My last cooking adventure of 2011 was an epic failure in which I learned waxed paper doesn’t always make a good substitute for parchment paper.
Now, I’ve done a similar swap before, so when I headed to the kitchen to whip up some of George Stella’s “Goldfish” Crackers, I lined my baking sheets with waxed paper without a second thought.
Big mistake. BIG. First off, waxed paper in the oven at 400 degrees F sets off the smoke alarm. Twice. I had to open up both doors and turn on the fan over the stove.
But the bigger problem: My little cheesy bits of goodness stuck to the damn paper.
They weren’t going to peel off with my finger (which I managed to burn on hot cheese) or a spatula.
I even tried putting the paper in the microwave to heat them up more and then peel the crackers off. No go. They were stuck to that waxed paper like a brick to fresh-dried mortar.
I was really bummed, because I wanted those darn crackers. And the top halves I managed to pry off were pretty tasty.
So it was off to Walmart to look for A) a silicone baking mat or B) parchment paper. There was silicone to be found — except maybe in some exceptionally large boobs on one of the other customers.
Armed with a roll of this cool Reynolds wrap that’s parchment paper on one side and foil on the other, I headed back to the kitchen for Take Two.
Once I had the proper equipment, the recipe was super-simple. All you do is cut slices of real American cheese into 16 pieces, season them with salt, chili powder and garlic powder and lay them out on the paper.
It couldn’t be much easier, really.
This time, when I pulled the baking sheet out of the oven, the browned bits of cheesy goodness slid right up.
They tasted pretty good — and are pretty darn addictive. I kept popping them into my mouth as I whipped up another snack: curried nuts (also from George Stella’s book). Those nuts are delicious. I think they might be better than the cinnamon candied nuts from his first book (my previous favorites).
The crackers are pretty salty, though. Next time, I think I’ll omit the added salt, and just season them with garlic and chili powder.
The moral of the story is: Always have the proper equipment for a recipe. Waxed paper and parchment paper aren’t interchangeable.
Good to know!