Q. Can I use wax paper instead of parchment paper? —D. Piazza, San Diego, CA
A. Wax paper and parchment paper can be used interchangeably in many applications, but not all. Wax paper melts when exposed to heat, while parchment can withstand temperatures up to 450°F, depending on the brand. Both types of paper are a great surface for rolling out pastry dough to prevent sticking and for layering cookies and candies when storing. But parchment paper is the one to choose when lining a baking sheet for a batch of cookies or a pan for roasting meat or vegetables. It’s also the only paper to use when cooking en papillote (i.e., when you fold food in a packet and bake it). There’s one exception to the rule of keeping wax paper away from heat: it can be used to line the bottom of cake pans because the cake batter absorbs much of the heat and prevents the wax from melting.