If you are a daily baker as I am, you probably bake cookies pretty much regularly. Peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip are among my family’s favorites, so I bake these practically every week at some point. Bake sales and school functions will receive bar cookies, raisin oatmeal cookies, or simple sugar cookies. With all this baking, I’ve tried all sorts of surfaces for cookie baking to perfect my little creations.
Often, I’m asked ‘Can you bake cookies on foil?‘ as well as should you bake cookies on aluminum foil. Guess what! Yes, you can!
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Many cookie recipes will require a cookie sheet that is well greased. Still, others will indicate parchment paper for baking. All of these options can be successful when used, but much will depend on what type of cookie you are baking.
A cookie baked on a greased baking sheet will bake quickly giving it a nice dark bottom and will be crispy when it comes out of the oven. Parchment paper, on the other hand, will give you a cookie with a lighter bottom side that will remain moister and softer to eat. Using aluminum foil when cookie-baking will produce a cookie texture that falls somewhere in the middle between the other two options. The end result will be a cookie that is less crispy than if baked on a greased sheet, but not quite as soft as if baked on parchment paper.
Another noteworthy advantage to baking on aluminum foil is that clean-up is super easy, leaving me with less fuss in my kitchen and one less thing to wash. When the cookies are ready, I slide them out of the oven, place them on a cooling rack and then just remove and dispose of the aluminum foil I used. No greasy baking sheet to wash! This is a real-time saver if you decide to bake gooey cookies that include chocolate or caramel in the recipe.
Bar cookies do great on aluminum foil. These cookies will always stick to a pan, so the aluminum foil is a lifesaver. Just remember to leave about two inches around the edges, so that removing the bar from the pan before cutting the bars will be easier.
Oven Temperatures with Aluminum Foil
Since the foil is a great heat conductor, my cookies bake a bit faster. For this reason, I turn down the temperature by five to ten degrees when I bake on aluminum foil. I admit I prefer to play it safe and avoid burning my cookies or having them turn out too dark.
I also check to see how done they are a bit sooner. Since my chocolate chip recipe calls for ten minutes of baking, I check in at seven minutes if I am baking on foil. If they are baked and brown, out they come!
Greasing Aluminum Foil
This is something that I recommend. You don’t want your cookie to stick to the foil and perhaps break when removed. I usually grease the foil a bit before positioning the cookie dough so that I can avoid sticking. Personally, I use just a tad of butter. Others will prefer to use cooking spray. In any case limit the amount, especially with butter to avoid burning.
Foil type and what you can do with it
It’s also important to make sure you use sturdy, heavy aluminum foil when baking. The thinner, flimsy foil will risk tearing, and you’ll end up washing the baking sheet anyway.
Also, if you opt for a heavy tin foil, you can actually avoid a baking sheet altogether. You can wrap the oven rack completely with the foil and place your cookie dough on top, or you can create mini baking trays directly out of the aluminum foil remembering to grease them.
If you use the rack option, know that it is not ideal if you are preparing delicate cookies like my favorite sugar cookies.
Is Wax Paper a good Alternative for Baking Cookies?
The first thing to know about wax paper is that it is not heat resistant, therefore it can never be exposed directly to heat. Wax paper is a type of paper that has a light covering of paraffin on either side. This coating renders it grease-resistant, non-stick, waterproof, and moisture-resistant. It has lots of great uses within a kitchen, however, using it in an oven means the paraffin could melt. Personally, I’d opt for parchment paper.
Can You Bake Cookies on Parchment Paper?
I can and do! Instead of lining my cookie sheet with aluminum foil, I line it with parchment paper. I actually use parchment paper just as much as I use aluminum foil, maybe even a bit more.
By lining a baking sheet with parchment paper, I avoid sticking big time. This is thanks to the fact that parchment paper is treated with silicone, so it’s really non-stick and I don’t need to grease it.
Parchment paper will also save your pans and sheets, because like aluminum, you just lift it out and toss it when you’ve finished. No more dirty or greasy pans to wash.
And my cookies turn out perfectly. They come out of the oven evenly baked and thanks to the non-stick characteristic of parchment paper, they are so easy to remove without breaking. One word of advice, however, is that the parchment paper should not hang over the edges of your baking sheet or touch oven walls to prevent the risk of burning.
The Bottom Line
The use of aluminum foil or parchment paper when baking cookies affords you several advantages.
The most obvious being that it reduces your clean-up after baking. Aluminum foil will speed up your baking time due to thermal conductivity, whereas parchment paper will provide you with an evenly baked cookie and will eliminate the need to grease before positioning cookie dough.
Finally, in case you need to make huge batches of cookies, both aluminum foil, and parchment paper will allow you to prepare the next tray of cookies so that when one is finished, you can handily place the next batch in the oven in a matter of seconds!
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