Rating The Pans

November 28, 2007|By Julie Rothman | Julie Rothman,Special to The Sun

This time of year, a good rimmed baking sheet gets a real workout. Also known as a jellyroll pan, it's not only good for all those cookies you're baking, but for making sheet cakes and roasting vegetables.

But cookies were on our mind, so we tested these pans with a simple rolled sugar-cookie recipe. All the cookies were baked in a preheated 375-degree oven on the upper middle rack. The sheet pans were tested ungreased, and no parchment paper was used.

The prettiest and most uniformly browned cookies were produced on a moderately priced, uncoated restaurant supply pan we found online. While these cookies took a few minutes longer to bake, the results were by far the best. The only drawback was they were somewhat hard to get off the pan - but if parchment paper were used, that problem would be easily solved.

BEST PAN

Lincoln Foodservice

Price: $15.40 plus shipping at amazon.com

Details: 13-inch-by-18-inch traditional aluminum finish

This half-sheet pan received a very high rating in a recent Cook's Illustrated test, and we found that it performed equally well in ours. The cookies took the longest to bake on this pan, a full five minutes longer than on any of the others, but in the end they were the most attractive and uniformly browned. The bottoms were perfect and there were no brown edges. This sheet pan does not have any type of nonstick coating, and the cookies stuck slightly. Also, the pan seems to scratch easily. Care should be taken to use onlycoated spatulas on this pan.

BEST BARGAIN

Wilton Baking Basics

Price: $6.99 at Linens-N-Things

Details: 11 1/2 -inch-by-17 1/4 -inch coated aluminum

This was the lightest and the least expensive of all the sheets tested, yet it produced surprisingly good results. The cookie edges and bottoms were a bit brown, but this could be fixed by adjusting the cooking time and/or lowering the oven temperature. The pan did warp and wiggle some in the hot oven, but it did not seem to make much of a difference in the finished product. Thanks to the nonstick coating, the cookies were a breeze to get off the sheet. A good inexpensive option.

ALSO TASTED

Farberware Soft Touch Bakeware

Price: 17.99 at Kohl's

Details: 11-inch-by-18-inch coated aluminum

This is a heavyweight, nonstick sheet pan that produced a nice cookie in the recipe's designated 10 minutes. Drawbacks: The pan warped a bit in the oven, the cookie edges got rather brown and some of the bottoms were a bit dark. Pluses: The cookies came off the sheet with ease. This was the only pan tested that had silicone-enhanced handles for a slip-free grasp.

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Non-Stick Bakeware

Price: $9.99 at HomeGoods

Details: 11 1/2 -inch-by-17-inch aluminized steel

This was the heaviest of all the pans tested and at just under $10, it would seem to be a good value. But the sugar cookies baked too quickly. Most of the bottoms were almost burned in the minimum amount of cooking time. Perhaps it was because of the dark coating on the underside of the pan. The nonstick surface did make the cookies very easy to remove.

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