Tobi Fairley is a Thermador brand partner.

We are fast approaching the holiday season – my favorite time of the year to be in the kitchen whipping up delicious meals and treats. Not much “feeds” my soul like being in the kitchen – it’s a place where my creativity soars!

Baking Essentials

One of my favorite things about making a meal or a baking something sweet is that even the most labor-intensive recipes are still complete in a few hours. So much of my work as a designer is never-ending, or at least takes months to complete, so there is something super-satisfying about the beginning and the end of a culinary creation all happening in the same day. Plus, cooking and baking is definitely a way we Southerners show love to those important people in our lives!

For the holidays, there are a lot of meals created in my kitchen, but the thing I enjoy the most is baking. My daughter and I love to make cookies and cupcakes for friends and family, and I enjoy baking loaves of crusty delicious bread, too. We even bring a few friends in to help, or we bake in their kitchens – because it’s so much fun to get a group together for a fun day of creating delicious treats and gifts!

Baking with Friends

This year I’m baking in a friend’s house – in a kitchen that I designed with fantastic Thermador appliances that really work for cooks like us. I’m still in the middle of my own home’s kitchen makeover, but we’re getting closer to unveiling my dream kitchen!

One of the appliances that I am most excited about selecting is a Thermador Steam and Convection Oven. The only difficulty is in deciding which of the three amazing models to choose: The Professional Series Built-In Steam and Convection Oven, the Masterpiece Series Built-In Steam and Convection Oven, or the Pro Grand Steam Stainless Steel Range. These ovens provide all the benefits of steam cooking combined with traditional true convection — all in one appliance.

The way the Thermador steam oven works is that there’s a water tank you fill with regular water, and pop it in the slot – no need to re-plumb your kitchen!  The water is then released into the oven during the cooking process, creating steam which then surrounds the food inside.

One of the amazing things about the steam oven is that it prevents the transfer of flavors, so you can cook things like pumpkin pie and pot roast at the same time and the flavors won’t mix.  It also has tons of preset programs that automatically set the oven temperature and humidity for things you cook often.

Best of all, if you’re a baker, the steam oven can re-create that environment that commercial bakeries have that produce a chewy, crackly top. And you can proof the dough and bake it without preheating!

The Thermador True Convection featured in its Convection Ovens cooks with heat from a third element behind the back wall of the oven. The heat is circulated throughout the oven with the convection fan, which means that food will cook more evenly and more quickly than it does in a conventional oven. So that means my pie crusts will be even flakier and those cookies I love to bake will be browned exactly the same in every batch! And that’s true even using all of the racks, which means I can bake many more batches at the same time. Genius!

Clean up is also easy, and quick with Thermador’s Convection Ovens! In just 2 hours, which includes cleaning and cool down, the interior walls and rack supports become perfectly clean, thanks to the fastest self-cleaning oven cycle on the market.

With Thermador’s help, I look forward to cooking up some fabulous treats with my friends and family this holiday season, and I wish you and yours a fun (and delicious) time together!

Tobi Baking


Tobi’s Iced Sugar Cookies

5 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups butter, room temperature

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.

With an electric or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, and then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg has been added.

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture with mixer on low speed, but only until it is all just combined.

Divide dough into 4 portions and wrap each in plastic wrap. Put the dough into the freezer for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove one portion to work with, and put the other 3 portions into the fridge until needed.

Roll dough out on a lightly-floured surface to about ¼ inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into shapes and then transfer to a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper or a Silpat baking liner.

Bake cookies in oven until slightly golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving cookies to a wire rack. Repeat the process above for the remaining dough.

Once the cookies are completely cool, use icing to frost them as desired.

Sugar Cookie Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla

¾ Tablespoon milk

a few drops of food coloring, as desired

Combine and frost sugar cookies.

To see more of my culinary creations, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or my blog!