1. When Making Oatmeal Cookies, Lose the Instant Oats: These kind of oats have been parcooked and then re-dried. They have almost no oat flavor—not a great quality when making oatmeal cookies—and they’re sticky. They’re better suited as wallpaper paste than they are the bedrock of your oatmeal cookie recipe.
2. Use Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats, But Cut Down on Flour: Just like the recipe on the back of the cannister, we preferred old-fashioned rolled oats in our oatmeal cookie recipe. However, we use less flour. Using less flour allows the oat flavor to really assert itself. (We also use a little less baking soda. Less leavener = less cakey cookies.)
3. Most Pie Carriers Aren’t Worth Your Money: They’re either equipped with lids that are too low or too flimsy—leading to crushed pies. Look for a pie carrier with a grippy interior base to anchor your pies in place so they don’t move around in transit, and an expandable dome so even your tallest pies don’t get crushed. [Buy Our Favorite Pie Carrier on Amazon]
4. Preparing Your Ingredients Before Cooking Is Key, and You’ll Need the Best Bowls for the Job: Prep work isn’t just for restaurant kitchens. In order to execute a recipe smoothly and efficiently, you’ll want to make sure you prepare all of your ingredients before you begin cooking. A good set of mise en place bowls—mise en place translates roughly from French to “everything in its place”—will help you do just that. When buying a set of small prep bowls, go with glass. They’re microwave-safe (and dishwasher-safe, and oven-safe), easy to fill, easy to empty, and resistant to stains and odors. [Buy Our Favorite Set on Amazon]
5. When Making Pecan Bars, Toasted Nuts Are Key: We tested recipes for pecan bars with nuts that had been toasted and nuts that hadn’t been toasted. The bar’s sweet glaze will cover and darken the pecans either way, but pecans that had been toasted were a darker shade of brown and had considerably more flavor than pecans that had not been toasted. Trust us: toasting the nuts makes for a more beautiful and more delicious pecan bar.
Quote of the Week: “I don’t even bake them, I just mix the dough . . . That’s why you mix it in a bowl—serves one.” —Bridget Lancaster, on eating cookie dough
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- Season 17, Episode 14 Recap: How to Make Baked Alaska
- Season 17, Episode 13 Recap: How to Make the Best Frozen Yogurt
- Season 17, Episode 12 Recap: How to Make the Best Pantry Pasta Dishes
- Season 17, Episode 11 Recap: Taking on the Best of the Big Easy
- Season 17, Episode 10 Recap: How to Make the Best Korean Rice Bowls (Dolsot Bibimbap)
- Season 17, Episode 9 Recap: How to Roast Turkey and Boil Corn
- Season 17, Episode 8 Recap: How to Make the Best Ground Beef Chili
- Season 17, Episode 7 Recap: How to Make the Ultimate Sticky Buns
- Season 17, Episode 6 Recap: How to Make the Best Shrimp Scampi
- Season 17, Episode 5 Recap: How to Make the Best Cheese and Tomato Lasagna
- Season 17, Episode 4 Recap: Home-Corned Beef and Cabbage—and Shots of Sherry (Vinegar)
- Season 17, Episode 3 Recap: Crispy Chicken Breasts and Creamy Baked Potatoes
- Season 17, Episode 2 Recap: "Two Stews for Yous"
- Season 17, Episode 1 Recap: Cast Iron is Back!
What was your favorite part of this episode of America’s Test Kitchen? Let us know in the comments!