With holiday cookie swaps in full gear, my vote for the greatest—and simplest—bakeware innovation goes to rolling pin spacer bands. They solve an ongoing baking problem—one that vexs holiday cookie bakers particularly—with a design solution so ridiculously simple that you wonder why you didn’t come up with the brilliant concept yourself.
The problem? Rolling out dough—whether cookie or pie—to an even and specific thickness. Eyeballing it is fraught with error, and a ruler, if you can find one—not easy in my cluttered kitchen—is a pain in the neck when you’re talking about 1/4-inch or less. Recipe writers have gotten in the habit of also giving the diameter of the rolled out dough, but that tidbit is only helpful on the first roll of something like a cut-out butter cookie dough. It doesn’t apply to the scraps.
The simple solution? Drum roll, please: Sturdy but stretchable silicone rings in varying thicknesses that slide onto the ends of your rolling pin and raise it above your work surface to the exact thickness you want your dough to end up being. All the guesswork and estimation is gone. Just roll your pin back and forth until it no longer encounters any hills or ridges of dough. This way you know for sure that your dough is even, which means the cookies will bake and color more evenly. No more burnt Christmas cookie tree trunks.
Several companies make the rings, and there’s even a rolling pin that comes fitted with metric-sized discs, but I particularly love the wide, brightly-colored bands made by Casabella that come in four sizes, ranging from 1/2 inch down to 1/16th inch. Because of their heft and intensely saturated hues, no way will I be losing track of these bands in my gadget drawer!