Holiday Gifts: The Toaster Oven
The toaster oven has been on the market for years; however, at first I thought it was a very impractical invention. Why buy a toaster oven when I already have a working full size oven? Recently however, the digital display went out on my oven, and rather than spend hundreds of dollars on parts, labor, and installation I decided to try out this toaster oven. Here is what I found:
- The Size issue: After shopping around and finding a toaster oven for around $20 I pulled it out of the box at was a little concerned at first. The maximum size pan it allowed was a square five by five inch pan that was only about two inches tall at best. I was more than eager to see if this thing really worked so I thought I would try some banana bread. Again I was a little dismayed to find that my typical banana bread pan which has a three inch width and 5 inch length by 3 inch deep would fit but would not allow room for my banana bread to rise. So I gave in and baked my banana bread in the square 5 by 5 pan that was two inches deep. Other than the fact that I am not a natural baker, my "banana bread cake" turned out great. It was still soggy and moist in the middle but brown on the out side because I turned the temperature up too high on the oven out of curiosity of what it could do. At first I could not believe it could actually reach some of the temperatures that it said it could. Stupid me.
- The Temperatures It Can Reach: My $20 toaster oven's lowest reading is 200 degrees from there it goes all the way up to 450 degrees then it reads "broil" then "toast." At first I did not believe that the little box of an oven that I bought could actually do that. However, as from my experience with banana bread, it can reach those temperatures. The directions for my banana bread were based at 350 degrees, but since I had a hard time following directions and believing in my toaster oven I set it at 450 degrees. I will never again underestimate my new oven. As with regular "real size" ovens though, it does need some time to preheat, but other than that it works just fine.
- The Cons: This is definitely not a kids toy and should be kept out of reach of children, and some adults if you know what I mean. The outside of the oven can get hot to the touch as well as the door, and just because I am a worrier I unplug mine when I am done with it. I don't think that is necessary but it makes me feel better knowing that It is one less thing that might burn my house down.
- The Pros: For a $20 oven it has been my best buy this year. I love using it to make toasted subs. Put your favorite condiments on it and it is just as good or better than your favorite sub shop. You don't have to leave your house, and it is a lot cheaper overall. Toaster ovens come in all different sizes and prices so if you love to cook I would suggest buying one that will fit bigger pan sizes. It can be a great addition to your kitchen for all the holiday baking. If you already have a "real oven" that is in use and you have something else that needs to go in, then just throw it in your toaster oven to bake two things at once.
The toaster oven makes great Christmas gifts for college students, people who love to cook, and people who do not have a working oven. I would definitely recommend buying a toaster oven. I am a horrible cook, but my toaster oven has paid for itself with the subs that I have made with it. For anyone who can cook I would recommend spending a little more than $20 to get a bigger one