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(Photo courtesy of Laura Grimmer )
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As a professionally trained chef who’s spent time in restaurant kitchens, I am always looking for kitchen tools that pull double- or triple-duty. You won’t find a lot of one-trick-pony gadgets in my drawers. My little kitchen doesn’t have room for them. One of my favorite things is a half-sheet pan with a cooling rack that fits neatly inside. A half-sheet pan is called that because its dimensions—13x8 inches and 1 inch deep—are half of a full-size commercial pan. Most home ovens are too small to accommodate the giant full-size pans, so a half-sheet is perfect. I use them for all my baking needs, from cookies to bread. Baking sheets serve as the perfect base for one-dish roasted meals. It also makes a perfect (crumb-free) place to cool baked goods if you have more than one sheet pan. I usually have three pans in rotation when baking cookies, one as the cooling rack, with two taking turns in the hot oven. I simply run the pans under cool water between batches to quickly add more dough for quick and seamless baking.—Laura Grimmer, Chef/Owner, The Perfect Pear, 51 Main Street, Chester
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