This week's ultimate kitchen item is a great mixer. I know, it's a bit of a splurge, and not everyone is going to use it. However, if you bake a lot (or plan on becoming a better baker), then you might really want to consider one. And, if you're building a registry, it's a great item for people to chip-in and get for you, so go for it!
My personal favorite (the one I have and love love love) is a KitchenAid Pro 600. It's a little pricey (list price: $500, but most places sell it for less than $400), but it will do everything you want it to and more. It comes with a flat beater, a wire whip, dough hook and a clear plastic pouring shield. You also have the option of purchasing other attachments such as a meat grinder, pasta maker or ice-cream machine. If the Pro is too pricey, KitchenAid also has an Artisan model that has a bit less power and capacity.
Three more mixers, including one you can use even if you don't have the counter space, so
Growing up, my mom had a trusty goldenrod colored Sunbeam mixer. In fact, she still has it now. Assuming that Sunbeam's quality standards haven't declined in the last 25 years, then I'd have to say that for $99.99, this shiny red Sunbeam Stand Mixer is quite the bargain. It's available in other colors as well.
Another great mixer splurge is the DeLonghi Stand Mixer. Made from brushed aluminum, it can hold up to 7 quarts, has 6 power speeds and comes with a 10 year warranty. It's similar to the KitchenAid in that you can purchase many attachments and accessories and it comes with a high-ticket price. $440, is not an easy price to swallow, however these things are built to last.
Finally, if you don't have room for a full stand mixer, or can't see yourself using it often enough to justify the purchase, then be sure to get a small hand mixer. This small appliance can be stored in the cupboard and will really help out for things like beating eggs or whipping cream. Hamilton Beach has a 6 Speed Mixer that retails for about $30, but is on sale for $16.97. It also comes with a handy storage case.