In Praise of Parchment
Butter-greased pans, oil-greased pans, foil-lined pans, flour-dusted pans, non-stick pans…none are as reliable for turning out perfect cakes, bars or brownies as good old-fashioned parchment. Yet you almost never see a recipe calling for a parchment-lined pan, probably because your average recipe writer thinks the process is too involved for your average home cook. Balderdash. Try it once and you’ll never go back.
All you need is a sheet of parchment paper and a can of cooking spray. You can get the paper in a roll at any mega-mart. I order pre-cut half-sheet-pan-sized sheets from King Arthur because, well, I got used to the pre-cut stuff at work and it’s much easier to manage. Just trace your pan on the sheet with a pencil or pen (don’t worry about ink or graphite, you’re going to cut the line away later).
Next give the pan a liberal misting with your favorite brand of cooking spray. Good ol’ regular Pam is my go-to de-sticker.
Then just drop the bottom in.
For the sides, got back to your scraps and cut strips about 1 1/2″ to 2″ wide (it doesn’t really matter)…
…and press them onto the sides of the pan. You’ll notice that they’ll adhere instantly due to the coating of cooking spray. Don’t have a piece long enough to go all the way around? No matter, cut smaller ones and stick’em on.
Lastly give the whole works another good coating of spray and you’re ready to pour in your batter.
This is a no-fail system. No matter what you happen to be baking, the whole thing will just drop right out when you upend the pan. Of course it works equally well with round layer pans, oblong baking pans, what-have-you. Get accustomed to it and you’ll never have to wrestle a brownie out of a pan again.