Custard tarts on chopstick cooling rack

Chopsticks Transform into Improvised Cooling Rack

Place hot cookies and pies directly onto a plate or counter and you’ll get moist bases that turn soggy with condensation. A cooling rack does a fantastic job of solving this issue by allowing cooler air to circulate around baked goods to keep them crisp. If your kitchen is lacking one of these nifty tools and you’ve just whipped up a batch of tartlets, you can line up handy chopsticks to create a makeshift cooling rack in a jiffy.

A cooling rack elevates your oven-hot bakes, allowing the internal heat to dissipate into the air. However, this dandy gadget does far more than simply cool baked goods. You can also use its grid-like pattern to protect your counter from hot saucepans or employ it as a dripping station for deep-fried foods. Luckily, a few cleverly spaced chopsticks can cover all these bases. Arrange them in parallel lines on your counter or over a chopping board with a small gap between each for the air to circulate, and you’ve created a space for your pastries to cool, hot loaf to rest, or fried chicken coating to set.

The benefit of using a series of chopsticks to create a cooling rack is that you can position each chopstick freely to fit the footprint of both small and large pieces of food. Place them closer together to accommodate mini custard tarts, or spread them further apart to cool entire quiches, sponge cakes, and crispy fillets of fish with a greater surface area.

Chopsticks are a space-saving alternative to cooling racks

several chopsticks on surface

A collection of chopsticks can also be easier to store in a cutlery drawer than a full-sized cooling rack that’s trickier to slot into a cupboard that’s heaving with other pieces of kitchen equipment. Repurposing your chopsticks is therefore particularly useful if you’re short on storage space and need every item in your kitchen to earn its keep. All you need to do is pull out a couple of chopsticks and position them on the counter at the same diameter as your cake tin to create a makeshift rack when cooling anything from baked cheesecakes to impressive Bundts. 

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The flexibility of chopsticks means that they’re also perfect for accommodating unusually shaped cake pans or pots. Need greater support for tender sponges? Add more chopsticks and arrange them closer together. Want to decorate your muffins with some dribbly icing? Set them on top of the chopsticks and get drizzling because the chopsticks will be easier to clean once you’re done than the intricate hash-like pattern of a cooling rack.

Even if you do have a cooling rack, chopsticks are handy to have in the kitchen to provide additional cooling space, and for several other culinary purposes, too.

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