One “tool” I can’t live without is parchment paper. They should advertise it as having a 101 uses because it really does. A piece under pies (and don’t forget today is Pie Day) makes cleaning up the juicy overflow a breeze. Parchment allows cookies to slide off the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack with one gentle tug. You can wrap fish and vegetables up en papillote and cook your dinner in a “bag”. Trimmed to a circle I often put a round of parchment under most of the cakes I bake, ensuring there are no chunks of cooked cake stuck to the bottom of the pan. Some cooks even use it in place of pastry bags for drizzling on chocolate or piping. I like that it cools down almost instantly, unlike my silpat mats which seem to retain heat and are hard to slide off a baking sheet while hot.
Most grocery stores around me sell rolls of parchment. If you do a lot of baking you can buy it in precut sizes that fit a half sheet baking pan or a round cake pan which is what many restaurants do. Parchment traditionally comes in white, although now there are several companies that make an unbleached version. So give your kitchen some lovin’ and buy a roll of parchment today. Then let me know how you use it as a cooking “tool” in your kitchen.