Kitchen gadgets, cook's tools and other inexpensive and small-sized - but infinitely useful - kitchenware items make fantastic stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, secret santa or "white elephant" gifts. Here are some of our favorites, or check out a previous list of Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Cooks for more inspiration.
For someone who does a lot of baking or drink-mixing, or simply loves the tart flavors of citrus fruit, this little tool is a must-have. It has a a fine rasp for grating citrus pool, garnishing tools to make strips of decorative peel in two different widths, and a plastic tip to score an orange for easy peeling. Made by Microplane, it is of the same quality and usefulness as the company's iconic rasp graters.
These are among the best-designed measuring spoons we've ever found, with features that any cook will appreciate. Each spoon has a measuring spoon at each end: one is rounded for measuring liquids, and one is elongated so it can reach into narrow spice jars. The bases of each spoon are flat so that the spoons can rest flat on the counter to be filled, without rolling to one side. The spoons nest and stack, with imbedded magnets on each to keep them together in the drawer. Included in the 5-piece set is: 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 tablespoon and 1 tablespoon. They are stainless steel with black plastic accents, but are also available in green and white all-plastic version (compare prices).
Avid bakers will love this super-effective and super-efficient pastry blender (it's a favorite with the pros at baking company King Arthur Flour). Its sturdy construction means the blades will never bend out of shape, and a comfortable, ergonomically shaped handle makes it a pleasure to hold... not that you'll need to be gripping it for very long, since the company claims that with the blender, it only takes about 60 seconds to work the fat into the flour.
Who can't use a good pizza wheel, especially people who love making their own homemade pizza (one to try from our archives: Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza)? This version from Zyliss has a genius design: the rounded plastic shield over the blade doubles as the handle, so the user can put weight more comfortably and easily into the pizza, cutting effortlessly through even tough or crisp crusts. It's easy to clean, since the blade pops out of the cover and can even be washed in the dishwasher. In addition to pizza, it's great for cutting sheets of dough or quesadillas.
The Victorinox Swiss Classic line of knives has a cult following among pro chefs because of its nimble, lightweight blade that stays sharp (as long as you take care of your knife), its comfortable handle and its surprisingly affordable price. If the chef's knife is a little more than you want to spend on a small gift (or if it won't fit in your stocking!), check out the utility knives and paring knives, which are only around $10.