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A Heat Diffuser

Most chefs prefer to cook on gas stove tops, but sometimes it's difficult to achieve a simmer, since the flame is so hot. That's where the Norpro 144 Heat Diffuser ($6) comes in. Placed on the stove top, it diffuses and thus lowers the heat, so you can cook grains and make sugar-filled candies without worrying about scorching the bottom of the pan.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts