Don’t Make Cookies Without a Fish Spatula
In December, my oven is ready for the biggest challenge of the year: baking cookies. Over the next three weeks hundreds of cookies will be rolled out in different shapes, textures and sizes, and my most essential tool will not be a mixer or even parchment paper. This is a fish spatula.
Why your liver needs a fish spatula
When the cookies come out of the oven, they are soft, tender and melt. And while the idea of warm cookies seems mostly cozy, they’re actually extremely vulnerable. Fats and sugars, the two main binding ingredients, melt completely until they cool and solidify. Some even have chocolate chips that create liquid cracks. This is a dangerous business.
A regular plastic spatula has a dull edge, and if you’ve ever scooped up a warm gingerbread and the spatula crushed the edge, you know it’s a special kind of heartbreak. And it’s even tough cookies. Some cookies are incredibly thin and delicate, like tuile and lace; others are shaped just like that, such as a sprinkle cookie or Santa’s head.
Fish paddles allow you to smoothly dive under even the thinnest biscuits. Since the metal fish spatula is designed to lift and move delicate pieces of fish, its edge is incredibly thin, tapered and beveled. The length is also useful – most regular spatulas have a relatively squat scooping head, so you can scoop one hamburger at a time, but if you have a tall gingerbread man, you’ll be in trouble. The fish spatula can have a five or six inch scoop so you can safely lift four small cookies or one large complex menorah cookie at a time.
They also have a commodity when it comes to the corner: there isn’t much of it. To scoop flat food from a flat pan, you don’t need the same deep angle as a frying pan. The fish paddle is slightly offset and made of flexible metal, which makes it comfortable and ergonomic – you can scoop and turn your body without lifting your shoulder, balancing and transferring valuable cargo to the cooling rack.
A fish spatula is indispensable this time of year, but of course your holiday cookies will still be delicious even if they melt into a large rectangle. (But this rectangle can also be scooped up with a fish spatula.)