These days, silicone baking mats are almost must-have in the kitchen.
Well, if you never cook or bake, you probably don't need one. But if you do bake cookies, make candies, or bake any sort of sticky, jammy, free-form breads, you might want a silicone baking mat.
You can also use it for cooking meat in the oven, instead of lining you pan with aluminum foil. Like when you're making fish sticks.
Ha. Fish stick might not be the best example, but if you're cooking something that's likely to stick or burn to an uncovered pan, a silicone mat will make cleanup a lot easier.
I still use parchment paper and aluminum foil for some things, and I lived without silicone mats for a long time. But now that I have them, I'm glad they exist.
The one use where I think silicon mats are nearly essential is for candy-making, because nothing sticks, and the silicone can take the heat from super-hot sugar.
If you're not using a silicone mat for making things like peanut brittle, you'd usually butter the baking sheet, and then you end up with peanut brittle with a greasy bottom. With the silicone mat, you don't need butter. The cooled candy lifts right off of the mat so you can break it into pieces.
I tested a baking mat from a company called BakeItFun and it performed as expected. No sticking, it cleaned up easily, and it fit into my baking pan like it was supposed to. What more can you ask for?
Well, there are two extra features on this mat that you might not find on other brands, First, there are the circles on the mat to indicate even spacing for 12 cookies (or other items). The second really neat thing is the measurements along the edges of the mat. I mean, seriously, how many times has a recipe told you to make 2" balls of cookie dough? Do you really pull out a tape measure or ruler? If you've got the mat out for baking, you can check the cookie size right there.
Those features probably aren't critical enough to make me throw out all my existing mats and replace them with these (and I'm pretty good about eyeballing even cookie placement, anyway), but if you're shopping around, you might was well compare features and prices.
This mat is available on Amazon, currently selling for $16.77, which is quite reasonable. I remember when silicone mats came out and they were almost an investment purchase. I loved them then, and now that they're more reasonably priced, I love them more.
While baking mats don't last forever, they do last a long, long time, as long as you remember not to cut on them or fold them violently - roll them for storage, or store them flat. I have mine hanging inside one of my kitchen cabinets, with a sturdy clip grabbing onto them.
Who's it for: People who bake or who make candy.
Pros: Easy cleanup, reusable. Measurements along the edges and marking for even placement of 12 items.
Cons: You have to remember not to cut on it, as that will damage it
Source: Received from manufacturer for myself and for the giveaway.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.