I am going to start out by stating you've got to have a decent rolling pin. You need something with steel ball bearings, and a steel rod holding things together. You need a smooth maple pin of heavy weight and solid handles. What you need is a Thorpe rolling pin! These are wonderful rolling pins that do what they are supposed to do, which is to make rolling dough easy.
Thorpe makes various sizes of rolling pins, but the size I recommend is a 3 1/2 inch cylinder, 15 inch barrell pin. It is called the Baker's Special. You just can't go wrong with it. Julia Child had a couple of Thorpe rolling pins in her collection.
The best little biscuit cutter I have ever found was something I found on Ebay and have never seen again.
Oxo Good Grips dry measuring cups and measuring spoons are the bomb! They are sturdier than most others and I love the comfy little non-slip handles.
There are only two kinds I recommend. I like Pyrex for various reasons. The are oven safe, microwave safe, widely available, cheap, have handles, and come in wonderful colors/patterns. I have owned my set since the 1970s!
The only other kind of "bowl" I recommend are actually Vollrath stainless steel basins! I like them for the range of huge sizes that are available, they are non-tip, unbreakable, and useful for so many things.
I think that a copper bowl for your Kitchenaid narrow bowl 5qt mixer or your Hobart N-50 mixer is a great investment. The mixer's wire whip when used with these bowls will make you egg whites come immediately to attention. Mine is solid heavy copper and has brass fittings and was made in France for Bridge Corp. These bowls have been discontinued, and I bought one of the last of the inventory. Rarely, they are available on Ebay.
These are copper plated on steel. There are bowls being made now and which are available at: http://www.frenchcopperstudio.com/kitchenaid.html
If you are just starting out and have limited funds to spend, I always find that the old Corningware baking pans are a great buy. I can't think of any others I like better. Pie pans, loaf pans, square and round cake pans are available and pretty cheap. Your pie crusts and your bread crusts will be nice and crisp.
And of course there is always many sizes of pyrex measuring cups to choose from. My mother, grandmothers, and everybody else I know uses them.
I found some really fantastic enameled cast iron bakeware that I would like to share with you. Bundt pans, muffin pans, loaf pans, rectangular baking pans, round baking pans, and even pans I use for small pies!
Yes, I have a double oven range, but for some things this item is incredible. I found a stainless steel Farberware Turbo Convection oven. It is not only good for baking but also with the optional dehydrating trays I found on Ebay, it substitutes for a food dehydrator!
And how could I forget half sized commercial aluminum sheet pans? I like the heaviest gauge ones by Lincolnware. They are cheap when bought used from a restaurant supply store.
You know you need these for cooling cakes, pies, cookies, bread, etc. They should be large and strong and stable. You may also want to use them for draining fried foods or icing a cake, or whatever. I like the woven wire grates that are designed to be used in stainless steel hotel pans. Cafeterias often use them in the hotel pans to keep food hot on the buffet line. These wire grates come in all the sizes you can find hotel pans in. I like the large ones best.
Marble Pastry Table
You need a good surface for making pastries, and if you don't have stone, metal, or their equivilent, you you need a piece of marble. Marble is excellent for the purpose because it is naturally cool, impervious to fats, and stays dry -- perfect for pastry.
I lucked up on a marble topped dining table [30 by 52 inches] in a thrift shop one day for about $130. I had no use for the table base because I had an idea. I took my grandmother's rather wobbly oval gateleg breakfast table and put the marble on top. So, just off my kitchen, the marble topped table is available for use as a pastry surface. And what is even better, the weight of the marble stablizes the table! I love brainstorms!
And repeating myself again, you need a heavy duty dependable mixer. This 1930s Kitchenaid model G mixer is mine, but I also recommend a Hobart N-50 either new or used.
What more can I say?
Totally non-essential, yet useful if you have one, is a flour sifter. As usual, I chose one that not only meets my needs but is pretty also.