For years I've heard people say "get an oven thermometer". I just kind of pooh poohed the whole idea and kept guessing at what the temperature of my oven was. A couple of weeks go I was watching Food Network - my favorite channel - and one of the experts said that an oven thermometer is necessary if you bake a lot. She said that she was shocked that when her oven said it was preheated it was only about 250 degrees. WELL -- if someone on Food Network said I should have an oven thermometer then I better get one.
I was out shopping today for Thanksgiving and regular shopping. I splurged and spent $6 on an oven thermometer! I was so excited I could hardly wait to get home to see what the results would be. Put that baby in the oven and set the temperature at 350 degrees. When the little beeper went off saying the oven was preheated I checked the thermometer. It was 175 degrees! It took a full 10 more minutes for the oven to get to 350 and then it consistently stayed at that temp.
So my oven wasn't off at all. It just wasn't preheated. I would stick the food in when the beeper went off and then it would take about half of the baking time to get to temp. That's why it always took longer for everything to bake! I learned my lesson. Listen to the experts!! They know what they're talking about.
Go get an oven thermometer! I'm off to bake chocolate chip cookies!