Blame it on Instagram, blame it on Alison Roman, but this time last year, I just had to make the cookies. For those who may have missed the craze, the cookies are Alison Roman's Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies, a recipe from the former Bon Appétit senior food editor's delightful cookbook Dining In. Seemingly overnight, the slice and bake sweets became an Instagram sensation, spurring even non-bakers like myself to purchase plastic wrap, parchment paper, and salted butter in order to make them.
I quickly learned, however, that shortbread cookies are deceptively simple, if (and this is a big if) you have an electric mixer. You see, it's tragically impossible to beat butter until it's super light and fluffy by hand unless, of course, you frequent the gym (which I decidedly do not). So, with a 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupon in hand, I headed to the domestic merchandise retailer to purchase an appliance that would forever change my relationship with baking: a $35 KitchenAid hand mixer. At a ridiculously affordable price, this humble appliance creams butter, whips egg whites, and mashes avocados better than I could ever manage by hand. In short, it was worth every penny.
In case you need a recipe (or six) to convince you that you need this game-changing appliance in your kitchen too, here are seven easy dessert recipes I swear by, made all the easier with an electric hand mixer.
Pecan Chocolate Chip Slice and Bake Cookies
The Recipe: Pecan Chocolate Chip Slice and Bake Cookies
Why I Love It: I know it must sound like I'm obsessed with slice-and-bake cookies (and maybe I am), but their convenience cannot be overstated. The dough can be prepped up to two days in advance, making them a great make-ahead dessert for bringing to that upcoming holiday party. Or for slicing and baking while you binge-watch the new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies
The Recipe: Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies
Why I Love It: There are countless chocolate chip cookie recipes claiming to be the best—but this one is actual perfection. With butter that's been whipped for five minutes, these cookies have deliciously crunchy edges, soft and chewy centers, and a slightly nutty flavor from the tahini. (Trust me, the tahini is the secret ingredient that will have everyone asking you for this recipe.)
One Bowl Chocolate Sheet Cake With Milk Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Why I Love It: By far the easiest recipe on this list (made all the easier with an electric hand mixer), this one-bowl cake is ready in just 40 minutes (aka in less time than it takes to watch an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). Requiring 15 minutes of prep time and only 25 minutes in the oven, this is the recipe I turn to when I'm looking for instant gratification.
Banana Banana Bread With Maple Mascarpone
The Recipe: Banana Banana Bread With Maple Mascarpone
Why I Love It: This banana bread is heavy-handed on the sweet fruit (hence the repetitive recipe title). Made with creamed butter (thank you, KitchenAid hand mixer), molassesy brown sugar, and plenty of mashed bananas, this is a fluffy, moist, decadently delicious loaf. Topped with maple mascarpone, why would you make any other banana bread ever again?
Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread
The Recipe: Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread
Why I Love It: Admittedly, this is one of the more ambitious baked goods I've ever attempted to make, and, I won't sugar coat it for you: This recipe requires a lot of time and patience. That said, it is also very attainable. The biggest hurdle is setting aside enough time to allow each layer cool before assembling. The verdict: 10/10 would make again.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Swirled Cookie Bars
The Recipe: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Swirled Cookie Bars
Why I Love It: There are a lot of reasons to love these sweet, salty, buttery chocolate chip peanut butter swirled cookie bars. For starters, the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is pretty unbeatable. On top of that, you only need 15 minutes to whip up the dough. And if you keep basic baking supplies in your kitchen, you already have everything you need to make these right now. Win, win, win.
Cinnamon Apple Crumble Cake
The Recipe: Cinnamon Apple Crumble Cake
Why I Love It: In addition to being absolutely delicious and incredibly easy to make, this apple crumble cake makes my entire apartment smell amazing. The combination of sweet apples, spicy cinnamon, and aromatic vanilla fills my kitchen with a mouthwatering scent. Just add mulled wine for a lovely evening in.