I'm very pleased to be able to return to write another Ask a Baker post after its brief hibernation during our busy July 4th season here at Muddy's Bake Shop! This question has been sitting in my inbox for far too long, and I am super excited about answering it:
I notice more and more cookie recipes calling for the cookies to be baked on parchment. Sometimes recipes call for a greased cookie sheet, and sometimes not. Should you grease? Should you use parchment? Does it depend on the recipe?
You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger cookie fan than me, so you better believe I am a big fan of cookie questions! Every one of them reminds me of yet another of the myriad of factors that can go into why your cookies are always amazing or never, ever turn out.
You may have noticed from photos I have posted in the past, we bake all of our cookies at Muddy's Bake Shop on parchment. We never grease our pans. As most cookies are loaded with delicious butter fats, they release VERY easily from the parchment; and for no other reason than decreasing the number of dishes in the kitchen, I would highly recommend baking your cookies on parchment to anyone!
There are additional reasons to switch from greasing your cookie sheet to using parchment. It turns out MOST cookies turn out far more reliably when baked on parchment and without grease on the pan. There are two ways in which a greased pan may negatively affect your cookies:
1. The additional fats are likely to seep into your cookie and cause more spreading and less rise than desired.
2. Most fats have a lower heat tolerance than your cookie dough requires to mature into a fully baked cookie. Additional butter or oil on your pan can cause the bottom of your cookies to burn, and sometimes the sides if the fats pool at all between the cookies. (And I probably don't need to tell you, burnt oil is also a PAIN to clean off pans!)
One exception to my advice to generally skip greasing the cookie sheet: when baking lace cookies or other delicacies that benefit from a large amount of spread, reach for that lump of butter or non-stick spray!
If you don't have any parchment in the house and really don't feel like going out to buy any, remember that many of today's baking sheets already have a non-stick surface, and the fat content of most cookies make many recipes unlikely to stick anyway. Silicone mats are a great reusable alternative, as well!
But parchment paper is always reliable. Our Gingerbread Men here at Muddy's Bake Shop were baked on parchment, and they give parchment two thumbs up!
Yes, I am featuring a picture of Gingerbread Men in July! Don't hate me for triggering that craving--you can satisfy it soon at Muddy's! Our Christmas in July menu will be featured all week July 21-July 26! Don't miss out!