What the heck do you do with parchment paper? How do you use a pastry bag? Buddy Valastro, author of Baking with the Cake Boss, lists everything you need for at-home baking success-including how to avoid grating your knuckles on a microplane zester.
I recommend that you have three types of brushes as part of your kitchen arsenal. A pastry brush is the best way to apply syrups and other soaking liquids to sponge cakes, to work with melted butter, and to apply water to fondant if you don't have a water pen (see page 195). (A squeeze bottle with a sponge tip applicator or a spray bottle will also work.) A bench brush has long, stiff bristles and is made for sweeping flour off your work surface. I rarely see these in home kitchens, but I recommend you own one because it makes it very easy to get your surface clean. A large makeup brush, sometimes called a powder brush, is useful for patting down sugar or cornstarch on your work surface when you are working with fondant.