Here's the Dish

The Parchment Paper Cookbook

By Charlotte on March 7, 2012 6:02 AM

If you love cooking but hate messy clean-up (guilty!), Brette Sember's The Parchment Paper Cookbook: 180 Healthy, Fast, Delicious Dishes (Adams Media; November 2011) belongs on your bookshelf.

Parchment Paper Cookbook Cover 400.jpgI've long been a fan of baking cookies on parchment paper because they don't stick and there're no dirty pans to wash. Instead, you just toss the paper. Talk about easy!


But I was clueless about the many other benefits of baking with parchment paper before picking up this 193-page eye opener.


Here food often cooks inside a parchment paper packet that seals in moisture. Besides helping tenderize meats and fishes, this healthy cooking method limits the fat needed in recipes. It's also earth friendly because you need less water to wash dishes as well as less energy to cook (everything bakes in one oven or toaster oven). And you can recycle the used paper when you're done.


The Parchment Paper Cookbook includes 180 recipes for everything from breakfast delights (Lazy Man's Quiche) to delectable desserts (Rustic Apple Tart) that won't dirty a pot or pan. In addition to downsizing cleanup, this primer's perfect for empty nesters like Bob and me because most meat recipes make a single serving, which cooks in one packet. If feeding two, you just make two packets. Likewise, most side dishes feed four but you can easily cut them in half (so long as you reduce the cooking time correspondingly).


Since parchment paper's a staple in our kitchen (most grocery stores stock it by the foil and wax paper), we couldn't wait to expand our repertoire with this baker's best friend. We started by trying these two tasty treats (recipes below), which cook inside folded parchment paper:


·         St. Patrick's Day Sandwich

·         Chocolate Bread Pudding


These easy-to-assemble dishes scored big with Bob and me. Although you might think bread cooked in parchment paper would be soggy, the St. Patrick's Day Sandwich came out surprisingly golden brown and toasty. Ahhh! The recipe calls for rye bread but we enjoyed using Sara Lee 45-calorie multigrain in our creation. And we love, love, loved the tangy, sauerkraut-infused filling.


We also put multigrain bread (this time a crusty version from Costco) in the Chocolate Bread Pudding. This heavenly, brownie-like recipe produces a rich, chewy chocolate filling surrounded by a thin, crispy shell that answered Bob's constant craving for chocolate and then some. Since we're keen on crunch, we enhanced the texture by topping the pudding with 1/3-cup chopped pecans before the final 10 minutes of baking.


Both recipes call for folding your parchment paper as follows:


·         Center the food on the parchment paper so you have 4" of paper on the sides and 5" along the ends.


·         Lift up the ends of the paper and bring them together in the center of the food.


·         Fold the paper over at least twice, creasing the folds as you go, so that you fold directly down tight to the food.


·         Fold the sides by either twisting each end or folding them as you would a wrapped gift, bringing the long sides in to meet at a "v" and then folding in toward the food a few times.


You'll soon get the hang of it!




St. Patrick's Day Sandwich


Serves 1


Parchment Sandwich - 400 -- 2-13-12.jpgWhile perfectly suited for St. Patrick's Day dinner leftovers, you can make this any time of year. If you made your own corned beef and cabbage, use the cooked cabbage from that dish in this sandwich. Otherwise, prepared sauerkraut does the trick.


·         Dijon mustard to taste

·         2 slices rye bread

·         Ketchup to taste

·         Horseradish sauce to taste

·         Corned beef (a nice thick slice if you're using home-cooked corned beef or 4 deli slices)

·         Cooked cabbage leaf or 1/4 cup sauerkraut (we loved using prepared sauerkraut here)

·         1 slice reduced-fat Swiss cheese


Preheat oven to 400ºF.


Cut a 20" piece of parchment.


Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.


Spread mustard on one slice of bread and ketchup on the other.


Add horseradish sauce to the ketchup side.


Place beef on one slice.


Add cabbage or sauerkraut and top with Swiss cheese.


Place the second slice of bread on top.


Spray both sides of the sandwich with cooking spray.


Fold the parchment.


Bake for 20 minutes.


Calories: 285 | Fat: 7 g | Protein: 24 g | Sodium: 1216 mg | Carbohydrates: 30 g | Fiber: 4 g




Chocolate Bread Pudding


Serves 3 or 4


Warm, moist and slightly crunchy on top with a hint of cinnamon, this fragrant dessert will amaze you with how simply it comes together. Brette likes to use whole wheat bread in this recipe, but that's up to your personal preference.

Bread Pudding - 350.jpg 

·         4 thick slices of a crusty bread, cut into squares

·         1 cup skim milk

·         1 egg

·         Pinch of salt

·         2 tablespoons butter

·         1.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form

·         2 tablespoons sugar

·         Cinnamon sugar (optional - we omitted the Cinnamon Sugar in our test)


Preheat oven to 400ºF.


Cut a 20" piece of parchment.


Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.


Place the bread in a medium bowl and add milk, egg and salt and stir to mix.


Place the butter and chocolate in a small glass bowl and microwave on High for 30 seconds. Stir until all chocolate is dissolved.


Add the sugar to the chocolate mixture; stir.


Pour chocolate over the bread mixture; stir.


Allow bread mixture to soak for about 5 minutes.


Place mixture on the parchment.


Fold the parchment.


Bake for 15 minutes.


Open the packet and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.


Leave the packet open and return to oven for another 10 minutes.


Calories: 275 | Fat: 15 g | Protein: 7 g | Sodium: 240 mg | Carbohydrates: 28 g | Fiber: 0.5 g




All recipes fromThe Parchment Paper Cookbook: 180 Healthy, Fast Delicious Dishes*


Author: Brette Sember with Nicole Cormier, RD, LDN

Publisher: Adams Media, a division of F+W Media

Penned: November 2011

Other Works: Award-winning author Brette Sember's has written more than 35 titles, including Cookie: A Cultural History from Animal Crackers to Zweiback. She blogs about parchment paper cooking at NoPotCooking.com. Nicole Cormier is the author of The Everything Healthy College Cookbook and The Everything Guide to Nutrition.

Time Out: 193 pages

Available: $17.95 at Amazon and most book retailers


* Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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