Gear that will help you win a cookie contest

Remember: every season is cookie season.

cookies
Essential gear for perfect cookiesMollie Sivaram via Unsplash

The tantalizing aroma of cookies baking is so powerful that it’s been bottled and sold in the form of candles and scented oils. But these clever teasers will never give you the satisfaction of devouring a shortbread cookie full of buttery taste and crumbly goodness. Fortunately, the only thing standing between you and a plate of chonky sugar nuggets is the right gear for your kitchen. Avoid tasteless messes, try a few fancy shapes, and reduce the risk of setting off your smoke alarm. These seven cookie enablers will take you all the way from recipe to serious snacking.

Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection: 100+ Recipes to Take Your Sweet Treats to the Next Level

Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection: 100+ Recipes to Take Your Sweet Treats to the Next Level

Know your dough.Amazon

With more than 100 recipes and mouth-watering photos of confections from sparkly lemon to pastel butter cookies, this book will inspire you to roll up your sleeves and throw on a chef’s hat. Cookie novices will find practical tips on baking tools and technique, and expert bakers will find fancy and beautiful ideas to delight any party guest.

KitchenAid KSM150PSGC Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer

KitchenAid KSM150PSGC Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer

You’re a baker now, kid.Amazon

Get perfect batter every time and save yourself some labor with this 10-speed stand mixer. There are a lot of KitchenAid models on the market to choose from, but this 5 quart model is powerful enough to handle PTA meetings or office party baking requests without turning your counter space into a commercial kitchen. The tilt-head design makes it easier to add ingredients to the attractive stainless steel mixing bowl. You’ll want to use the included flat beater for mixing together your cookie dough, but you’ll find plenty of other uses for the machine’s settings and attachments from making homemade bread dough to whipping cream.

Oxo Good Grips Cookie Press

Oxo Good Grips Cookie Press

The secret to fancy shapes.Amazon

This alternative to traditional cookie cutters allows you to skip rolling out your dough and press out consistent designs ideal for holidays and special occasions. Easily mold spritz butter cookies in the shape of butterflies, snowflakes, flowers, shells, and more by filling the clear cylinder with dough, choosing a metal disk design, and pushing down on the lever. It’s simple to disassemble for cleaning, and has a stable base and sturdy handle for cranking out enough batches to meet your cravings.

Oven Thermometer

Oven Thermometer

Find out if your oven brings the heat.Amazon

When you turn the dial on your oven to 400 degrees, is that the temperature inside your oven? Maybe not—yet having an accurate temperature is a crucial element of baking cookies. This affordable stainless steel thermometer with a shatter-resistant face was designed for commercial kitchens, and records temperatures from 60-580 degrees Fahrenheit, giving you more than enough information to cook everything from dehydrated kale to pizza. Hang this small analog device from your oven rack, learn whether your oven runs a little bit hot or cool, and adjust your dial with confidence. Just don’t forget to pre-heat.

Wildone Baking Sheet with Silicone Mat Set

Wildone Baking Sheet with Silicone Mat Set

A different kind of non-stick pan.Amazon

Good baking sheets help your cookies bake evenly and efficiently. For people who don’t want to purchase pans with non-stick coating, silicone mats are an alternative to keep cookies together without using disposable parchment paper. Each of the 3 rust-resistant stainless steel baking sheets in this set (9” x 7”, 9.65” x 12.25” and 12” x 16”) comes with their own reusable silicone mat. The pans are designed to retain their shape and feature smooth edges with a 1-inch depth to keep food in its place. The food-grade silicone and durable fiberglass mats keep your snickerdoodles, macaroons, and cowboy cookies from sticking, and can be washed with soap and water or thrown in your dishwasher for future culinary extravaganzas.

Ultra Cuisine 100 percent Stainless Steel Wire Cooling Rack for Baking

Ultra Cuisine 100 percent Stainless Steel Wire Cooling Rack for Baking

Just don’t leave to cool near an open first-floor window.Amazon

Once your cookies are done, you’ll need to let them cool to settle into their ideal texture for eating. These stainless steel racks have four feet that raise them to 1 inch in height, giving you plenty of air circulation around your treats. The square spaces between the grid are just ⅜-inch in size, ensuring your baked goods don’t droop into the holes. When you’re feeling the need to cook healthier foods, these racks can be used to roast veggies and meats, and will fit right into a 10 x 13-inch baking pan.

Prepworks by Progressive 8-Piece Frosting Bulb Decorating Kit

Prepworks by Progressive 8-Piece Frosting Bulb Decorating Kit

Finish them before you finish them off.Amazon

Frosting can be as basic as a few chocolate stripes on your peanut butter cookie or as complex as writing a sugary sonnet on your gingerbread. Instead of using disposable pastry bags, try these silicone bulbs for a lower environmental impact. Each bulb in this set of two holds about ¾ cup of frosting, and can be microwaved up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit to make decorating easier. Choose one of six stainless steel piping tips to create stars, circles, leaves, weave, and other designs. A wide mouth makes the bulbs simple to clean and refill with different colors, and you can even throw them in your dishwasher.