I don’t usually endorse specific brands or name-brand products, but I have to give it to the Silpat.
SKIP THE GREASE
Invented by French chemist Guy Demarle and popularized in the ‘90s, these nifty little non-stick silicone mats are a baker’s best friend. You can skip the grease and throw them on top of a cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan, and use them in place of parchment paper. All of those headache-inducing sticky messes you get with wet batters, candies, and even melted cheese are literally wiped out by the almighty Silpat.
PUMP UP THE HEAT
They give you beautiful, uniformly-baked goodies every time by distributing heat evenly and can withstand crazy temperatures, up to more than 480˚F. They do provide a bit more insulation, so sometimes you need to add an extra minute or two to your cook time.
Easy to clean, reusable and eco-friendly, they’re longer lasting and more durable than your average sheet pan, making them well worth the $20 investment. They also make a smaller size that fits snugly in your toaster oven and some other shapes and sizes.
While you can’t cut on a Silpat, they claim to have over 2,000 uses. You can use them to knead dough, roll sushi, and bake pork chops or delicate appetizers; in place of a pizza stone and in the freezer. The same company makes another mat with a non-slip grip, called the Roul’Pat, for rolling out dough.
Earlier this week, we made some candied almonds on the Silpat that peeled away so gracefully and easily I vowed to never use anything else.
Just the other day, I used it to roll out and dehydrate the paste for my ancho chile dry rub and was equally impressed. It doesn’t get too hot itself, so I had it out of the oven, stripped, and wiped clean in minutes. At the risk of sounding like a commercial (too late?), these things are where it’s at, especially if you’re a heavy parchment user. Just think of all the trees you’ll save!
Pastry chef not included.