A 3 quart saucepan is the perfect size for many kitchen tasks, like making pastry cream and curds, boiling water to melt chocolate, and frying small batches of doughnuts. This model is a great value for the money: it has even heat distribution, a fairly heavy bottom, and is even dishwasher safe!
These sturdy 8-inch cake pans have a removable bottom, to make removing baked cakes a breeze! They're also great for molding softer desserts, like mousse cakes--just use an acetate collar along the sides.
Springform pans are a must if you want to make cheesecake, but they're good for so much more than that! The removable sides make them a great tool for molding delicate desserts, ice cream cakes, mousses, and many other desserts. This model is affordable but high-quality and sturdy.
This is the book that made me fall in love with Dorie Greenspan! I've literally made almost every single one in here--I'm probably only missing 6 or 7 of the hundreds of recipes. This is the book I would recommend for anyone searching for a baking primer. Dorie covers tons of ground and has a chapter for basically any type of dessert you want to make, from muffins to pies to ice creams. She does a great job of providing basic recipes and introducing classic techniques, but she also has more creative and original twists on old favorites. I've given this as a gift countless times, and cannot recommend it enough.