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Essential Equipment for the No-Cook Sweet Treats Kitchen

by Liz Bygrave (July 2009; updated July 2010)

One of the things that I like about this ‘no-cook’ way of making dessert and chocolate recipes is that you don’t need expensive equipment. I would say that the only absolute essentials are:

A coffee/nut grinder

An ordinary blender

A set of measuring cups

A set of measuring spoons

The total cost of the above is about £30-£40.

This list may come as a surprise to any raw food readers who have long been used to being told that a top notch blender like a VitaMix is absolutely essential to making raw food dishes.  (For non-raw food readers this piece of equipment costs around £500 and is regarded as the ultimate in power blenders.)

I don’t have a VitaMix, and quite frankly I don’t want one. I grind nuts and coconut in my lovely cheap coffee/nut grinder, and I blend liquids and semi-liquids in the blender it came with (try Kenwood for similar models at around £25 - £30.00.

The nut grinder does just as it says – it grinds nuts. It grinds them to a powder (or a paste depending on the nut), and it does it very quickly. This is great for making chocolate truffles, cheesecakes, flan bases etc. While you’re not really meant to, you can also use it for some semi-liquids, eg combining berries and agave to make a coulis type recipe.

The blender makes milkshakes, smoothies and ice creams. You can also make nut milks (and seed milks): simply blend nuts and water together. I generally use double the amount of water to nuts but everyone’s different. Strain the liquid through a piece of muslin placed over a sieve (or just use the sieve if you don’t have any muslin). You can also buy specialist nut milk bags. Milk made from shelled hemp doesn’t need straining.

I also have a cheap hand blender, but there’s only one recipe (the Chocolate Mousse on the Desserts and Cakes Workshop) that I ever use it for.

I use my electronic scales a lot – I would definitely recommend electronic scales as they’re so easy and accurate to use. Mine are about 18 months old, the battery has required changing once, and I use (and abuse) them every day, including dropping them on the floor. They make it so easy to weigh out a series of ingredients because you can just set them to ‘0’ each time you add a new ingredient. You can get the same make (Anthony Worrall Thompson) for £9.99 + pp from here.

But you can get by without them – a set of measuring cups is sufficient and a bit cheaper (about £5) if funds are tight. As well as measuring dry ingredients they’re also useful for measuring liquids and syrups.

Then there are the measuring spoons – much more accurate than relying on your cutlery to measure out small amounts. Definitely a must in my kitchen, in fact I have many sets so that I don’t have to keep washing them up in the middle of making a recipes. But one set will be enough for most people, particularly if it’s the double-ended ones that Lakeland do, and which I thoroughly recommend - get them here.

So that’s it. It’s also useful to have a couple of spatulas (again I have lots, collecting spatulas of various sizes and colours is becoming a bit of an obsession with me). I LOVE mini-spatulas as they’re so useful for getting the last bits of a recipe out of the bowl, or extracting that last bit of agave syrup from the measuring spoon.

Other useful pieces of equipment are cake and flan tins with removable bases and moulds for making chocolate bars and bonbons.

Apart from this, anything else you need – cutlery, bowls you will have in your kitchen already. Simple!

Other articles on this site:

A Guide to Natural Sugar Substitutes

Xylitol: Ahealthier Way To SweetenYour Food?

What’s Up With Agave?

Coconut Sugar - Nature’s Perfect Sweetener?
My Top Six Favourite Ingredients

A Beginners’ Guide to Raw Chocolate

Superfoods Part One

Superfoods Part Two

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Please note that any information given on this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be taken as such.