a 12"x18" piece of plain (not recycled) brown packing paper*
non-stick cooking spray or oil
high-heat cooking oil (such as canola, avocado or grapeseed)
*There are lots of tutorials out there suggesting that you can use an ordinary brown paper bags to make popcorn in the microwave (including one published in the New York Times
). Paper bags are convenient, to be sure, but I had a hunch that they might not be entirely safe for cooking. Turns out the USDA agrees with me. Their guidelines advise against using brown paper bags
. Recycled paper and adhesives can release fumes when exposed to heat, that you wouldn't necessarily want in your food. The USDA suggests buying paper bags made particularly for cooking (only I haven't been able to locate any). Obviously you've got to make the call about what cooking materials you feel safe using. Paper can
be safe for cooking, and coating it in oil (as I suggest) reduces the risk of scorching. But you do want to avoid extra, nasty chemicals that might be used to process them. I used (not recycled) brown packing paper. My best guess is this is about as safe a cooking paper as you can find, and I'm comfortable using it. The call is obviously yours.
You can also make this design using wax paper or parchment paper, though it is flimsier and harder to fold. If you decide to make this bag out of wax or parchment paper, you'll have to make a few modifications to the process. In step 2 cut 2 sheets of paper, exactly the same size. Skip step 3 (parchment and wax paper don't need to be oiled). Complete steps 4 and 5 separately out of each sheet of paper. Once you have 2 paper tubes, slide one inside the other, staggering the overlapped side. So the top of the innermost tube will be next to the bottom of the outermost tube. From this point on fold the two sheets together as if they were one.