Some cookie recipes call for pans to be lined with parchment paper; others want silicone baking mats. Some say to grease the cookie sheet, or grease and flour the baking pans. I sometimes call for lining pans with foil! What’s the (dare I say, cookie) scoop on all of this? What is the best way to line baking sheets for chocolate chip cookies, French macarons, and other baked goods?
If convenience were my sole criterion, I’d say that in general, silicone mats and parchment liners are easier and less messy than greasing or greasing and flouring. (I detest that kind of mess!) Liners allow you to slide the cookies off the pan and onto a rack, should you want quicker cooling, or if you need to reuse the sheet pans again in a hurry. In other words, lining a pan with parchment mostly eliminates the need for greasing with butter and flour and the need to transfer hot cookies individually from a pan to a cooling rack while they are still hot from the oven. I’ve done this far too many times only to watch the fragile warm cookie start to crack like an ancient relic. But which liner is best and when might you skip the liner altogether? Here’s how I break down the choices.