If you've ever had to toss a batch of chocolate chip cookies in the trash because the bottoms got a little too dark, you'll want to keep reading. From flaky biscuits to scones to cookies to toasted nuts in the oven – anything you need to bake on a jellyroll pan has the potential to overbake on the bottom.
There's one product, however, that's made a world of difference in my kitchen: a silicone baking mat. As this isn't a common item for many home cooks, I didn't realize its baking powers until I ended up with one by accident. A friend was packing up her kitchen, and asked if there was anything I'd like to keep. I walked away with a couple of sheet pans stacked together; a few weeks later, I found the mat nestled in-between them.
Aside from my cookies turning out perfectly in an oven with wonky heat, one great reason that the siliicone baking mat deserves a spot in your kitchen is that you'll no longer need to grease, spray, butter, line, or foil your pan when you're cooking. Food can be baked directly on the mat, and you'd be shocked to see how easily burnt bits slide off when you're cleaning.
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Now, you won't find me cooking on a sheet pan without a silicone baking mat, and my favorite – by far – is the Silpat. Silpat pioneeered the technology of baking mats in France and was the first product of its kind back in 1965. The material used in the mats is fiberglass mesh with a silicone coating; everything is food-grade certified and made from raw materials. Logistics aside, these silicone mats are unlike any other you've baked with. They can withstand temperatures from -40˚F to 480˚F, and each Silpat is guaranteed for 3,000 bakes. That's a whole lot of biscuits.
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A silicone mat is a great kitchen gift for a bridal shower, or it's a $30 not-so-splurge for your own kitchen. Beyond baking, you can use the mat for roasting meat (spatchcock chicken, anyone?) or fish and preparing savory items. If these reasons haven't swayed you, how about the fact that you'll no longer be scrubbing baked-on food off of greasy sheet pans?
Silicone mats come in all shapes and sizes, so you'll be able to find one for all of your baking ventures. The mats come in full and half-size sheets, petite jelly roll, macaron mats, and cake circles. No more measuring and cutting parchment for your cake layers – and no more messy clean-up.