useful for releasing baked cakes from the sides of pans; making slits in a pie’s crust; cutting apples into quarters, coring, and peeling them; and cutting dried fruits into smaller pieces
Chef’s Knife with an 8- or 10-inch blade is useful for chopping nuts and chocolate and for cutting cakes and pies into serving portions.
Serrated Knife with at least a 10-inch blade is wonderful for splitting cake layers horizontally and for slicing sponge-type cakes into portions. When dividing a cake layer, you want a blade that is longer than the diameter of the cake for the best control. Also perfect for slicing bread.
Thin-bladed Knife such as a boning or filleting knife, is the best tool for loosening angel food cakes, sponge cakes, and chiffon cakes from the pan.
Scissors every kitchen should have at least one pair of scissors. Inexpensive kitchen shears do the best job of snipping dried dates into smaller pieces and cutting parchment or waxed paper for lining baking pans. I use a pair to snip herbs and cut them up using scissors. Scissors are a perfect utensil for cutting kitchen or butcher’s twine.
Graters Patterned after woodworking rasps, microplane graters do the best job of removing zest (the colored part of the rind) from citrus fruits without any bitter white pith. You run the fruit down the length of the rasp, and fine wisps of zest emerge on the underside. These graters come with holes of different sizes. If you buy only one, get the one designed for zests. Microplane graters are sold at specialty cookware shops and may be ordered by mail.
Nutmeg graters, inexpensive small metal graters with a curved surface of small grating holes, are sold at specialty cookware shops and in some hardware stores. A microplane grater is also fine for this job.
Sifters Single-mesh sifters are straightforward: they have a single screen of wire mesh. You put the flour into the sifter, turn the handle, and a curved metal wire rotates, aerating the flour as it falls onto the surface below. If some of the flour stays in the sifter. push it through with your fingers. Sifters do not need to be washed. Simply shake them out and store them in a cool, dry place. If you live in a humid area, wrap them airtight in a large plastic bag to keep little critters away. When lacking a sifter, use a medium-fine strainer or sieve.
Strainers and Dredgers A medium-mesh strainer is ideal for removing tiny lumps from sauces. They come in several diameters. Sometimes you’ll want to dust cocoa or confectioners’ sugar over cakes or cookies, in which case you can use a small fine strainer or a dredger.
Cherry Pitter that clamps to the side of your kitchen counter is a wonderful tool if you cook with cherries a lot. You place a handful of stemmed cherries in the hopper and push on the plunger: one by one, the pits fall into a plastic container and the cherries roll into a bowl. you can prepare enough sour cherries for a pie this way in about 10 minutes. Many hardware stores carry these during the summer months.
Cookie, Biscuit and Doughnut Cutters Cookie and biscuit cutters come in all shapes and sizes. You can buy nested sets of round cutters in a whole range of sizes from 1 to 4 or 5 inches, with either smooth or scalloped sides. For most cookies and biscuits, though, all you really need are two sizes: a 2-inch cutter for biscuits and smaller cookies, and a 3-inch cutter for larger cookies and shortcakes. The cutting edge should be sharp and the cutters should be sturdy.
For doughnuts, use cutter 3-inches across with a 3/4-to-1-inch hole. Buy a sturdy stainless steel one. A bagel cutter, which is a bit larger, also works well. Lacking these, you can always use a kitchen glass to cut the large circles of dough and a shot glass for the holes.