One thing that comes up in baking recipes almost as often as butter, flour, sugar and eggs is parchment paper. It is recommended for lining baking sheets, lining cake pans and being used to roll out pie crusts and cookie dough. But what is parchment paper?
Parchment paper is a heavy duty grease and moisture resistant paper that is used in baking and cooking because it provides a heat-resistant, nonstick surface to bake on. Parchment paper is made from paper that is treated with an acid during production to give it a high stability and high heat resistance. The paper is then coated with a nonstick material, typically silicone, to give it its nonstick properties. Parchment paper is safe to use to temperatures up to 420-450 degrees Fahrenheit (exact temperature depends on the brand) and is best used in a regular or convection oven, not under a broiler. At higher temperatures, the paper will become brittle and will start to turn dark brown. Both sides of parchment paper are identical, so both sides can be placed “up” when using it.
The best thing about parchment paper is that it is nonstick, so it eliminates the need for greasing cookie sheets when you put a piece of parchment down before you portion out your cookie dough. The cookies will come off very easy, with no sticking and absolutely no mess. In fact, you probably won’t even need to was the baking sheets afterward! Parchment paper can be reused several times, especially when using it to bake cookies, but will become brittle after several uses of a single sheet and should be replaced at that point.
When using parchment to line pans, greasing the pan is also usually recommended. This is because a little bit of vegetable oil in the pan will help the parchment to stick to the pan, meaning that no batter will creep under the parchment when you fill your pan up.