A fine-mesh strainer and a light touch are all you need for perfectly coated confections. Just hold the fine-mesh strainer in one hand and gently tap its side with a finger from the opposite hand. (Do not shake the strainer itself; this will produce heavy spots.) Then repeat the motion over the next area to be covered.
Try using a mesh tea-ball strainer next time you have a small item like a cookie or a piece of cake that needs a dusting. Filled by a quick scoop into the sugar, it’s easy to use and won’t create a dust storm.
When you want to apply a light dusting of powdered sugar to brownies, cakes, or French toast, just break out your wide-plane rasp grater. A tablespoon of powdered sugar and a few quick taps create the same effect as a shaker, and the cleanup is a quick rinse under the faucet. Like these? See more quick tips at Cook's Illustrated.