Thursday, April 23, 2015

Will It Taste Just As Good Without the Parchment Paper?

Some of the Ingredients for the Best Homemade Brownie Recipe

If you have a child in high school choir, you will find yourself occasionally drafted into a baking project. Every time there is a concert, your child will need to not only be able to sing well, she will also need to be properly attired and bring a home-baked item for the bake sale. There are no exceptions.

Last time I baked brownies from this recipe:

Things turned out very well, so I was asked to bake the same brownies this time. The only problem: I can't seem to find any more parchment paper. I looked all over WalMart last night, both in the section with baking mixes and flour and baking soda, and in the other part of the store where they sell baking pans and other cooking paraphernalia. Last time, I already had parchment paper in my kitchen drawer from some other long forgotten project. But now I have none, and I am wondering how much that matters. After all, it's not an actual ingredient of the brownies. You're not supposed to eat it!

Last time the big hold up was the high fat butter. I could not find it anywhere, so I ended up using regular Land O'Lakes sweet butter.  The Land O'Lakes butter has 11 grams of fat in each tablespoom. All the calories in butter come from fat, because that's what butter is: milk fat. However, not all butter you buy in the store is the same.

This time, I have two other kinds of butter to choose from: Clearly Organic and KerryGold. Like the Land O'Lakes butter, Clearly Organic also contains 11 grams per tablespoon. But KerryGold, imported from Ireland, is slightly different.

Kerrygold contains 12 grams per tablespoon.

Now the real question for me is: what else does the butter contain besides fat?  Because there are 14 grams in every tablespoon and only 12 of those grams come from fat. The answer, I think, has to be water, because water has no caloric value, and all the calories in the butter come from fat. But if you look at where the ingredients are listed on the package of Kerrygold, the only ingredient listed is "cultured, pasteurized cream." They don't list the culture, the way some yogurts do, and they do not break the cream down into its chemical ingredients, which would probably be something like milk fat and water. And then, for the sake of people who don't know what cream is, we are told explicitly "contains milk."

On the very back of the Kerrygold package, it says; "In Ireland, cows graze on the pastures of small family farms. This milk is churned to make Kerrygold butter." So presumably, the extra water in the butter over and above the fat is water found naturally in the cow's milk.

This makes me reflect on whether the American butter also only contains water from the milk of cows, or whether their butter has been watered down in other ways. For instance, what on earth do they mean when they say: "Ingredients: sweet cream, natural flavoring" ? Did they put something in the cream to flavor it? If not, why did they need to say that?

Sometimes people from the FDA object to certain foods because they contain "too many calories" or "too much fat." But keep in mind, the primary reason for eating food is for the calories, and one type of calorie humans cannot live without is fat. You can choose to eat more or less of any food. But if you paid for 14 grams worth of food, wouldn't it be good to get as many calories per gram as possible, simply from an economic standpoint? Shipping water all the way from Ireland seems silly. Even shipping it from the neighboring state is not economical. You can use more or less butter in your recipe. But the consumer never gets any benefit from the producer watering down the product. Products rich in nutrients cost more because they are worth more per gram.  And all those labels screaming "Low fat!" or "Low Calorie!" on the grocery store aisle might as well be saying: "Less food for your money!"

I am planning to use the Kerrygold butter to bake the brownies this afternoon. I am hoping that the absence of parchment paper from my list of ingredients will not in any way affect the flavor or the nutritional value of the brownies, although it might have a slight impact on the presentation.


  1. Sword is lucky you helped out with baking the brownies. By the time I was her age I was doing a lot of the baking at my house, but I liked to bake.

    1. Hi, Julia. You have high level skills in baking, and I enjoy watching some of your videos and reading your blogs about that. Sword did bake some cookies for her speech class all by herself freshman year, and they turned out very well! Everybody wanted more. But this is the end of the semester her sophomore year and there are academic tasks that take priority for her now. I myself never baked anything until after I left home. I do not mind baking now, as it is kind of fun.

  2. The Dollar Tree carries parchment paper for a pretty decent price.

    1. Thanks, CT, I'll try there next time!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.