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scrapers for cutting bar cookies?

s
superfinespot Aug 20, 2009 04:54 AM

are dough scrappers/cutters the answer to cutting perfect brownies/bar cookies?

i chill my cooked bars and have used in the past a pizza cutter, very sharp short knife, and even a plastic knife but i want perfect, clean edges on the squares. i'm looking at this one for example:
http://www.preparedpantry.com/bench-s...

  1. h
    HLing Aug 23, 2009 07:12 PM

    Sounds like a similar dilemma I had when i started making 100% buckwheat soba noodles (buckwheat has no gluten) and needed something sharp, straight, and tall to cut through the dough sheet cleanly. There is a knife made just for that purpose, but was $400 and up. http://houtyou.oyasuku.net/toujirou/sobakiri.html

    I lucked out and found a $3 solution while looking at pots and pans at Marshalls. It's the Bialetti vegetable cutter. In the picture it's the 2nd item from the left. As you can see the blade is slightly rounded on both ends so that one can gently rock back and forth in a perfect straight (and long) line.
    http://itemlistings.ebay.com/sdcsrp?f...

    *by the way, I have no idea how it can be a "vegetable cutter", but I'm very happy it is a soba cutter to me!

    5 Replies
    1. re: HLing
      alkapal Aug 25, 2009 05:10 AM

      i bought one of those to cut pizza. it's still in the package!

      i guess it'll cut veggies like a mezzaluna http://www.nextag.com/mezzaluna-chopp...

      1. re: alkapal
        Paulustrious Aug 25, 2009 05:22 AM

        My mezzaluna resides in the basement in a state of limbo. It has exited the kitchen but has not started its new life a garage sale item.

        1. re: Paulustrious
          alkapal Aug 25, 2009 05:45 AM

          maybe if nigella came over to your place, you could whip out the mezzaluna. ;-P.

          1. re: alkapal
            Paulustrious Aug 25, 2009 10:03 AM

            I think she would object to me half-mooning. Might consider it a bit of a cheek.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhu3wy...

        2. re: alkapal
          h
          HLing Aug 25, 2009 09:47 AM

          I think it works better as a cookie bar cutter than a vegetable cutter, but definitely cuts single sheet of soba and or udon noodles beautifully. Normally one folds the udon noodles to cut, but that never look as nice as the full length of straight line that this thing can do.

          mezzaluna is sharper in the curve and in blade than this straight cutter, I think, no?

          *i hear that this this 14 inch cutter has been discontinued by Bialetti, so hang on to it for you don't know when you might need it!

      2. Paulustrious Aug 21, 2009 01:00 PM

        Does not do as good a job as a sharp knife. However they are very useful for picking up diced onions, peelings etc.

        You've now got me intrigued as to what the best tool would be. I've decided against my table saw, jig saw and sawzall. You used to be able to buy a flexible wire file with a handle on each end. A thin kerf manual mitre saw blade would probably work. Possible a cheese wire cutter, but I suspect it would 'collapse' it to much.

        Incidentally, if you cut from the bottom rather then the top do you get a cleaner edge?

        The ideal tool would probably be a hot wire cutter that people use for modelling styrofoam.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Paulustrious
          f
          ferret Aug 21, 2009 01:29 PM

          The multi-wheel dough divider would be a good choice, but you'd need one that could stand up to the density of the cookie.

          http://us.st12.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.co...

          1. re: Paulustrious
            Scargod Aug 21, 2009 02:49 PM

            That's it! I hadn't even finished your post and I was thinking hot wire like you cut plastic and foam with! However, that might leave a slight burnt taste. Need a rheostat. Should cut like butter till you hit a nut!
            I have a woodshop, too. I used to be a modelmaker and had a industrial prototyping business...
            I think a very thin blade (with no teeth...like for slicing meat), on the tablesaw, with water mister, would do the trick. Childsplay!

            1. re: Scargod
              Paulustrious Aug 22, 2009 06:37 AM

              I'm trying to imagine my wife's reaction as I disappear out to my table say with a lump of roast beef. She wasn't particularly pleased when I took a jigsaw to some big marrow bones.

          2. Scargod Aug 20, 2009 08:53 AM

            Just a thought. I think a sharp-edged scraper would be good for pinching dough apart. My OXO is like that. My King Arthur Flour scraper is square and blunt. It wouldn't cut a thing.
            I would us a wet slicer style of knife. Thin bladed, it should do the least damage. I also have a very thin Japanese cleaver that would fit well into corners and a deep dish and lacks the bolster that German style knives have. Franky, I rarely do this type of baking, but I do cornbread!

            1. f
              ferret Aug 20, 2009 06:46 AM

              Try the pizza cutter using a metal straight-edge (ruler) as a guide.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ferret
                d
                dscheidt Aug 25, 2009 04:51 PM

                This. (Well, I use a plastic ruler, but the straight edge is key. If you're doing it inthe pan, you'll need to fix up the edges with a knife.)

              2. alkapal Aug 20, 2009 05:18 AM

                isn't the secret a warm-water dipped cutting tool? that, and baking with a parchment paper "sling" to help with clean, easy removal from the pan.
                http://www.ternent.com/recipes/cutting_brownies
                http://www.marthastewart.com/article/...

                1 Reply
                1. re: alkapal
                  Sooeygun Aug 20, 2009 11:01 AM

                  Those are the keys for me. I have never seen a bench scraper that was sharp enough to cut bar cookies. It would squish the edges (however, a bench scraper is the perfect tool for prying apart frozen burgers. Much safer than a knife.)

                  I lift my squares out of the pan using the parchment and trim & cut with a sharp slicing knife. Every couple of cuts, I wash the knife with hot water (depending on how gooey the squares are).

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