Still using your grandmother's split-pea-green handheld mixer (the one that smells like burning and shoots the attachments across the room when you hit eject)? Kitchen appliances have come a long way, and thanks to an economy in recession, many of the most popular brands are offering huge discounts for the holiday season. The top five gadgets on our wish list this year, listed below.
5. Countertop Grills / Panini Makers Hot Brand: Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler $185.00 $79.93 on Amazon It took watching the YouTube video demonstration for us to realize just how cool this new gadget from Cuisinart really was. The countertop unit works as contact grill, Panini press, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle by way of removable and reversible nonstick cooking plates. Our favorite feature: Unlike the George Foreman Grill we had in college--plates, drip tray, and scraper can all be tossed in the dishwasher when you're done.
4. Food Processors Hot Brand: Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor
$180.00 $99.95 on Amazon The food processor has become a kitchen staple, cutting prep time down to a minimum. Great for delicate tasks, like finely minced onions and garlic or slicing julienne carrots, to more general applications like soups, sauces, and pastries. This particular product comes fully equipped with a steel blade, dough blade, slicing disc, and shredding disc, oversized "feed tube" (seriously, can someone please come up with a better term for the opening at the top?), and it's completely dishwasher safe.
3. Stand Mixers Hot Brand: KitchenAid K45SS Classic 250-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer
$269.00 $179.00 on Amazon Stand mixers are the Cadillac of the kitchen, always kept shiny and displayed prominently on the countertop. Never mind the fact that most of our friends that own one seldom use it - we'd still love to have one on the off occasion that we decide to do any hardcore baking (or any baking, for that matter). The K45SS Classic features a 250-watt, 10-speed mixer with tilt-up head, 4-1/2-quart bowl holds dough for 2 loaves of bread, a flat beater, wire whip, and dough hook and a guide featuring tips and 67 recipes.
2. Slow Cookers Hot Brand: Hamilton Beach 33967 Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
$59.99 $44.99 Slow cookers do all the work while you go about your day. This particular model works overtime, with three cooking modes, a thermometer probe for meat, and a clip-tight gasket lid for spill resistance (this modification is brilliant. If you've ever carted a slow cooker full of cheese dip to a party, you know why). Priced under $50, this is a steal.
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1. Hand-Held Blenders Hot Brand: Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blender
$55.00 $28.95 Hand held blenders (or Immersion Blenders) are the hottest small appliances on Amazon.com this season, and this particular model is the most popular and best reviewed of the bunch.
The Smart Stick features a powerful 200-watt motor, simple push-button controls, and lightweight design for one-handed use directly in pots, pitchers and bowls. Use it to blend cocktails, purée soup and mix batter quickly and easily. A drawback of this particular model is the inability to chop nuts or hard foods--but at under $30, who cares?