Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Non-Stick Baking Mats

I'm not sure how many of you realize that silicone is making a big splash in the baking area in equipment.  There are muffin pans, baking dishes and hot pads or gloves now on the market made from silicone.  They work quite well too.
Silicone Mat

I don't have any of these items yet but I do have a couple of silicone non-stick baking mats.  These mats are worth their weight in gold in my opinion.  They are very versatile in use for both hot and cold needs.  Not to mention that they can really be of help in the clean up area.

The two mats that I have are of different sizes because I have pans of different sizes.  The mat I use the most is made for 13"x18" half sheet pans.  The other mat is for 11"x17" standard cookie pans.  Both mats are good up to 480 degrees in the oven and down to minus 40 in the freezer.  They can go from freezer straight to the oven but need to be cooled down before going from oven to freezer.  It would be too hard on the freezer and the other items in it.
Silicone Mat

It is recommended to use a little non-stick spray before using with some mats.  I don't do that with mine and maybe that is because they are more seasoned from use.  Never use scrapers or brushes to clean or cut on these mats.  Also never use a mat that has been cut or ripped as it could affect the food.  These mats are good in an oven, toaster oven or microwave.  I've never used one in a microwave and I'm not sure how well they would fit or what dish you would put it in.

They clean up easy with just soap and water but could be put in a dishwasher if needed.  They say to store flat after they are dry but I always roll mine up and put it back in it's container.  That hasn't hurt mine.

I am sure the first use one thinks of is for baking cookies but they can be used for so much more.  I use mine for cooking bacon in the oven (see sidebar below) because it makes clean up easy.  There is no scouring of the pan because the bacon stuck on in places.  I also freeze a lot of Jalapeno peppers whole throughout the gardening season for later use.  The mats keep these peppers from sticking to the pan.  They are terrific for use in freezing individual items.  Another item that comes to mind is chicken breasts.  I'll buy the value packs and then individually freeze the chicken breasts before bagging them.  It makes it so easy to take out just what you need for a meal and not have to hassle with the whole package.  Remember, you never know when unexpected guests will show up.

I hope this has helped you realize how handy these mats can be for you in the kitchen.  My favorite shopping sites Kohl'sFood Network and QVC sell these mats, so check them out.

Now the sidebar on cooking bacon in the oven.  It is quick, easy, less of a mess and opens up the stove top to other dishes.  Just place your bacon on the mat in the appropriate pan and place in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes.  The time depends on thickness of bacon, desired doneness for your bacon and your individual oven's true temperature.  Try it and you will never do bacon on top of your stove again.

Have a great week and don't forget the two dessert recipes Thursday and Friday this week.

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