Why You May Want To Avoid Insulated Cookie Sheets

The insulated cookie sheet is a fairly recent invention, according to The New York Times, at least to the extent that you consider 1983 fairly recent. Reporting on the then-innovative Rema Bakeware Cushion Aire baking sheet in 1983, The New York Times reported this new-fangled insulated pan is even better than a standard single-layer cookie sheet that puts cookie dough in direct contact with hot metal (in most cases steel or aluminum). 

By contrast, an insulated cookie sheet comprises two layers of aluminum sheeting, laid one atop the other, but with just enough space between the layers to allow for airflow, per The Oklahoman. The presence of air between the two layers helps to dissipate the heat coming off the bottom layer before it can reach the upper layer on which the cookies lay baking, according to the news site. In this way, the double-layered cookie sheet not only helps prevent scorched bottoms, but also ensures even color and a uniform bake. 

All of this can make insulated cookie sheets a wise alternative for baking cookies where the appearance depends upon uniform texture and consistency. The sort of cookies for which insulated cookie sheets add value include shortbread and sugar cookies, per Martha Stewart. But, for other kinds of cookies, here is why you may want to avoid insulated cookie sheets.

Insulated cookie sheets have one drawback

The popularity of insulated cookie sheets in the years immediately after the launch, per The Oklahoman, suggests double-layered cookie sheets were adopted for all cookie baking, including the American favorite, the classic chocolate chip cookie. If that's working for you, then as you were! But, perhaps you've noticed that when you use insulated cookie sheets to bake up, say, a brown butter chocolate chip cookie recipe, your cookies spread thin without crispy edges. The reason may be that while insulated cookie sheets can be quite effective for yielding evenly colored and baked, soft-centered cookies, the design might also encourage melting and spreading beyond what you'd see with a single-layer baking sheet, according to Don't Waste Your Money

If you're going for home-baked cookies with a crispy, golden-brown perimeter, but all you've got are insulated cookie sheets, you can increase baking time slightly, but this may result in drier and mealy cookies (via BHG). Moreover, while going off-recipe may offer advantages, not everyone relishes the idea of baking improv. If you're in that camp, you may be better off avoiding insulated cookie sheets altogether; and when you wish to accomplish a gentler bake, you can line your standard cookie sheet with a parchment paper.