Parchment Paper

Parchment Paper

When it comes to the kitchen, one of my top priorities (second only to making scrumptious vegan sweets), is efficiency. In the baking world, there is one tool that is above all others: it protects your bake ware, quickly releases your goodies from pans, and makes for easy cleaning. In fact, it’s one of my favorite kitchen secrets and I rarely bake without it.

This secret is parchment paper. While parchment paper can be purchased at any cooking store or grocery shop that has a decent baking section, my preference is for the unbleached variety that is usually found in health food stores.

For cookies and pastries, I cut a piece of parchment to cover the cookie sheet before dropping dough onto the sheet. When the timer buzzes and the cookies are baked to golden perfection, the entire paper with the cookies in tow can easily slide off the pan to cool. No wire racks or extra mess to clean. Then, the next batch can be easily put into the oven right away.

With cakes, a round of parchment at the bottom of the pan proves an effortless way to release your baked cake to a cooling rack. Simply place the baking pan on the parchment paper, trace around the base of the baking pan and cut the paper along the trace line to fit. Place the round inside the bottom of the pan and pour in the cake batter.

Line cupcake/muffin tins using traditional muffin liners, which are just like having custom-shaped parchment cups.

When baking a pie, you can easily avoid excessive cleanup by placing a baking sheet topped with parchment under the pie pan. Any filling that bubbles over while baking will land on the parchment paper and be easily whisked away without scrubbing or elbow grease.

The next time you’re grocery shopping, I hope you’ll look for parchment paper and add this valuable, time-saving tool to your kitchen. I predict that you’ll enjoy it so much you may wonder what you ever did without it!

Orange Currant Scones
A delicious addition to a breakfast meal or afternoon tea.

Dry ingredients (please use organics whenever possible):

  • 3 1/4 cup unbleached wheat or spelt flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan margarine or light oil (like sunflower or safflower)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (only if using oil; margarine is already salted)

Wet ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup currants
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons rice milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • Zest of one orange

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment baking paper.

Oil a 1/4 cup measuring cup (the kind that has a handle and the top can be leveled) and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients except the margarine or oil. Cut in the margarine or oil with a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers until the texture is crumbly.

In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, lightly stirring until combined. (Do not overmix)

Using the 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop dough onto the parchment with one to two inches between each.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. These are best when warm. Serve with jam or margarine.

Makes 12 scones.

Granola Bars
These are a great snack to keep on hand for your entire family. Feel free to substitute your favorite nuts and dried fruits.

Note: This recipe was inspired by the famous (and my favorite) TV chef, Alton Brown; this is my veganized version of his recipe. Written primarily in ounces, this is a much more accurate method of measurement. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to invest in a useful tool, get a good digital kitchen scale and give it a try. A great side-benefit is that you will have fewer dishes to wash since you’ll avoid using numerous measuring cups. Once you get the hang of it, you may wish every recipe was written in weight!

Dry ingredients (please use organics whenever possible):

  • 8 ounces regular rolled oats
  • 1.5 ounces pumpkin seeds, raw and shelled
  • 3 ounces almonds, chopped
  • 1.5 ounces oat bran
  • 1 ounces flax seeds, ground

Wet ingredients:

  • 6 ounces agave nectar
  • 1.75 ounces dark brown sugar
  • 1 ounces vegan non-hydrogenated margarine or coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Additional Ingredients:

  • 6.5 ounces chopped dried fruit (cranberries, currants, apricots, or any fruit you like)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper.

Toast the dry ingredients (except the flax seeds).

Measure wet ingredients into a medium saucepan and heat over medium, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Add dry ingredients to pan. Mix completely.

Place mixture into the 9×9 pan, lined with parchment. Spread the mixture into the pan. Place another sheet parchment on top of the mixture and press down firmly and evenly with the bottom of another pan. (This step is very important!)

Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and place the pan into the oven.

Bake 25 minutes. Cool completely and lift the parchment paper and baked bars from the pan. Cut into 12 pieces and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Makes 12 bars.

Allison Rivers Samson is the founder of Allison’s Gourmet, an on-line, organic, vegan bakery & gift company. All recipes are copyrighted by Allison. 


Author: VegFamily

VegFamily is a comprehensive resource for raising vegan children, including pregnancy, vegan recipes, expert advice, book reviews, product reviews, message board, and everyday vegan living.

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