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Silpat appreciation?

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Do you like using Silpats? Are they bad for X and only good for X? Would you rather just use parchment paper?

A few Christmases ago, I convinced my BF to buy a Silpat for his sister, who is an avid cookie baker. As a food enthusiast, I'd read about how great they were and seen them used quite frequently on TV. I thought it would be a perfect gift for her.

Come Christmas day, she opened her tube shaped gift and was very unenthusiastic. If I recall, her verbal response was something like, "Oh thanks, but I have really awesome cookie sheets." I've never asked her if she's used it.

I was a little miffed at her response because I see the utility in having a Silpat for baking cookies, crostatas, etc. (Is there even such thing as a "really awesome cookie sheet" that doesn't require any type of liner??)

Thoughts?

FWIW: I use a Silpat knockoff or unbleached, enviro-friendly parchment, and stainless steel half sheet pans. If I could afford additional Silpats I'd use them more often than parchment, but they're expensive.

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  1. I love my silpats. I use them for everything from baking bread to cooking meatballs. They're great for freezing things like fruit or dumplings, just bend the silpat and off comes the frozen food with only the silpat to clean.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zitronenmadchen

      That freezing idea is genius! I don't need or really want a Silpat for baking, but do frequently freeze individual items and have a hell of a time fitting my quarter-sheet pan into our little fridge freezer (only one we have).

    2. Don't have silpats but REALLY like lining pans with parchment. Wish there was something flexible to use in a bundt pan?!? No matter how prepared, something is bound to stick somewhere.

      1. I have a full sheet pan size one I use for rolling out dough and pastry. I love that thing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rasputina

          love mine, have two that are in constant rotation. When baking large batches of cookies I use parchment too

        2. Jacques PĂ©pin uses them all the time for baking and can't praise them highly enough. I've never bought one but I've thought about it.

          1. They are also great for roasting veggies as the caramelized drippings don't require a jackhammer and industrial strength chemicals for cleanup. The use to freeze items before vacuum packing is outstanding. I place one in a sheet pan and precool it in the freezer, quickly dump the food to freeze on it, and put it back in the freezer and it is close to the flash freezing that is done by the commercial outfits.

            2 Replies
            1. re: NVJims

              I've used mine for roasting vegetables four times in the past two weeks, plus twice when I made fortune cookies. Got mine this past Christmas as a gift from my sister and I love it! I prefer it to the Chef's Planet one I got a couple of years ago (it has served me well, but I like the heft of the Silpat better).

              1. re: NVJims

                Having just finished the jackhammering on my pan after roasting chicken for brown broth a few minutes ago (not exaggerating), I thank you very much for this tip! So completely genius!

              2. I think silpats are great, but if the sister has a longstanding workflow that produces good results and which she is happy with, then I do not think that it is entirely unreasonable of her to be unenthusiastic to change it, for better for for worse. Also, if her awesome cookie sheets are insulated, then the extra insulation from the silpats might be a bridge too far for her baking to cross.

                3 Replies
                1. re: khuzdul

                  She's not perhaps unreasonable to be unenthusiastic, but she's definitely rude for showing it.

                  1. re: ellabee

                    While the OP recommended the silpats, in the end it was a present from a brother to a sister. What level of expression of enthusiasm for a gift being rude or not depends on the family.

                    I don't know about their family, but in my family (between family members, not friends), while we express appreciation of any gift for the sake of it being a gift and the thought that went into choosing it, we are very honest with each other concerning our actual utility of said gift and don't consider it rude. Just as we freely exercise the use of gift receipts to exchange items for something of greater utility and let the gift giver know (so that they don't wonder what happened to the gift), which is also not considered rude between my family members.

                    1. re: khuzdul

                      I posted this because I was having a hard time understanding her rejection of the Silpat, given how utilitarian it is or could be. It's not a complete throw away gift if you're a cook or baker!

                      I suppose that if I flipped the scenario and I received something I didn't want or need, I'd feel similarly to her. AND I absolutely did when I was gifted a cake pop maker (Bella) and a popcorn popper (Cuisinart), as well as other weird single purpose cooking tools/gadgets.

                      The difference between she and I is that I pretend to like the gift. that's probably why I keep getting all kinds of crap!

                2. I love mine. In addition to the normal uses, I also put them underneath cookies when I'm decorating with icing (which is always a bit messy). The icing is easy to "peel" off once it's time to clean up. I feel guilty using up parchment paper for stuff like that, seems like a waste of paper. Also unless you buy the sheets of parchment paper, it's always hard to get them to stay flat.

                  1. I like silicon mats but I have not had the best luck with Silpats. Both of mine have unraveled in less than a year. My cheap ones last much longer.

                    However, my biggest use of them is baking pizzas at 500 degrees. 480 is the highest temperature allowed for a Silpat mat.

                    1. +1 for the cheapo silicon mats. I buy mine from the grocery store ($7.00) and they last a lifetime. No need to adjust any baking times, as is sometimes necessary with the thicker "SilPat Mats". They are cheap enough that I can cut
                      them to fit all the pans I have and they last forever. Hardly
                      ever buy parchment anymore for cake pans and other non
                      rectangular sizes.