Right now, a warm, home-cooked meal feels like the only thing that could possibly cure your workday woes. But, eyeing the already-sky-high pile of dirty dishes in your sink, you think better of it. Why make an even bigger mess?
Then, all at once, it dawns on you. Parchment paper.
Your weary head lifts. Your heart warms. Is that-is that the sound of angels singing? Is that golden confetti streaming through the air? Is that Ina Garten waltzing through the door, smiling and high-fiving you?
It...probably isn’t. But those things could describe the general feelings you’ll feel if you use parchment paper.
A post shared by Rebekah Lowin (@rebekahlowin) on Apr 18, 2017 at 3:52pm PDT
I see you rolling your eyes, but bear with me. Despite the boatload of nonsense I just forced you to endure, the magic of parchment paper is serious stuff. I’ve legitimately used it for every purpose under the sun. Sweet, savory. Dinner, dessert. Chicken, cookies. I’ve used it as signage at a bridal shower and I’ve used it to wrap gifts. I’ve even used it as a temporary mouse pad, for goodness’ sake.
Let’s just say that, given the choice between my boyfriend and parchment paper, I would laugh nervously, hesitate, then run out of the room screaming. So why exactly do I love this stuff so much? Let us count the ways.
Aluminum foil isn't nonstick. Parchment paper is.
I won’t actually force you to use parchment paper. Promise! I just won’t stand for you plopping down aluminum foil in its place. While it may be resistant to high temperatures and useful when cleanup time rolls around, aluminum foil doesn’t actually have any non-stick properties. Parchment paper does. You can peel hot cookies off this stuff like it's magic.
Wax paper isn't heat resistant, unlike parchment paper.
"Okay, fine," I can hear you thinking. "If I can't use aluminum foil, why don't I just plop down some wax paper?"
It's true: Wax paper is nonstick. But it isn’t heat-resistant, and it should never, ever go in your oven. It’s coated in wax, after all! Meanwhile, most parchment paper brands can handle heat up to around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It's the holy grail at the center of a Venn diagram of perfection: non-stick, heat-resistant, and moisture-resistant.
It’s insanely inexpensive.
You can get a 45’ roll of parchment paper for less than five dollars, folks. That’s enough to last you six months.
It can do the job of dozens of other baking accessories.
Ever heard of a Silpat baking mat-the kind used by pro bakers? No? Good! Let’s not even talk about it, because parchment paper is effectively the same thing (well, almost) with 10 times the use cases and half the hassle. Did I mention you can even use smaller cuts of parchment as DIY muffin tin liners? And roll the paper into cones to create your own piping tips? Genius.
Parchment paper is just plain fancy. (It’s even French!)
You’ve really got to hand it to the French, who are to thank for so many good things: fries, cheese, hot air balloons, and, yes, cooking with parchment. In fact, there’s a French phrase reserved for exactly this type of cooking: “En papillote” refers to food that’s cooked and served in a paper wrapper. So, simply by wrapping stuff up in parchment before tossing it in the oven, you’re accidentally engaging in a fancy, French pastime.
Bonus: Cooking en papillotte might even be a healthier option for you. The technique-which involves steaming the food gradually via the vapors that build up within the parchment-requires very little extra fat. You'll naturally begin consuming less butter and oil, all while trapping and retaining flavors that would otherwise be lost to evaporation.
A post shared by LeAnne Shor | Lion’s Bread (@leanne.shor) on May 23, 2019 at 5:50am PDT
It’s really, really, really, ridiculously good looking.
Okay, not the parchment itself, but the way it makes things look. Parchment paper turns just about any dish into a work of modern art just begging to be posted on Instagram. If you’re hoping to impress a date with a home-cooked meal, you absolutely must serve something en papillote.
Its capabilities extend far beyond the kitchen.
Parchment paper can be used as craft paper, wrapping paper, a paint palette, a bookmark, a child’s placemat, a prep station for chopping veggies, and so much more. Its utility ends only where your creativity does. How great is that?
At the end of the day, there’s really only one problem with the stuff: Were you to try to pry it out of my cold, dead hands, you’d succeed all too easily. Because it’s made to be pried. It’s that nonstick.
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