When I bake, I may or may not pull out my spatula, my small whisk or my stand mixer. But the one tool I know I'll always need is a half sheet pan. Yes, they may look like simple cookie sheets, but these pans are all-purpose multi-taskers, worth much more than their $10 price tag.I use these pans for cookies, of course, but they are also essential for roasting vegetables or making granola, as the rimmed edge keeps everything in the pan. The rim is also useful when roasting a pan of juicy chicken thighs or making a big sheet of some type of dessert, like mini brownies or cake bites.
Even when I'm not baking directly in the pan, I still use it: placed under batter-filled cake or bread pans, it protects the oven floor from overflowing batter and makes it easier to transport smaller pans in and out.
These pans are sturdy, don't buckle, and are a standard size, so pre-cut parchment sheets fit perfectly. They are also quite inexpensive, especially if you have a restaurant supply store nearby. I found mine for around $8 each at Surfas in Southern California.
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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