When you read a recipe, especially for baked goods, you’ll often see that the last step is to cool the cookies or muffins or whatever on a cooling rack. Doing this allows the baked goods to cool more quickly and evenly, so it’s a valuable step that you shouldn’t skip.
But what if you don’t have a rack?
Or what if you don’t have a space for the rack in your kitchen?
Or what if your rack is in the back of the bottom cabinet and you just don’t feel like rooting through all of your pots and pans to get it because you’ve already had a lot of wine and leaning down for an extended period of time is probably a bad idea right now?
Not to fear! You don’t actually need a cooling rack for your baked goods to come out perfect.
This is the set-up we’ve always used at home:
First, cover your table or counter with a towl. Then cover it with a piece of wax paper or parchment paper. When your cookies (or whatever you’re make) come out of the oven, transfer them to this paper to cool completely.
While this method doesn’t give you as much air flow as a traditional cooling rack, it does allow you to get your baked goods off of their hot surface and onto a cooler surface. The towl doesn’t conduct heat like a metal surface, so your baked goods won’t continue to bake.
You can also get creative and use one of your oven racks. Just pull it out before the oven is turned on and you have a makeshift cooling rack (though less baking space in your oven, which could be annoying if you’re baking several batches).
If you don’t have a cooling rack, the holidays are coming, so this might be something to put on your wish list! I recommend checking out these inexpensive heavy-duty cooling racks (aff link) or heading to your local thrift store, where you can often find some inexpensive used racks for sale.