I came to the realization in 2010 that a must-have in my kitchen is parchment paper. If there was ever a time when I went to make cookies and I noticed that I was out of parchment paper, I almost felt immobilized. Instead of breaking out the cooking spray or butter, I would grab my car keys, go up to the store and buy parchment paper just so that I could line my baking sheet.
Parchment paper - also called baking paper - is a heavy duty paper sold on rolls similar to aluminum foil. It can be used to coat everything from cookie sheets to cake pans to baking dishes. When using parchment paper, it eliminates the need to coat the baking sheets with extra grease or spray because it has a non-stick coating. Another added bonus is that it makes cleaning a breeze since you're baking on the paper instead of directly on the baking sheet.
When baking with a cookie sheet, simply cut the parchment paper to the size of the sheet and place the cookie dough directly on the paper. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and when the cookies are done, simply slide the cookies right off the cookie sheet onto the cooling rack. Baking a round cake? That's easy. Pull out a sheet of parchment paper, trace around the bottom of the cake pan on the parchment paper, cut out the circle and place the paper at the bottom of the pan. It's that simple.
As you can see, I have a love affair with parchment paper and it has become quite the saving grace in my kitchen. What tip have you recently fallen in love with when it comes to baking or cooking?