Vanilla is one of the most important ingredients that a baker can have in his or her pantry, but it is not the only flavoring that plays a big role in baked goods. Williams Sonoma put together a Baker’s Spice Kit in recognition of this fact, grouping some high quality spices that most bakers would say are kitchen staples into a lovely gift set. The kit includes whole allspice, whole gloves, whole nutmeg, cocoa powder, ground Saigon cinnamon and – because we can’t skip the vanilla – vanilla sugar. This set is especially good for holiday baking, as each of these spices would go well in a gingerbread or pumpkin pie.
Because most of the spices in this kit are whole spices, you will need some additional equipment to use them. A spice grinder or coffee grinder will make short work of the allspice and cloves when you need them, and for the nutmeg you’ll want a nutmeg mill or a microplane. It may sound like a lot more work to grind the spices when you need them instead of scooping them out of a jar, but the flavors are much bolder when freshly ground and the spices last a lot longer when they’re kept whole. Plus, if you are considering a spicy set as a holiday gift, a spice grinder and nutmeg mill might make picking additional gifts for the baker in your life quite easy.