Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a jelly roll pan, a cookie sheet and a baking sheet? It’s usually important, or at the very least helpful, to use the cooking equipment specified in a recipe. Sometimes there are products that are really similar, ones that could almost be interchangeable in certain circumstances. The jelly roll pan, cookie sheet, and baking sheet are a good example of what I’m referring to. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between jelly roll pans, cookie sheets and baking sheets.
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Jelly Roll Pans
The jelly roll pan is sometimes mistaken for a cookie sheet. A jelly roll pan is a flat pan and does a pretty good job at baking cookies. The distinguishing feature of a jelly roll pan and what differentiates it from a true cookie sheet is that it has a raised edge. The most common size jelly roll pan is will be approximately 12 by 18 inches, and have an edge up to one inch high.
The raised edge enables you to use a jelly roll pan to make many other things besides cookies. The pan was originally developed to make jelly rolls, which are thin cakes that are topped with jelly then rolled up into a spiral log shape. The edges of the jelly roll pan allowed for a large but thin cake to be baked. Jelly roll pans are also used by home cooks to make granola bars, peanut brittle, free form meatloaves, and roasted vegetables.
While you can use a jelly roll pan to bake cookies, the heat flow around your cookies may be slightly different from how it would be with a cookie sheet. Because of this, you may need to adjust your cooking times accordingly – just start taking a look at your cookies 5 to 10 minutes earlier than normal if you’re using a jelly roll pan, and check on how they’re baking.
A cookie sheet is often about the same size as a jelly roll pan, and sometimes even larger. A cookie sheet may have a single raised edge to help you get a better grip when taking it out of the oven, but usually the other edges will be completely flat. A flat edge makes it easy to slide the cookies off the sheet.
Cookie sheets were frequently constructed from a single sheet of metal for a long while. In recent years “insulated” cookie sheets have become popular. These cookie sheets are constructed from two layers of metal, with an insulating layer of air placed between the two layers. This can help avoid hotspots and make your cookies will cook more evenly.
Silicone cookie sheets are a more recent option for shoppers. Silicone provides an instant baking surface that doesn’t need to be greased. These nonstick sheets are great for prep as well as baking and are super easy to clean. Their light weight and flexibility make them easy to store. Some folks use them by themselves. They also work really well on top of traditional cookie sheets. If you want to protect the appearance of your cookie sheet silicone sheets are a great option and are more affordable than parchment paper. The great thing about lining a metal cookie sheet with a silicone cookie sheet is that it lets you bake batches more quickly. When using metal cookie sheets to bake cookies you often have downtime while a batch is cooling before you can use it again. By using a silicone cookie sheet on there you can slide it off and replace it with another and bake another batch immediately.
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When someone says “baking sheet” they’re usually referring to a jelly roll pan, but other people would also include a cookie sheet as a type of baking sheet. In general, baking sheet simply means a flat pan that’s used to bake things in the oven. So, it could mean a jelly roll pan or a cookie sheet.
If you can only have a single baking sheet in your kitchen, make it a jelly roll pan. You’ll be able to do everything you can with a cookie sheet, but be able to make plenty of things that you can’t make with a cookie sheet. Line it with a silicone cookie sheet and you can slide cookies right off and have the best of all worlds.