For the last several years I've been participating in the Christmas program with the church that my wife and I attend. When we started doing this eight or so years ago it was what we thought pretty large with maybe 15-20 musicians and 120 singers. This year there's almost forty musicians and more than two hundred singers. Great things happen through, because of, and in the making of this program, and it is a really privilege to be part of the ensemble that reached out to the community every year.
For the first couple of years I sang because there was a need for tenors, and I lacked an instrument. After the third year, I felt a pulled to search for a tuba and just a few weeks before we started rehearsal for that season I came across a great instrument that was actually the same model I played through middle and high school, and it was well within what I could afford (which is amazing considering that tubas generally start around five or six thousand dollars and go up). Since then, I've been playing the tuba with the Christmas program, and have even managed to pick up a smaller travel-size tuba that really works well for practice and some of the more cramped venues as the number of people on stage increases.
So what does all of this have to do with rolling out cookie dough? Well, I'm almost there. After each program, our guests are invited out into the lobby area, hallways, or whatever else isn't the performance venue and are treated to refreshments, usually in the form of baked goods. Most of these are things that the choir and orchestra have prepared, but some people (I'd guess mainly the men) take the easy route and purchase pre-made cookies. But not me. Not once. Blood, sweat, and tears. Okay, none of those.
So this year the crew and orchestra were on the hook for the Marysville performance's refreshments. With a batch of cookie dough on hand, I decided that these needed to be cutouts, especially since I'm fairly certain we've never used any of the cookie cutters we own. At first, I thought I'd take the dough and roll it out on a silicone kitchen mat using a silicone rolling pin. That was laughable. The dough stuck to both as if it was peanut butter between two Ritz crackers.
But then I had a thought: for a couple of years I've been buying parchment paper made for full sheet pans and cutting it in half to line baking sheets, but what if I tried to roll out the dough between two of these? I took a lump of dough, pressed it out to a reasonable thickness and thought to myself, You've figured this out. Well, not quite. In fact, the dough had stuck to the parchment paper, too. Pondering a moment, I decided to see if I could peel it off of the paper much like one removes the backing of a sticker. After a few moments, one side of the paper was free and I could see the smooth, even dough pressed out. Since that had been such a success, I turned the whole thing over on the loose sheet of paper and peeled the back side off in exactly the same way.
As I worked through the dough that I had, I found that the second and third batches went even easier as there was residual oils left on the parchment paper that made the separation process even easier.
So next time that recipe tells me to flour a surface and roll out dough, I'm going to leave the flower where it is and reach for the parchment paper, saving myself at least twenty minutes cleaning the clouds of flour that would have otherwise covered everything.