Ugh. Ack. Oh no! Your expletive of choice.
These are all normal reactions to a shard of eggshell getting into your mixing bowl. And while intentional crunch is good (texture, yay!), no one deserves a chocolate chip cookie, pie of cake, or brownie studded with eggshells. Not you, you, or you.
But we have the solution! Several solutions, actually—which we've tested to ensure their usefulness and eggshell-getting accuracy.
First thing's first: We suggest cracking your eggs into a separate bowl instead of directly into the mixing bowl. It's a lot easier to remove eggshells when you don't also have to tussle with butter, sugar, and whatever else might be in there. (Also, if it's a bad egg, no pun intended, you won't have to fish it out.)
And second thing's second: Crack your eggs on a flat surface rather than the edge of the bowl, limiting the chance of unevenly cracking the eggshells and the amount of potential shards.
Now, third thing's third: the eggshell removal tricks. Here are three different ways to deal with those shells, and what we think of them:
Trick #1: Using the other broken half of the eggshell.
What to do: Use the other half of the eggshell to scoop out the eggshell shard.
Ease: This was very easy! Plus, it made use of the eggshell, which usually just hangs out doing nothing.
Cleanliness: You don't have to stick your hands in the egg, so there's less mess to wash off (see below).
Good for: Larger pieces of eggshell. It worked for a tiny eggshell shard, too, but the eggshell also picked up a good amount of white in the process. And, when I tried to pour the white back in, the eggshell shard just ended up back where it started.
Trick #2: Wet your fingers.
What to do: Wet your fingers. Ignore any qualms about willingly touching raw egg. Aim a finger at that eggshell, plunge your finger into the egg, and pull it out.
Ease: Suffice it to say, wetting your hands is easy.
Cleanliness: Well, you get egg on your hands. You'll have to wash them. If you don't like egg hands, this probably isn't for you.
Good for: The larger piece of eggshell was easy to grab—and this worked for the smaller eggshell shard as well, albeit after several attempts.
Trick #3: Use a strainer:
What to do: This only works for a beaten egg. Beat your egg with the broken shells, set a strainer over a bowl, and pour the egg through. You'll probably have to use a spoon or something to coerce the egg through said strainer.
Ease: This required more steps than the other tips, and didn't ultimately work well so...
Cleanliness: Yes, this was cleanly! It was the best thing about this trick.
Good for: Uh, this wasn't great. For one, the egg had a heck of a time actually getting through the strainer and into the bowl. It took a lot of spoon work. Even then, a good majority of the white just wouldn't pass through. Also, the resulting egg looked weird and liquidly. You don't need to see a picture. It was gross.
Using the other eggshell half is good for larger shell fragments, while wetting your fingers is better for smaller shards. Don't try the strainer method—or do, and comment below explaining if there's some sort of magic that we're missing out on.
It's also worth nothing there's a fourth method: using a pair of tweezers to pluck out the eggshell. But due to a lack of eggshell-appropriate tweezers in the kitchen and no desire to procure (and sanitize) them from the bathroom, we did not test this method.
Have a trick for removing eggshells? Let us know!