The Easiest Way To Add An Extra Oven Rack And Bake More Cookies At Once

tray of cookies in oven
tray of cookies in oven - IC Production/Shutterstock

'Tis the season for many cooks in the kitchen, many trays of cookies, and overstuffed ovens. If you've ever found yourself playing kitchen tetris, attempting to fit yet another tray in your crammed oven, welcome to the club. We've all been there this time of year. There's nothing like the holiday frustration of having to stagger your baking schedule and wait for space to open up in the oven.

Before you accept being in the kitchen for way longer than you want, there's a simple hack for making more room in your oven and fitting in another tray of cookies. And no, it isn't buying a second oven. Those inexpensive cookie cooling trays -- the kind with folding legs for some added height, make a perfect stand-in additional oven rack. If you don't already have them on hand, go ahead and stock up on a few of this type of cooling tray. The legs lift the tray a few inches, creating the needed space so it has clearance underneath for heat to circulate. This creates another layer to stack a sheet atop of, effectively doubling your capacity with an oven-safe, inexpensive stand-in additional shelf. Place your cooling rack on another cookie sheet instead of trying to balance it directly onto the rungs of your oven rack -- this creates a sturdier surface ready to receive another tray of your fave holiday cookies.

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Will Adding More Layers Of Cookies Impact Cooking Time Or Quality?

cookies cooling on tray
cookies cooling on tray -

We all know many factors contribute to cookie-baking success, from the ingredients you use to the chill time in the fridge, to yes, oven placement. In general, not all spots in your oven are created equal when it comes to even cooking and the quality of your finished baked goods. To appreciate why, one needs a basic understanding of how your standard kitchen oven works. Typical electric ovens heat from the bottom up, with heat rising from the heating elements and circulating. Most bakers consider the middle the best rack for baking cookies. This placement in the oven ensures even heat circulation and browning occurs.

In optimal conditions, you'd bake one tray of cookies at a time, in the primo middle rack position. But holidays aren't always optimal, normal times, and when you're hosting a cookie decorating party or making goodies for a crowd, this hack gets the job done and saves you hours. To make sure all your cookies cook through evenly without turning too brown or not cooking through, you can rotate the trays halfway through baking to ensure some batches don't turn out under or overcooked. One hack can't take the stress entirely out of the holidays, but for the foodies cooking up a frenzy this time of year, consider your holiday cookie conundrum solved.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.