Adventures in Baking

I’ve wanted an embossed rolling pin for years, ever since I first saw them advertised, but it seemed silly to get a utensil that would sit unused in a storage unit. Now I have a kitchen and reasons to make cookies (ah, those ubiquitous pot lucks!), so I ordered the rolling pin from the original makers in Poland since I didn’t want a cheap knock-off, and wouldn’t you know, the recipe that came with the rolling pin is in grams rather than cups.

I wasn’t worried since I have the internet to help me make the conversions. So no problem, right?


According the conversion charts, one cup is equal to 201.6 grams (or maybe 198.6, depending on the website).

And yet, according to those same sites, 200 grams of butter converts to 14.109585 tablespoons or approximately 7/8 of a cup.

150 grams of sugar converts to 3/4 of a cup. But wait! The recipe calls for powered sugar, which converts to 1.3 cups.

400 grams of flour is 3 1/4 cups, but not always. If you scoop a cup of flour, sometimes that cup is 120 grams and sometimes its as much as 180, depending not just on the type of flour, but on whether it’s sifted, how much it’s sifted, and how full you filled the cup. The preferred way of measuring flour in a cup to get a consistent number of grams is to use a small scoop or spoon, shake the flour into the cup and then level off with a knife. This should yield 150 grams of all-purpose flour. Now I’m really confused about how much flour I need to measure. 2 2/3 cups?

As far as I know, an egg is an egg, and even though there are various sizes of eggs, apparently it makes no difference when it comes to cookies. At least I hope not. And a pinch of salt seems to be a pinch of salt in any measuring system.

The recipe calls for baking the cookies at 200 degrees. I presume that’s Celsius, since that temperature seems way to low to do anything but boil water (here at an elevation of 3,898 feet, water boils not at 212 degrees Fahrenheit but at 204.5 degrees.) 200 degrees Celcius converts to 392 degrees Fahrenheit. Is that even a possible oven temperature?

As if this weren’t bad enough, the recipe needs to be altered for high-altitude cooking, which means I need to decrease the butter by 2 to 4 tablespoons, decrease sugar by an unspecified amount, maybe add a tablespoon or two of liquid, increase flour by 1 to 2 tablespoons, increase baking time by 1 to 3 minutes, or perhaps decrease baking time by 1 to 2 minutes. Or maybe just increase the oven temperature by up to 25 degrees.

You think I’m making this up? Nope. Not even a smidgen (a smidgen equals .18 grams) of hyperbole.

But where does it leave me?

Looking for a good bakery!


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.