TRB TO THE RESCUE: The Pan that Did Not "Pan Out" as Expected

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Dear Rescue Baker:

I recently invested in, what I thought was, a very nice new cookie sheet. However, everything I bake on it burns. I just moved into a new apartment and am still setting up my kitchen so I’ve been using my old cookie sheet with tinfoil. Is there anway to rescue my new baking sheet, which can’t be returned, or do I need to go out and buy a new one?

– Suzanne
Well, Suzanne, you are in luck because I think there is a very simple fix for your problem.

But, let’s back up a second and talk about the importance of making an investment in the proper baking equipment…
I think most bakers would agree that we are only as good as the tools (and quality of ingredients) we have on hand. I’ve found that investing in slightly pricier baking sheets, cake pans, etc. DOES often yield better results. (The old “you get what you pay for” adage definitely applies, when it comes to baking).

So, what constitutes “quality” baking equipment? Typically, you want to invest in light, not dark pans – especially, when baking cookies and cakes. If you do happen to buy a dark pan, always remember to lower the temperature of your oven by 25 degrees. Also, look for pans that are of commercial grade – these are generally sturdier, yield restaurant-quality results and are less expensive than you might think.

(TRB Tip: Home Goods often carries high-end baking pans at very reasonable prices; I recently picked up three Calphalon 9″ cake pans in my local store for $9.99 each, and could not be happier with the results).

Having said that, if you invest in “better” equipment and, like Suzanne, still do not see a difference, what can you do? In this particular case, there are a few potential solutions:

1. Lower the temperature on your oven by 25 degrees, if you are using a dark pan.

2. Make sure that your pan is not placed too close to the bottom of the oven; adjust the racks, if necessary. If the cookies are too close to the heat, they will burn.

3. Be sure to use room-temperature butter when you begin making your dough. If the butter is melted, the cookies will spread and burn.

4. If all else fails, invest in a Silpat – or silicone baking mat – to line the bottom of your pan. This is primarily used to keep your cookies from sticking to the cookie sheet, but it also prevents the cookies from making direct contact with the heat, thus, ensuring they do not burn. And, at a mere $19.99 for a full size mat, the price is definitely right.

Did you find this tip helpful? Post a comment.

4 Responses to “TRB TO THE RESCUE: The Pan that Did Not "Pan Out" as Expected”

  1. Lara Suvada

    I’ve had luck with parchment paper as well. Not as eco-friendly as a Silpat perhaps, but does the job in a pinch.


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