Comparing Baking-with-Parchment and Life

I decided to try using parchment sheets for baking cookies for the first time. I had used parchment for cooking fish in the oven before, but not for baking. The reason I decided to try it was because I rediscovered that the cookies in this recipe tend to stick to the cookie sheet, even after being greased.

Upside-down Spatula Technique

The recipe is Soft Pumpkin Cookies and came from The Fresno Bee food section published on October 28, 1981. What I like about these cookies is their soft, cake-like texture that turns chewy as you eat them. Here’s the recipe:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned on bottoms. Makes approximately 48 cookies.

2 cups flour                                                                  On a piece of waxed paper, combine
1 tsp. baking soda                                                        flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and
1/2 tsp. salt                                                                   nutmeg. Stir with a fork.
1 tsp. cinnamon                                                           In a large mixing bowl, cream butter
1/2 tsp. nutmeg                                                           and sugar; stir in corn syrup, then
1/2 cup butter or margarine                                     pumpkin, egg, and vanilla; mix well.
1/2 cup cane sugar                                                     Gradually add flour mixture, stirring
1/2 cup dark corn syrup                                            until smooth. Add raisins and nuts.
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin                           Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie
1 egg beaten                                                                  sheets, 2 inches apart, flattening slightly
1 tsp. vanilla extract                                                   with back of spoon.
1 cup raisins                                                                 With a wide metal spatula remove cookies
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts                                 to wire racks to cool.

Slightly Flattened Drops of Dough

Slightly Browned Bottom

First Batch on Parchment

The dough did not spread out as much while baking on the parchment sheet. The cookies were, of course, much easier to remove to the cooling racks.  I also noticed the texture was different.   Can you tell which is the parchment cookie?

Cookie Comparison

Now for the taste test. Disappointment. The flavor was very similar, but the texture and chewiness were gone. The parchment sheets failed the test, in my opinion. What good is an easier way if it doesn’t maintain the character of the cookie?

This experiment made me think of life, in general. Sometimes we try to take short cuts that we think might make our life easier or more progressive, but what might we be losing in the process? A friendship? A job? Our reputation? Things that are a lot more important than a batch of cookies. Trying to avoid making messes may lead to a life lived in a fish bowl. The messy things in life are often what build character and motivate us the most. They’re certainly the most memorable. I’d rather have a crumbly, chewy, hard to remove cookie than a plain, perfect, Teflon one any day. How about you?

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Categories: agblog, photos, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Comparing Baking-with-Parchment and Life

  1. Well said, after all the people with lot of mess/troubles in life infact made history.. I’ll have to agree with you. Besides, I was thinking you must be experimenting with peach to make cookies.. turns out that you aren’t. Good to see your post after long time.

  2. Deb Kern

    I like your reflection on life, however as a pseudo scientist, not sure you gave the parchment paper a fair test. Too many variables. Try lining half your cookie sheet with parchment paper and the other half without. See how the cookies turn out.
    I know, I know, that wasn’t the point!

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