If you’re wanting to use aluminium foil to bake your cookies on, then I’m assuming that you’re out of parchment paper? If you’ve got enough parchment paper, then go ahead and use it. I’ll cut to the chase and say that parchment paper gives you better results since it’s a more effective insulator and it doesn’t stick nearly as much as aluminium foil can.
However, if you’re completely out of parchment paper and have nothing else but aluminium foil, then it’s not the end of the world since you can still bake great cookies.
Cookies can be baked on heavy-duty aluminium foil, but you need to keep an eye on them as it will increase how quickly they bake. You can shorten their baking time by a few minutes in order to prevent overbrowning or burning. You need to make sure that the foil is greased so the cookies don’t stick.
Since aluminium is conductive, it’ll take in a lot of heat and distribute it to the base of the cookies. This is made worse if you’re using a dark, metal baking tray as these can take in more heat, which can lead to faster browning and burning. All this heat is absorbed through the metal, then passed on to the cookies.
Parchment paper, on the other hand, acts as an insulator between the metal baking tray and the cookies, so it allows just enough heat through to bake the cookies without browning them too much. This is just one of the reasons why it’s better than aluminium foil.
Using a baking tray or cookie tray alone will put the cookies at the highest risk of becoming too crispy or too browned on the bottom. Using parchment paper will reduce the direct heat, which will give you the best results. Using aluminium foil will still brown the cookies more since it’s still a conductor, but less so than if you were to put the cookies on the baking tray alone.
Aluminium Foil vs Parchment Paper
There should be no debate about which one is better for baking cookies. Parchment paper is simply the best due to its insulating and non-stick properties. However, it’s useful to look at how they differ, just in case you’re still wanting to use foil.
As you can probably guess, there’s not much that these two have in common, but there is one useful function that they both share: they’re thin, light, and flexible, making it easy for you to shape, cut, and move it around.
This presents no issues when trying to fold or cut the foil or paper to size to fit your cookie/baking tray. Once the cookies are baked, you can even lift the foil or paper out of the tray onto a cooling rack without any effort. It really couldn’t be easier.
Parchment paper is non-stick, aluminium foil isn’t. This means that the cookie dough can go directly on top of the paper without you having it grease it at all. Once it’s done, you can lift the cookies off with minimal effort. On the other hand, aluminium foil needs to be greased or it will latch onto the base of the cookies.
Since aluminium needs to be greased, it can tend to stick if you don’t grease it properly. This leaves you with the pain of having to try and pull the foil off the base of the cookie without it tearing. If it tears, you’re going to struggle to get the rest of it off the cookie. Keep in mind that this is largely depending on the type of cookie you make though. Some cookie dough will stick to the foil very easily whilst other dough doesn’t.
Aluminium foil is conductive, parchment paper isn’t. This makes a big difference when it comes to how evenly and quickly your cookies bake. On aluminium foil, the heat transfers directly from the baking tray to the foil, then to the base of the cookie, causing them to bake faster than the top of the cookie. This can lead to a cripsy, overbrowned, or burnt base by the time all the cookies and done baking.
Unlike aluminium foil, parchment paper acts as an insulator between the direct heat of the baking tray and the base of the cookie. This means that the bottoms won’t bake too quickly. Assuming that the baking tray gets hot enough, there should be just enough heat to bake the cookies through the bottom without overdoing them at all.
Aluminium foil conducts heat unevenly, parchment paper does not. If your oven is like the majority of peoples’, then it won’t heat very evenly. This means that when the baking tray heats up, there will be some spots that are hotter than others. This heat is then distributed to the foil, then to the cookies. If it’s uneven, the cookies won’t bake evenly on the bottom, or the top, which is a big let down.
When using parchment paper, it insulates the heat of the baking tray whilst also evening it out. This leads to better baking and a better set of cookies.
Tips For Baking On Aluminium Foil
Although baking on aluminium foil isn’t hard, it’s definitely not as easy as baking on parchment paper, so there are some things you should keep in mind to make sure that you’re still baking your cookies properly.
Here are some tips to ensure that you still get good results with aluminium foil:
Lower The Oven Temperature
Since aluminium foil is a conductor and speeds up the rate at which the cookies bake, you should lower the temperature slightly to make up for the direct heat they’re getting from it.
Every oven is different, so you’ll have to play around with the temperature in order to find what’s right. Generally speaking, lowering the temperature by 5, 10, or even 20 degrees (depending on your oven) will be sufficient to slow the baking so they down brown too quickly.
If you don’t do this, you’re risking overbrowning or burning the base of the cookies. This can lead to cookies with rock-solid, thick bases that aren’t pleasant to eat.
Even if you are using a lower temperature, it’s important to keep an eye on them for doneness. They can still bake faster at a lower temperature, so check them a few minutes before they’d normally be done baking just to make sure they’re not going to overbake.
Only Use Heavy Duty Aluminium Foil
If you’re going to be using foil to bake cookies on, you better use the thick stuff or you’ll regret it. Using thin, light aluminium foil will only lead to it tearing very easily and sticking to the base of the cookies, which is exactly what you want to avoid.
By using thicker, stronger aluminium foil, you’ll have a much easier time peeling it off the cookies and you won’t need to worry as much about sticking.
Remove The Foil From The Baking Tray When They’re Baked
If you’re not careful, the base of your cookies may continue to cook and overcook as you leave them to cool.
The aim is to get them to a cooling rack soon after they’re out of the oven in order to stop them from cooking too much on the bottom. This is generally done by removing them from the parchment paper (or whatever they’re baked on) and setting them on a cooling rack as soon as they firm up. If you’re not doing this, you’re making a little mistake.
If you’re using aluminium foil on a baking tray and leaving them there, then the residual heat will continue to pass through the foil to the base of the cookies, which will cause them to continue cooking, especially if they’re on a thick tray.
Always take the cookies off as soon as you can without misshaping them. This ensures that you get the best results in terms of both texture and appearance. Taking them off too soon may cause them to lose their shape and become less aesthetic, so make sure they’ve firmed up slightly first (the time this takes varies depending on the cookies).
Although aluminium foil can be used in place of parchment paper to bake cookies, the results you’ll get won’t be quite as good as what you get with parchment paper, so it’s better to stick with parchment paper.
If you can’t get any parchment paper, then just use aluminium foil. You’ll be sure to still enjoy them as long as you bake them without them overbrowning.