Thursday, February 16, 2006

Product Review: IKEA Cookie Sheet

I don't know why, but I have a hard time finding good cookie sheets that I like. What's so hard about making such a simple piece of kitchen equipment? I have only one baking sheet that I like, and I almost always need more than one when I'm doing anything.

Now that I finally live in a more civilized part of the country, that is with good stores nearby, I've been looking forward to finding out what all the IKEA fuss is about. A few weeks ago, business in Seattle gave me an opportunity to visit their store. Wow! A huge store, with all kinds of things. Since I had the younger kids with me, I didn't browse as much as I wanted to, I just looked at the kids section and then went to the kitchen section. After a lot of looking and thinking, and mental figuring of the household budget, I bought two PROMPT cookie sheets. Here's the picture from IKEA's web site.
Ikea cookie sheet

I figured they'd be good for baking things, plus handy for candy making. I liked the raised lip on one edge that makes grabbing it with an oven mitt on easier, and that it's only on one edge. Sometimes I need a sheet that doesn't have sides, especially all the way around, and I thought these sheets would be just right for my needs.

They aren't. They're too thin, they bend whenever I pick them up. I noticed that when I was shopping, but I thought with some weight on the sheet it would be more stable. It's less stable. I made a bunch of truffle centers and put them on a sheet to go in the refridgerator and nearly spilled them all over the floor when I got them out later. To avoid that problem you need to grab two sides of the cookie sheet and then be very careful not to wiggle your hands too much or the sheet will flex.

Last night I baked some pizzas for dinner and used the sheets for the first time in the oven. The flexing was even worse! When I looked in the oven to check on the pizzas, I could see the sheets arching instead of staying flat. That made trying to get the pizzas out of the oven, on a nonstick sheet, a real challenge. The pizzas slid down the sheet and made a mess on my oven mitt, and the sheet wobbled and wiggled and I fought to keep the pizza on it as I turned to slide the pizza onto a cutting board. I almost didn't make it! And all I was doing was turning halfway and taking one step, from my oven to the cutting board built in to the kitchen counter!

I think I paid $5.99 each for the two sheets, that's more than the web page says. Even at the listed price of $4.99 the sheets aren't worth it. They're too flimsy. I need sheets that can be managed with one hand, and I couldn't find a way to manage this sheet even with both hands on it.

I wish I could recommend another brand instead of these IKEA ones, but the other baking sheet I have, which I love, I bought at a Salvation Army store years ago and it doesn't have a brand name on it. It's shiny (aluminum?) and sturdy and has sides all the way around, and it bakes my cookies beautifully. It's not a nonstick pan, and I like that too. Wish I could find another one like it.

I bought that pan when I was single and living in an apartment with a tiny kitchen. Even then I did alot of cooking and baking, and I learned a good trick for cooling down my cookie sheet in between batches of cookies. After removing the freshly baked cookies, I turned the sheet upside down over the kitchen sink (not letting it touch the sink, of course, that would get germs on it) and ran cold water over it. Very carefully I used my sponge to spread cold water all over it, without getting the baking surface wet, or my oven mitt either. Then I wiped it with a towel, just enough to stop the dripping, and it was cool enough to scoop more cookie dough on without it spreading!

So my first experience with IKEA kitchenware wasn't that great. I'll probably give the store another try someday. Alot of their things are very pretty.

Comments:
My cookie sheets are all years old, some of them inherited from my mother, and so maybe as much as 60 years old. I've been thinking of getting some new ones, not so much to replace, but just to have more. But I'm not sure even what to look for.
 
Hi Lucette! I think it depends what you want to do with them. For cookies I like shiny nonstick ones, usually with sides but sometimes they get in the way. I also like ones without sides because they're more versatile, but all the ones like that are nonstick, which I don't like so much. I think you're lucky that you have those old ones, I bet they're really good.
 
That's a bummer. I've only ordered one thing from Ikea, and it wasn't kitchen goods. I have a Wilton cookie sheet set that was given to me as a gift, and I like it so far, but it's got sides all the way around, and I think it's non-stick also, but I don't really know! And the largest one does not fit in my oven AT ALL. I like your cooling down trick!
 
Hi Michelle! I hope your research is still going well. I don't remember ever seeing Wilton cookie sheets, but I've wanted a set of their cake pans for years. And don't get me started on small ovens! Don't people roast turkeys at home anymore? I have two ovens in my kitchen and both are so small that air can't circulate around my one good cookie sheet.
 
This is going from the ridiculous to the sublime, but I do buy things from IKEA, also. There are some kitchen staples that you just have to go to a really good source for.
Here's an excellent one. http://www.bridgekitchenware.com/home.cfm

Best of luck!
 
Hi Lynn, thanks for the suggestion!
 
I find the best place to buy cookie sheets is from a professional restaurant supply place. In NYC that's anywhere on the Bowery, and I would say, just ask a local restaurant where they get their stuff. What you are looking for is called (in restaurant lingo) a half sheet pan.

I review food on my own dinner table and post what I made or should have made, Monday through Friday on kitchensister.com
 
Hi Faye, thanks so much for the lingo lesson! I would guess that Seattle has restaurant supply houses, so I need to come up with another excuse for a trip to the big city.
 
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