For the past six years, I have found that my most reliable kitchen spatulas are ones made of a rubberized material known as silicone. Just before the holidays, I purchased a baking pan, cupcake pan and a silicone cookie sheet liner known as a baking mat. With holiday baking on the horizon, this seemed like the perfect time to give these new pieces of cookware a test drive and report my findings back to you.
I’ve already written about what the experts have to say, both good and bad, about silicone cookware. However, experts don’t cook the way I do. They don’t, for example, run out of cookie sheets and use a spare baking pan to finish out a batch of cookie dough.
If you are guilty of cooking the way I do, then this review is probably for you.
When I got married, I was given three silicone spatulas, two rubber scrapers (non silicone) and a plastic spatula with a wide blade (the kind you would use to flip eggs and pancakes). My Silicone spatulas are probably the most used implements in my kitchen because they hold up to extreme heat better than the rubber spatulas.
Under high temperatures, the rubber scrapers and stirrers have melted. The plastic flipper spatula has also melted after an unfortunate incident involving an egg and a hot burner. But the silicone spatulas hold their shape and do not seem to melt no matter what I do to them.
Credit: Tracy S. MorrisThe baking mats were my second silicone bakeware purchase. Mine is a Wilton Easy Flex Silicone Mat. I bought it to line cookie sheets so that I would no longer have to grease them.
Although I’ve read an article in Consumer Reports that indicated in 2006 that cookies would stick to the mats and would not brown evenly, I have not found that is the case with my baking mats. Typically, I can let the cookies cool for a few minutes to give them a bit of stiffness and then slide them on a wire rack for cooling. Then I can put the cookie sheet away without cleaning it. Once I roll the sheet up tightly, I can store it in a drawer.
My one issue with the baking mat is that when I put it in the dish washer, it is so flexible and floppy that it does not stack. I tried to drape it over the rack, but the crevices that formed held water so that the mat did not dry well. Now I just sponge wash it and wipe it dry.
Baking Pans and Cupcake Pans
Credit: Tracy S. MorrisMy baking pan is a 9 inch square pan and my cupcake pan makes six regular sized cupcakes. Both pans are floppy and tend to sag in the middle. They also do not stack well in my cupboard with the rest of my baking pans.
When cooking with the bakeware in the oven, I put each piece on a cookie sheet before baking just to make sure that they do not sag when full of batter and that the finished product is not misshapen. This also helps to make sure that the product is cooked all the way through and browns evenly.
I did use that square pan to bake cookies, as I mentioned earlier. Because I was not dealing with a full pan of batter, I did not use the cookie sheet to stiffen the pan. When I pulled it out, I only grasped one side. My thought was that the pan would remain stiff enough not to dislodge the soft, warm cookies. Not so, unfortunately. The pan sagged and the cookies slid from the bottom and squished against one another. Fortunately, with cookies you can eat your mistakes.
Both pans are made by Kitchen Aid, and I have not had problems with sticking as reported by Consumer Reports. I simply wait until the cake or cupcake is completely cool before removing it.
I have more luck with washing my pans in the dish washer. However, the soap leaves a white residue, so I may resort to hand-washing these pans as well.
Overall, I enjoy using the spatula and the baking mat the most. These are the products that seem to make my life easier. I will continue to use the baking pan and the cupcake pan based on whether I find that it is easier to grease a metal pan or to clean a silicone pan.