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10 unexpected ways to use an ice cream scoop

How to put this summery kitchen tool to good use — even in the off-season.

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Kikkerland retro ice cream scoop, $19, Bed Bath and Beyond.

Kikkerland retro ice cream scoop, $19, Bed Bath and Beyond.

Summer might be over, but that doesn’t mean your ice cream scoop has to collect dust in a drawer. Here’s a secret that all chefs, caterers and food-service professionals know: scoops aren’t just for ice cream! Their spring-release design allows contents to be offloaded with just an easy squeeze of the handle, making it a valuable multi-purpose kitchen tool. Here are 10 ways to use an ice cream scoop that will make life easier (and your cookies more evenly sized):

1. Portion batter for muffins and cupcakes.
Getting equal amounts of batter into each muffin tin can be challenging. An ice cream scoop ensures your muffins and cupcakes are uniform in size and shape, meaning your baked goods will look professionally-made. Bonus: Cupcakes with evenly domed tops are much easier to decorate, and you can also use the scoop for frosting application.

2. Make perfect meatballs.
The scoop achieves perfectly round meatballs, every time. This translates to even cooking times, ensuring all your meatballs are moist and tender.

3. Scoop cookie dough.
The easiest way to make cookies involves a scoop. Dollop cookie dough onto a baking sheet, then pop them into the freezer until frozen. Transfer to a resealable plastic freezer bag, and whip up a few whenever a craving strikes. Cookie scoops should be baked from frozen, adding 1-2 minutes to the prescribed cooking time to allow for proper defrosting.

4. Divide and form patties.
Hamburgers, crab cakes, veggie burgers, fritters or salmon cakes — scoop first to ensure consistent size, and then flatten to desired thickness.


Related: 10 ways to use a package of ground beef


5. Portion servings in uniform amounts.
Food-service professionals swear by ice cream scoops (also called “dishers”), which allow them to precisely portion foods like rice, mashed potatoes, risotto, stuffing, and egg salad. Use a scoop in your own kitchen to dole out equal servings at big dinner parties.

6. Cook perfect pancakes.
Simply scoop batter and pour onto your griddle to make pancakes that are perfectly round and even in size, with less mess.

7. Scoop out seeds.
The scoop’s sharp edge is perfect for hollowing out cantaloupe, squash, pumpkin and even eggplant.

8. Stuff snacks.
Use scoops of various sizes to fill stuffed peppers, empanadas, pierogies, potato skins, cabbage rolls, eggplant, devilled eggs, stuffed mushroom caps and ravioli. (The possibilities are endless, really.)

9. Make dumplings.
Drop batter quickly and easily into simmering stew when making chicken and dumplings.

10. Portion chocolate truffles.
And now for dessert: A small scoop makes rolling truffles quick and easy.

More:
6 more ways to use your ice cube tray
6 more ways to use your vegetable peeler
14 more ways to use frozen fruit