The holidays are here, and if you’re anything like me, your kitchen is in overdrive preparing an abundance of tasty treats. I thought I’d spread some Christmas cheer and share my #1 tip for easier holiday baking.

What would Christmas be without cookies? Some of my most fond memories are of decorating sugar cookies with my sisters in Mom’s kitchen. We’d put on some cheery tunes and use icing and sprinkles to create the perfect offerings to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve. Mom’s cookies always turned out flawless, too—just the perfect amount of golden brown kissing the bottoms of those richly delicious sugar cookies.

My early attempts to replicate my mom’s cookie perfection were always a total disaster. I tried nonstick baking pans, nonstick sprays, even baking racks, but all I got was failure: sad, burnt failure or soggy undercooked failure. It was awful—no matter what recipe I tried. I finally put my stubbornness aside and asked my mom what her secret to those uh-mahze-ing cookies was, and she told me.

Parchment Paper.

Parchment Paper, making baking a thousand times easier
Parchment Paper, making baking a thousand times easier

Yep, plain old parchment paper. It’s the greatest kitchen revelation I’ve had since I discovered frozen biscuits. You buy parchment paper for baking, and your cookies and treats will come out of the oven looking like a million bucks—and they won’t leave you with a nasty stuck-on mess to clean afterwards. You just toss the sheet of paper in the trash and you’re done! You can pick up parchment paper in any local grocery store, too—it’s almost always located by the aluminum foil and plastic cling wrap.

Do not, however, think that if parchment paper works well then wax paper will work even better. The wax will melt off the paper onto your cookies and your entire house will smell of burnt crayons. Not that I’ve done that before…

I always keep parchment paper on hand. It makes baking a thousand times easier. Any shortcuts in the kitchen are a welcome addition into my life, and I hope this little tip helps make your kitchen a little merrier this season. Happy baking, y’all!