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Silicon versus metal for baking?

Silicon Muffin Cups versus Muffin Tins...

I'm hearing from a lot of people that the silicon muffin cups don't work well for baking. I just got some as a gift and would like to use them. I love the shape. Does anyone have any recipes that work. Cold appetizers, desserts--anything? http://thesavvyconsumer.blogspot.com

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  1. I bought a silicone madeleine mold - the first silicone bakeware I ever owned. I'm not happy with it. Sure, none of the cakes stuck, but they were so colorless. And I'm not sure there's anything to do that will make them brown the way metal pans would. Any recipe should work fine for your muffins, so far as just cooking the baked goods through. And the baked goods will likely taste fine. I am just not in love with the pale color of the finished product. Would love to hear of tricks to perk up the color.

    1. I also bought a couple of silicon muffin "tins" - Kitchenaid brand mini and regular size and hate them for baking. First, they give a slightly strange flavor. I don't have this problem with my Silpat brand silpat, but do with the Kitchenaid, especially the baking pans. I also find that things do stick to them, alhtough you can turn them inside out to put in the dishwasher. Anyway, I cook a lot of relatively low fat muffins that are also gluten-free for my son who has Celiac disease and had high hopes for easier clean-up but it didn't pan out. Didn't brown, didn't pop out any easier, and they were a weird shallow shape. The good news is that they do work well for freezing tomato sauce, buttermilk, etc. into individual portions!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jsaimd

        I'm still looking for someone who likes the silicon--but have yet to find anyone. I'll try them for freezing. I do find the clean-up with my cups very easy--I spray them first with pam. My cups are from Crate and Barrel and are pictured in the original post. Maybe some cups are better than others.

      2. Metal 100%. Silicon is terrible.

        1. Sorry carole, silicone not good for baking. Made investment in muffin pans, cake pans & bundt pans all in one swoop. BIG MISTAKE. Planning to get rid of silicone items in our annual spring block garage sale. Worthless!

          1. I use my silicone baking cups for freezing stock, and as mis en place cups when I have a lot of chopping. They were a gift, so no love lost, but they do suck for baking as the others have mentioned.

            2 Replies
            1. re: corgette

              Corgette, great tip. I was just going to put them in the next library rummage sale. Guess I'll repurpose them now.

              1. re: Pampatz

                I'll also say that they make great dividers for tupperware containers. I have a somewhat shallow lunch box I take to school and work, and the individual cupcake liners make great holders of peanuts, grapes, dips, etc., that can go rolling all over the place. As Kelli2006 mentions, they make for great molded desserts. I got a little kitschy with jello cupcakes once, to great effect.

            2. I only like silicone for molding desserts to be chilled or plated. They are occasionally acceptable for baking custards, but I still prefer glass or heavy aluminum pans.

              edit; Corqette. I never considered using them for M-e-P or freezing stock. Thanks for the tip.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kelli2006

                Guess I'm the odd one here. I absolutely love my silicone and almost use it exclusively when baking. My things brown well and clean up is a snap.

              2. So far the vote is nine against...one pro for silicon baking cups. I'm still in the middle--I don't hate them --I get a little browning. I still wonder if brand, shape or recipes play any part. In the meantime, we've been getting some great alternative ideas--so it looks like we can keep them even if we don't bake in them.

                1. Silicon muffin pan and an 8"X8" pan were the worst waste of money ever! Can't help with any recipes that work because they just don't exist. I finally put the ones I had in a yard sale. About the only great silicon thing I DO like is 2 Silpat baking mats; they're great for cookies and Scones and I do a ton of baking every week.

                  1. Carole, I have heard the same thing about silicone. I am not sure why these newfangled pans continue to be brought to market when the old ones works fine.

                    If you're looking for a great muffin pan, the 12-cup pan from the Chicago Metallic Commercial line (www.cooking.com) makes the most beautiful, peaked browned muffins ever. (Avoid confusing the 'Commercial' line with their 'Professional' line, which is a different product.) These pans are heavy aluminum, they have a great shape, and they're inexpensive. Brush them with softened butter, being sure to get in the crevices and onto the flat part where the muffin caps will form. After baking, let the muffins sit for 10 minutes before removal. They won't stick.

                    Another tip to prevent sticking: a baker friend of mine recommends pre-baking the pans before you use them the first time. Wash and dry the pans, then put them in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. I am not sure if there is any science behind this technique, but it works great for me.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Cafe Mich

                      One thing I forgot to mention. If you have a silicone cake pan, it's the absolute best for making marshmallows. They pop right out and no sticking.

                      1. re: Hanky

                        This is a GREAT tip - thank you! :)

                        1. re: Hanky

                          I bought the silicone molds for my marshmallows and they stuck. How did you prepare your pan? would appreciate any helpful tips.

                      2. i was given two silicone cake pans for a gift, and have yet to use them. i'm assuming you have to put yet another metal pan underneath them or otherwise how do you get them into the oven? I can see using them for frozen dishes or maybe a pour in and set sort of thing.

                        Plus there's something about putting something rubbery, yet doesn't melt, into my oven that bothers me.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: im_nomad

                          Mine came with a wire frame to hold the pan. Otherwise you can just set them on a cookie sheet.

                        2. I just read through most of these postings and it seems you all have not been introduced to the world of Demarle. They are the manufacturers of a large line of flexible bakeware. It is made of food grade silicone and woven glass. It does not require the use of any oil or cooking spray and it unmolds perfectly every time. The woven glass gives an even browning that you will not get with silicone. These products can be used in the oven, microwave or freezer! They are available through direct marketing (home parties) or online. The website is www.demarleathome.com. Check it out and you won't be sorry you did. I will NEVER go back to baking with metal.

                          1. I've expounded on the virtues of my silicone muffin pans but I have to say... today they totally let me down. I made mini brownies and I don't know what I did wrong but they came out beautifully on top, pulled one out of the pan and they were burnt to a crisp (think black and shiny) on the bottoms. Ruined 36 mini brownies :(

                            1. We switched to silicone muffin pans when the non-stick coating on the old muffin pans began coming off. It takes longer for things bake in them. I'm not thrilled but will continue to use them. I have a history of metal toxicity (mercury and arsenic) and family history of Alzheimer's so trying to get away from using aluminum. I did see stoneware muffin pans after we got the silicone ones. Anyone have experience with those? We have a terra cotta bread pan we like. I'd also like to get rid of the aluminum baking sheets but haven't found a good replacement. I should use parchment on them until I find a better alternative.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: lgss

                                Have you ever used a silpat? They are awesome for anything you would want to bake from cookies, to chicken to fish to veggies. I even love frozen french fries done on the silpat. They get crisp all the way around without having to turn them. Parchment paper is ok but it get expensive to keep throwing it away.

                                1. re: tahopp

                                  We have a small silpat, about half the size of a baking sheet, so one can only put about half a batch of cookies on it but probably big enough for a scone. Maybe we need one the size of the baking sheet.