Parchment paper and cookie scoops. Gifts of the gods. (Well, okay, Alton Brown. Same difference.)
The parchment paper is available at most regular grocery stores, often near the foil because it's made by the same company that makes a lot of that. (Reynolds.) It is treated with silicon and resists temperatures up to 420 degrees farenhiet (in celsius, that's, um... a lot). You put it out on your cookie sheet, scoop your cookies onto it, and put them in the oven. When they come out, you scoot the whole sheet of parchment onto your cooling rack, all at once, and leave them to cool before you have to touch them again. Then you pick up the cookies by hand and put them in a storage container. No more mutilating warm cookies with a spatula.
Last night I lined a baking dish with this stuff, put really really sticky batter in it (it contained molasses and honey), baked it, and then lifted the whole deal out of the pan and plopped it on the cooling rack. Later I cut it into bars with a pizza cutter and froze it. The pan took maybe a minute to clean; a tiny bit of batter had leaked out the corners. Often I don't wash the cookie trays at all.
Then, there is the true secret: The cookie scoop.
If I had to choose between the parchment paper and the cookie scoop, I'd choose the cookie scoop. (Though I'd cry over the loss of the parchment paper.) This is a #40 (that's how they're sized). I've also got a #20 (larger) and a #70 (smaller - shown in the photo at the top), but this is the one I use most. It will make three and a half dozen perfectly round cookies from the standard tollhouse cookie recipe, in about ten minutes. You can pick them up at restaurant supply stores, or order them from the internet.
There are two common ways the scoops are built, if you look at the top photo. The all silver one has a squeeze handle, and the purple-handled one has a thumb key. If you've got hand problems, I suggest sticking to the thumb-key style. I used one of the squeeze-handle ones yesterday and today am calling my doc for drug refills.
Those two dozen macaroons I made yesterday? Did it in half an hour. And I'm talking start to finish, from separating the eggs to pulling them out of the oven. This stuff is really, really worth buying, if you ever make cookies at all. In fact, I wouldn't make cookies if I didn't have them.
Oh, and I've gone back and fixed the shortbread cookie recipe. I said that one stick of butter is 1/4 of a cup. It's not. It's a HALF a cup. (That's how I screwed up the lemon cookies yesterday.) The one stick of butter figure is correct for the recipe. Duh. Sorry if I caused anyone any problems with that. Really, really sorry.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
How did I make those cookies so fast yesterday? Here's how:
at 9:58 AM