One of the best tools I keep in my baking arsenal is parchment paper. Though it’s a chef’s standard in the kitchen for baking and cooking, I tend to use it a little more sparingly because of the cost. It tends to run between $5 – $7 dollars a roll and is great to use for easy clean-up.
The most common use for me are for baking. This is used primarily as a liner for bar cookies like Citrus Cream Cheese Bars, brownies or Blondies (see below). The parchment paper makes it extremely easy to lift the cooled bars out for cutting, and then return them all to the pan if needed. Additionally, parchment paper makes a great disposable lining for cookie trays ensuring that even the most delicate cooking won’t stick. This is also true of any candy or chocolate dipped sweets thus ensuring you an easy release from the pan for serving.
Many chef’s like to use parchment for cooking, including wrapping fish and vegetables in packets for baking or as a non-stick lining for individual appetizers. Wrapping fish and vegetables with a little seasoning and olive oil allows the food to steam in it’s own juices, helping to keep fish nice and moist.
The only downside, other than the cost is it does tend to tear when slicing, and will need to be folded or cut in order to fit your individual pans. Also, browning can take a little longer than normal. So for example if you are baking cookies and the recipe calls for 10 – 12 minutes to bake, you may need to keep them in for 15 minutes or more, depending upon your oven.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.