We are smack-dab in the middle of peak cooking and baking season. Between holiday family dinners and office dessert exchanges (PS, if you want to win at yours, try these Peppermint Brownies), most of us are probably going to be spending lots of time in the kitchen over the next two weeks. And anyone who’s spent their share of time toiling over an unwieldy appliance knows that the proper tools make all the difference in how enjoyable your kitchen sesh ends up being. Here are five of our picks for must-have small appliances that will not only bring you ease and convenience this holiday season, but throughout the year. Plus, they all look great sitting on your kitchen counters.
Jura-Capresso WE8 Chrome Espresso Machine
This one is for the true java-heads out there. If you’re serious about your espresso, you need a machine to match. The WE8 brews you a cup of espresso—or one of 12 different specialty beverages—that can put an authentic European coffee shop to shame. And it does it quickly and easily. Keep it for yourself, or gift it to that special caffeine-dependent person on your list.
Breville BOV800XL Smart Toaster Oven
This sleek appliance is perfect for those kitchen jobs where heating up your range feels like overkill, like warming up leftovers or toasting a loaf of bread. But thanks to its Element IQ heating system and convection technology, this compact toaster oven also punches well above its weight, providing enough power to cook a frozen pizza, or even to roast an entire turkey.
Ankarsrum Original Mixer AKM 6230
One of the newest product lines in our Gourmet Shop, Ankarsrum mixers have been a favorite of Swedish cooks since 1940. Praised for its durability and versatility, the Ankarsrum 6230 can perform a variety of kitchen tasks—including food processing, meat grinding, and slicing—through the use of optional attachments. If you’re looking for a quality kitchen assistant that’s a little unique, look no further than Ankarsrum.
Smeg Retro Style 2-Slice Toaster
Smeg is another very popular European kitchen brand that has been gaining traction in the US, thanks in part to the brand’s super-cool retro designs. This 2-slice toaster sports a funky retro-futuristic shape, and is available in a variety of fun colors. Chrome accents and a retro knob and lever complete the look, for a one-of-a-kind countertop appliance. But it’s not all looks—this Smeg toaster features extra-wide slots, six browning levels and three preset program modes.
Vitamix Ascent A3300 Black Diamond Blender
The Vitamix Ascent Series blenders are the perfect example of taking something great and making it even better. Here, the legendary blending power and versatility of a Vitamix blender is enhanced with smart features like built-in timers, wireless connectivity, and a sleek touchscreen interface. From smoothies to soups, a Vitamix will make short work of all of your blending tasks.