There used to be exactly one thing I didn’t like about baking. I called it the Peanut Butter Problem and it happened every time I made my favorite three-ingredient cookies. The Peanut Butter Problem was, as you may have guessed, my best attempt to get a precise amount of peanut butter from a measuring cup into a mixing bowl, and it involved multiple butter knives, my pointer finger, and swearing. I’m told I looked like a very drunk person trying to pick a lock while blindfolded.
And then came TikTok.
I’m not proud that it took me 30 years and eleven months to learn a very basic kitchen skill through aimless scrolling. But I have to live with my truth: It wasn’t until I saw the solution demonstrated by user @stoveandgarden that I realized I could, once and for all, put the Peanut Butter Problem to bed.
The trick? Simply oil your measuring spoons and cups before measuring sticky ingredients.
There are two ways to do it: The first is to dip a finger in oil (hereby referred to as your “oily fingie”) and swoop it around the inside of a measuring spoon or cup, using your oily fingie pad to grease the bottom like you’re coloring it in. (Or, if you have an oil spritzer, just give the inside of the cup a good 360-degree spray-down.) Be sure to use a flavorless oil, like sunflower or grapeseed if oil isn’t included in the recipe otherwise.
The second method applies to recipes that already call for oil. In these cases, you can simply measure in a strategic order for automatic cup-greasing. If you’re making an Olive Oil Cake with maple buttercream to top it, for example, use your measuring cup to dole out the oil first when you’re prepping cake batter. Then, use the same cup—unwashed—to measure the maple syrup for the frosting. If you’re making Dan Dan Noodles, measure the vegetable oil before the sesame paste. If you’re making a vinaigrette, measure the olive oil before the honey. (It should be noted that while this method doesn’t strictly involve an oily fingie, legally, no one can stop you from saying “oily fingie” as much as you like, even if you’re alone.)
Whichever way I do it, I’ve found that the benefits of oiling my cups are plentiful. I don’t need to dirty extra silverware for the dreaded side-scrape. I no longer need to wait for every last drop of agave to drip from a measuring cup before getting on with my day because it simply falls out with ease. And I end up with a much more accurate amount of the sticky ingredients in recipes. Best of all, I can finally retire the moniker “Peanut Butter Problem” for something more uplifting, like a puppy, or an autobiography.