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The Super Simple Chopstick Hack For A DIY Cooling Rack In A Pinch

Two hands holding up chopsticks
Two hands holding up chopsticks - LeviaUA/Shutterstock

Sheet pans, oven mitts, and muffin tins are some of the quintessential items you can find in a baker's kitchen. Beyond the basics, a cooling rack is another one of those essential kitchen tools for baking. Cooling racks help lower the temperature of freshly baked goods by facilitating air circulation on all sides of the food for fast and even cooling. Without them, baked goods will only cool on the surface exposed to the air rather than the bottom side resting on a plate or baking sheet, leading to uneven or soggy textures. Although they're a handy tool, not everyone has a cooling rack. If you have chopsticks, however, you can fashion a DIY cooling rack in a pinch.

Thanks to their shape, which mimics the columns of a cooling rack, lining up chopsticks in a neatly organized row makes for the perfect makeshift cooling rack. Although they are only a few centimeters thick, the circumference of chopsticks is still wide enough to enable an elevation that allows cool air to circulate on all sides of your pastries.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

Tips For Building A Chopstick Cooling Rack

Cookies on chopstick cooling rack
Cookies on chopstick cooling rack - miss.adelle_expat/Instagram

Luckily, it doesn't take a pro builder to fashion a cooling rack out of chopsticks. However, you can make the process even easier by keeping a few simple tips in mind.

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For starters, opt for sturdy chopsticks that can hold up to the weight of your baked goods. Chopsticks acquired from takeout orders can work, but because they're cheaper than store-bought varieties and often splinter, they may not provide adequate support and could potentially break off into your food, posing a significant safety hazard. With that in mind, it's best to use high-quality chopsticks made of metal, bamboo, dense plastic, or wood that's been sanded and polished for a smooth finish.

If you are cooling particularly large items, consider creating a crosshatch pattern by layering another set of chopsticks perpendicular to the first set to provide additional support and stability. Make sure to set up the chopstick cooling rack on a flat surface so they don't roll away. However, the weight of the food should hold them down well enough to keep them in place.

Foods To Avoid Cooling On Chopsticks

loaf on chopstick cooling rack
loaf on chopstick cooling rack - david_schellingerhoudt/Instagram

Although you can air out quite a few baked goods on a chopstick cooling rack, there are some oven-cooked foods that you should avoid placing on this improvised kitchen tool. Don't worry -- there's not many!

Cooling racks serve a broader purpose beyond pastries and are commonly utilized to drain pan drippings from roasted meat, ensuring that excess oils are removed from the joint. Considering the potential mess, refrain from using your chopstick cooling rack for resting meat. Instead, opt for a taller cooling rack and place a plate or bowl underneath to catch any juices. Similarly, baked goods with drippy or runny fillings may not be suitable for cooling on chopsticks as their sticky consistency may adhere to the utensils, making it difficult to remove them without damaging the dessert. Delicate pastries with flaky or tender textures -- like puff pastries or croissants -- may not fare well on chopsticks as they're prone to collapsing or developing dents from the shape of the DIY cooling rack. If you notice a mess budding or the shape of your food is changing, remove it from the chopsticks and use a toaster oven to cool them off instead.

Whether you're making chocolate chip cookies or blueberry muffins, you never have to worry about uneven textures and disparate cooling with a rack built from chopsticks. Although it's only one of many baking tips that every home cook should know, it's one of the easiest and most accessible.

Read the original article on Daily Meal