Magical Parchment Paper

Baking cookies on parchment paper

In case you didn't know - baking with parchment paper is like magic!

Line a cookie sheet with cooking parchment, and bake cookies directly on it (rather than on a greased pan). Your cookies will come right off with no problems: they will not stick to the parchment paper and your pan will be clean! You can also line a loaf or cake pan with it: the cake will come right out of the pan and the parchment paper will easily peel off the cake or loaf. As well, the paper is somewhat heat-resiatant, and can be handled soon after being pulled out of the oven.

More magic:

Commercial cooking/baking parchment paper

Ancient Coptic manuscript on vellum (Old Testament) 10th Century AD

Parchment paper wasn't always used for baking. For millennia, parchment was made from specially prepared animal skins and used as an archival writing surface. The word "parchment" (aka vellum) was derived from the latin word Permagon - where parchment is said to have been invented around the second century BC. Parchment documents have been found that date as far back as Egypt's Old Kingdom (about 2500BC) - though the exact history of parchment is somewhat nebulous.

Modern "baking parchment" is considerably different. It is paper embeded with silicone - hence the "magic". This begs the question, if baking parchment has silicone in it, and there are all sorts of silicone pans, utensils, and cookie-sheets on the market these days, is silicone really a healthy thing to heat-up and cook food on?

So far, baking with silicone seems to be OK. Its safe temperature range is from -58 to 428°F, so beware of the latter temperature when baking, and avoid a high temperature grill setting in the oven or BBQ.

Yes, I admit it. Lately I've been into silicone ;-)