I never dreamed that I’d own a KitchenAid by age 26. Thirty-six, maybe. Or maybe never. Back in the States, in my circle of friends, getting a KitchenAid at your bridal shower was de rigueur. If each guest at the shower contributed $20 towards the gifts, it didn’t take long to collect enough for the brand-name stand mixer. And with store coupons, there was always enough left over for things like bathroom towels, baking trays, and sets of Pyrex dishes.
Once I purchased my one-way plane ticket to Israel, I knew that the American-style shower I’d envisioned was not happening. Along with that realization came the knowledge that there would be no KitchenAid. It didn’t bother me, though. After all, I was still single. I wasn’t doing much cooking, and I had no idea how useful a stand mixer could be. I had also grown up in a house without one, so it didn’t seem essential. Interesting, cool, fun — yes. Essential? No.
Fast-forward about three years. My husband and I were approaching our second anniversary, which meant that I had two years’ worth of ferocious kitchen experimentation under my belt. In that time, I had gone from being someone who just loved food to being a food writer and recipe developer, with plans for a cookbook. And I definitely had a few ideas about how I’d use a KitchenAid, if I could ever justify the expense. But with prices as high as they were, that wasn’t looking too likely.
It was on Erev Yom Tov last Succos that my husband saw the ad for a second-hand KitchenAid. Someone in Telzstone was selling it for less than half the retail price! It seemed too good to be true, but I dialed the number listed and asked whether they’d already sold it.
They hadn’t. I kept talking.
I asked which hechsherim had been used with it, and the seller told me that they only used Badatz in their house.
“And Rav Rubin,” he added. “If you hold by it.”
I smiled. Yeah, we hold by Rav Rubin.
I asked whether the pieces had been toveled, and he assured me that they had. I asked whether he had sold it with their chametz each year, and he said that actually, he had always sold the entire apartment because they went away for Pesach. Hesitating, I asked whether it was…somehow…fleishig? Nope, he said. Pareve. And they barely ever used it, so it was like new.
I told him I’d call him right back; I just wanted to talk about it with my husband. That conversation was probably our most efficient.
Me: It’s half-price, Badatz, everything’s toveled, they sold it with their chametz, and it’s pareve!! I can’t believe it!
Husband (grinning): Tell him we can come on Isru Chag.
And we did. My husband carried it home (carefully padded with towels and bubble wrap) in his huge camping backpack. If you had asked me a week earlier whether there was room in our small kitchen for a mixer, I would have said definitely not. We have 3½ feet of counter space, and half of that is where I lay dishes to dry. But when you score a heimishe KitchenAid for half-price, you find space. Especially because if you put it anywhere but right on the counter, the chances of dragging it out and actually using it are approximately zero.
I use the KitchenAid for everything now: cookie, muffin, and cake batters; dough for challah and pizza and breadsticks; whipping dessert topping into fluffy cream; and beating egg whites until those otherwise-elusive peaks form. I’m continually amazed at how it takes the work out of baking. I used to cream together sugar and butter with my fingers because the beaters in the hand mixer never quite did the job. And kneading dough by hand was always a Project with a capital “P.” As for egg whites, I tried to avoid them. These days, though, it’s a matter of flicking a switch.
Homemade granola probably doesn’t come to mind as a recipe for which you’d need a KitchenAid. But whenever I used to stir honey into oats and nuts, I would have to use my hands to evenly distribute the sticky stuff — and then I’d have to use the dish sponge to scrub them clean afterward. Letting the KitchenAid do the work for me makes homemade granola all gain and no pain.
Just how painless? It takes all of five minutes to prepare, and it’s a healthier alternative to manufactured versions. Plus, it’s equally as delicious over yogurt (or ice cream) as it is alone. And that means there’s no excuse for not trying it.
Yield: About 6 cups
- 3 cups quick-cooking oats
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup ground unsweetened coconut
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp silan (date honey/syrup)*
- 3 Tbsp water
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips
*Can’t find silan? You can substitute with regular honey.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, briefly mix together the oats, pecans, almonds, coconut, flaxseeds, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Add the silan and water. Mix for about 1 minute on low speed, or until evenly combined.
3. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets and spread it out in an even layer on each. (If the pan is too crowded, the granola won’t crisp properly.) Bake for 13 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool, then add raisins and chocolate chips and stir to distribute. Store in the freezer to best retain the crunch.
Tip: Don’t have a stand mixer? You can also mix the granola without one, but you may need to (literally) use your hands to evenly coat the dry ingredients with the silan.