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I don't have access to parchment paper or even butter paper for that matter. I just read on a website that it'd be okay to use aluminium foil as long as I apply a coating of grease on it. And also since aluminium conducts heat faster, will I need to reduce the baking time?

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I'll let others answer your direct questions; but different cookies have different "adherence" properties to their cooking surface, and you may experience more "bits of foil left on the bottom of the cookies" than you would with parchment paper. Depends on the cookies. –  Scivitri Jul 16 '12 at 5:40
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, certainly you can. For that matter, you can simply grease the cookie sheet itself, although that means scrubbing after baking.

Cooking times would be the same as for parchment.

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@UdayKanth From personal experience I find cookies on aluminum foil has a darker and crispier bottom compared to cookies baked on parchment paper. –  Jay Jul 15 '12 at 19:09
    
This is somewhere between misleading and simply wrong. Parchment paper reduces sticking, and browning on the bottom (as Jay said). Greasing the foil makes up for the first, but aluminum foil will not reduce browning, meaning you can't use the same cooking time. Same goes for putting them straight on the pan. –  Jefromi Oct 14 '13 at 1:30
    
Yeah, @BobMcGee answer below is better than mine. If the original asker is around, they should change accepted answers. –  FuzzyChef Feb 25 at 19:58
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You CAN bake cookies on aluminum foil, but you should be aware that they will cook faster and the bottoms will brown more and get crispy. I would suggest using a slightly lower temperature and briefer baking time.

Coincidentally, King Arthur Flour just posted an image of cookies baked on a bare, dark-metal baking sheet (cookies on the LEFT), which will heat similarly to aluminum foil, vs. parchment on a lighter sheet (cookies on the right).

Cookies on Parchment vs. Bare baking sheet

These cookies were cooked with exactly the same time and temperature.

Why does this happen? With parchment, the bottoms of the cookies get heated less than if they're on metal, and more of the heat comes from hot air passing over the top. Aluminum and metal in general are excellent heat conductors, so they will pass a lot of heat to the bottoms of the cookies. Parchment is a reasonably effective insulator, so it will slow conduction of heat to the cookies' bottoms.

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A grocery bag is what was used long before a piece of parchment paper introduced itself to our kitchen. Or you can use plain brown paper used to wrap boxes for mailing. Just cut the paper to fit the cookie sheet and like parchment paper it can be used over and over again. Re-line your cookie sheets with a fresh sheet of brown paper when starting a new batch of cookies.

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This is perhaps not a good practice, as grocery store bags are not intended for cooking, and may not be food safe. –  SAJ14SAJ Oct 14 '13 at 4:51
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