See, we were making Dorie Greenspan's World Peace chocolate cookies (which we read about in this post from Faith and highly recommend), and the instructions called for draping a kitchen towel over the mixing bowl after adding the flour and cocoa powder before starting the mixer.
How many times have you started a mixer after adding flour and been met with a big cloud of flour dust? It's even worse with cocoa. But with these cookies, we dumped in the flour mixture, draped over the towel, and then pulsed the mixer a few times, until the flour and cocoa were incorporated enough that there would be no mess when we went full speed ahead.
We were worried that the towel would get in the way or fall into the bowl, but neither happened. The mixer blade rotated smoothly, and the towel stayed put. In fact, we were making mashed potatoes in our mixer the next day, and as we poured in some warm half and half and got splatters all over the countertop, we though, "Why didn't we put a kitchen towel over the bowl first?!"
Anyone else use this trick?
(Image: Elizabeth Passarella)