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Baking essentials

Making cookies is simpler, and ultimately more successful, if you have equipment that is up to the task. Here are some of my can't-live-without baking supplies.

Making cookies is simpler, and ultimately more successful, if you have equipment that is up to the task. Here are some of my can't-live-without baking supplies.

* Heat-resistant spatulas in various sizes. Good for scraping mixing bowls and stirring chocolate or butter as it melts.

* Offset spatula. Good for reaching around and under cookies. Larger, flat spatulas sometimes tear cookies and are awkward to maneuver.

* Microplane. Makes ribbons of citrus rind much finer than a zester.

* Ice cream scoops. In several sizes; mine are slightly more than 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon. Use them for measuring dough for drop cookies.

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* Wire racks. These are key to making fabulous cookies because they allow cookies to cool uniformly. Cookies that dry on solid surfaces get mushy on the bottom, and those left to cool on hot baking sheets lose moisture.

* Parchment paper. Prevents sticking and makes cleanup easy. Look for it near the wax paper (but don't confuse it with that; they are not interchangeable).

* Cookie sheets. Heavy-gauge aluminum with a reflective surface. They should be rimless.

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