Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reynolds Baking Parchment and the Mason Jar Cookie Cutter

Quite a while back, I got an email from the folks at Reynolds - you know, the people who make aluminum foil - and they said, "What's your address? We want to send you a little something."
Well, okay. They didn't say they wanted a review. They really didn't ask for anything at all. And I had no clue what they were sending me.

What they sent was a box of what they called Cookie Baking Sheets. Or in other words, parchment paper.

I kind of yawned. I mean, if you don't cook a lot, maybe it's innovative stuff. But I buy parchment paper from a restaurant supply company.

The first thing I thought was that at least it wasn't a roll. Folded sheets are much easier to work with than the rolled stuff.

And it wasn't just a few sheets. The box contained 22 sheets, which is a decent amount. I found them on Amazon for under $4, so they're not terribly expensive, so that's a plus.

Along with the parchment, I got a few other items. Let's just call it a gift basket of stuff. One thing they sent was a pretty jar of cookie-making stuff from a company called The Mason Jar Cookie Company.

I set everything aside because I didn't think I would have anything interesting to say about a box of folded parchment paper.

But then, when I was looking for something else, I spotted the jar of cookie stuff that I hadn't used. I figured I might as well.

The funny thing is that the instructions explained in two different places that the brown sugar was likely to get hard in the jar and that a short while in the microwave (after the chocolate is removed) would soften the brown sugar so it could be removed from the jar.

I'm guessing that customers must have asked about that a lot for them to say it twice.

Since everything was pre-measured, the instructions were ridiculously easy. Mix butter, an egg, and a little bit of vanilla in a bowl. Mix the jarred ingredients in another bowl. Combine the two. Bake.

If I was going to use one of these jars again, I'd make one little change in technique. I'd dump out the chips into a small bowl and mix them in after the dough was completely mixed, just because that would make the mixing easier and there'd be less chance of damaging the chips candies. But that's just a minor quibble. It was fine as it was, and the cookies were good..

The parchment was a little bit of a surprise, though. I'm used to seeing the parchment paper getting a little bit brown from the oven heat, and having it get a little more brown with subsequent batches. I tend to re-use parchment at least a few times. until there are burned-on bits, or it gets too fragile and crunchy, or I'm done with the batch of cookies.

But when I started removing cookies from the sheet, I saw that there was absolutely no browning of the sheets at all. It was as white as when I pulled it out of the box.

Hmmm. Maybe there is something to this stuff. If it didn't brown at all when I cooked my two batches of cookies, that probably means it would last longer if I was baking more and more batches of cookies.

So ... the truth is that I'm not really concerned about how much use I can get out of a sheet of parchment paper because I have a LOT of them. But if I was buying in smaller quantities, I'd definitely consider these.

They would be a nice stocking-stuffer or add-on gift for the baker in your life, and if you usually don't use parchment, but want to try it for your holiday cookie baking, these are inexpensive enough to toss into your shopping cart.

Who's it for: Anyone who's planning on baking cookies. Or other things. Like more cookies.

Pros: Folded rather than rolled. Works well.

Cons: Still more expensive than sheets in larger quantities.

Wishes: It would be great if these were sold in bulk - maybe 100 at a time.

Source: I received parchment and cookies from the manufacturer. There was no expectation of a review.

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