Ok, that helps. First of all, it's so thoughtful of you to ask for your wife in a forum like this!
1. What is a silpat?
A silpat is a patented European flexible cookie sheet/pan liner made of made of woven glass fabric impregnated with food grade silicones that is reusable up thousands of times in the oven and freezer. It withstands temperatures from -40'F to 800'F. You don't need to "grease" the pan in any way. Basically, nothing sticks to it. (average cost usually from $20-$25) for full sized sheet.
An article on them from Cook's Illustrated editor: Solutions to Sticky Situations http://www.cheftalkcafe.com/ubb/Foru...ML/000022.html
Sources for Silpat: http://www.p4online.com/silnonsticba.htmlhttp://www.restaurant-store.com/silnonbakmat.htmlhttp://bridgekitchenware.com/cgi-bin...an+and+Silpat/
2. Microplane Zester
I recommend this as highly as the Silpat. It's hard to impress me, especially if I've heard about it. I'd heard about it for a year before I ever got to try one and knew it would be really good. It's totally amazing. Did you ever think zesting a lemon or grating nutmeg could be a pleasure? (Also garlic, ginger, and parmesan.) I didn't. It is SO EASY. I was completely stunned, the zest comes out lighter than a feather! (about $16-$18)http://www.microplane.com/html/kitchen.html
2. Vanilla Beans.... you can't go wrong with fresh vanilla beans or any number of flavorings of pure (not imitation) extracts.
3. Kataifi, a form of phyllo, if she hasn't used it, that might be fun.
4. How about fresh cake yeast or a 25 year old or more sourdough yeast starter? Or recipes for starters like, grape starter or apple starter?
5. King Arthur's Flour printed catalog (I just got mine yesterday): http://www.kingarthurflour.com/cgibi...98090664332609
or browse online: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/cgibi...17239464332609
6. On those hardware store brushes, stick with the natural bristle as opposed to synthetic bristle brushes.
7. How about cookbooks from some of the best bakers in the business?
“Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery: Recipes for the Connoisseur“
(Villard, 1996; $34.95)
“Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery“
(Villard, 2000; $35)
La Brea Bakery Web Site http://www.labreabakery.com/home.htm
If you haven't browsed thru this site, I highly recommend it: http://www.betterbaking.com/
For an ultimate challenge for your wife, print this recipe for her (up for 2 weeks)
MAKING CROISSANTS WITH NANCY http://www.marthastewart.com/televis...ScheduleType=1
SUGAR BUNS WITH NANCY http://www.marthastewart.com/televis...ScheduleType=1
DANISH DIAMONDS WITH NANCY http://www.marthastewart.com/televis...ScheduleType=1
You could go to www.google.com
and and type in baking cookbooks.
Artisan Baking Across America: The Breads, The Bakers, The Best Recipes
by Maggie Glezer, Ben Fink(Photographer). Hardcover (October 2, 2000)
by Nick Malgieri, Tom Eckerle(Photographer). Hardcover (October 2000)
Baking With Julia : Based on the Pbs Series Hosted by Julia Child
by Dorie Greenspan, et al. Hardcover (November 1996)
The Pie and Pastry Bible
by Rose Levy Beranbaum(Introduction). Hardcover (November 1998)
Professional Baking, Trade, 3rd Edition
by Wayne Gisslen. Hardcover (October 3, 2000)
Butter Sugar Flour Eggs : Whimsical Irresistible Desserts
by Gale Gand, et al. Hardcover (October 1999)
The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook/Dedicated to the Pure Joy of Baking
by Brinna Sands. Paperback (September 1992)
How to Bake : The Complete Guide to Perfect Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Tarts, Breads, Pizzas, Muffins, Sweet and Savory
by Nick Malgieri, Tom Eckerle(Photographer). Hardcover (October 1995)
The Village Baker : Classic Regional Breads from Europe and America
by Joe Ortiz. Paperback (March 1997)
The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes From New York's Sweetest Bakery
by Jennifer Appel, et al. Hardcover (November 1999)
The Making of a Pastry Chef: Recipes and Inspiration from America's Best Pastry Chefs
by Andrew MacLauchlan, Scott Vlaun. Paperback (September 13, 1999)
Betty Crocker's Best of Baking : More Than 350 of America's Favorite Recipes
by Betty Crocker. Hardcover (August 7, 1997)
The Fannie Farmer Baking Book
by Marion Cunningham, Lauren Jarrett(Illustrator). Hardcover (April 1996)
Sweet Celebrations : The Art of Decorating Beautiful Cakes
by Kate Manchester, et al. Hardcover (October 1999)
The Italian Baker
by Carol Field. Hardcover (March 1991)
I'm sure everyone else will have great recommendations!