The other day I made chocolate chip cookies—the same recipe on the back of the Nestle’s package that I've been using for years. So when the cookies turned out greasy and flat instead of rounded and chewy, I couldn't figure out what I had done differently. Turns out I got sidetracked and let the butter soften to mush on the counter before I got to making the cookies. Big mistake!
I since found out that if butter is too warm it won't be able to hold enough air when whipped, and that's what gives baked goods their loft. We collected a bunch of similar cooking blunders that can cost you time, money, and even hurt your health, for a story in our June issue. Here's a sampling of what not to do!
Don't! Use your nonstick pans on very high heat.
Why: Very high heat temperatures can break down the coating and create fumes that can kill pet birds and possibly flulike symptoms in people.
Don't! Line the oven with foil.
Why: It can trap heat, throwing off the oven's performance, or melt, damaging the oven or even causing a fire.
Don't! Ignore instructions to rotate baking pans.
Why: When baking a casserole, many recipes suggest rotating pans during cooking to make sure the dish is uniformly cooked because your oven may have pockets where one are gets hotter than another.
Don't! Run cold water over hot pans and baking sheets.
Why: It can ruin your pans. Over time the repeated expanding and contraction of the materials can cause permanent warping and cracking.
Find more kitchen no-nos on page 69 of the June issue of ShopSmart, on newsstands now.