How to Fix 17 Basic Cooking Mistakes
Why it’s bad: To get a read on the amount of, say, flour in a liquid measuring cup, you have to shake the cup or knock it on a counter to create a level line. “The flour will become compacted, and you’ll end up with more than the recipe calls for,” says Goldsmith. “The result: dry and tough cakes and muffins.”
Do this instead: Use dry measuring cups when portioning out flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch, as their flat rims are designed to help you get the most accurate measure. Spoon the ingredient into a cup, then sweep off the excess with the side of a knife. Resist the temptation to scoop directly from the bin or bag with the cup—you’ll compact the ingredients, with the same result as above. In a pinch, you can use a dry cup to measure a liquid, but you’ll risk spilling, since you have to fill it to the rim.