I’m back in the habit of cooking at home again! It’s good news for my budget, and also for my health. Perhaps not so good for my health is that lately I’m interested in baking again as well.
A close friend of mine is an excellent baker, and her specialty is cookies. Several years ago after telling her what a miserable mess I make of baked goods, she gave me a step-by-step refresher on making cookies, and here’s what I learned: you have to follow the recipe. Shocking, right? You have to measure the ingredients accurately, follow the steps in order – in other words, you can’t wing it. And that’s how I cook, so though it wasn’t rocket science, it was a lesson I needed to learn.
Since re-discovering my interest in baking, I’ve noticed another useful nugget: the proper tools really seem to matter here. Baking is quicker, easier, and cleaner if you have good tools. So when my girlfriend with all of the baking expertise recommended I try Silpat sheets, I bought them. Sort of.
What I actually bought were these: Kitzini Silicone Non-Stick Baking Mats.
These are just like Silpat non-stick baking sheets, but better, in that they cost roughly half of the Silpat brand. The Kitzini sheets are half-sheet size, and with their rounded edges, they fit perfectly into half-sheet baking pans like this: Nordic Ware Aluminum Baker’s Half Sheet
I really never thought I’d get so geeked out about bakeware, but I’ve got to say, these are the best. If you’ve never seen Silpat sheets for yourself, they are soft, totally flexible sheets of silicone which lay flat in the bottom of your half sheet pan. There is no need to grease these at all, even if the recipe calls for it – you simply put your cookie dough on the sheet and bake as normal. My Kitzini sheets came out of the oven looking like this when I made Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies last week. (Awesome recipe, by the way.)
After baking your cookies, allow them to cool for 4-5 minutes on the silicone sheets. Then, you can lift them off effortlessly with a nonstick spatula or even your fingers. Truly, they’re magical. They wash right up in soapy water and air dry. And the half sheet pans themselves stay perfectly clean.
By the way, the half sheet pans are great to have in your cooking arsenal, even if you don’t use them for cookies. They’re terrific for roasting veggies, chicken, or fish, and way back in the day, I used them to make rolled pumpkin cream cheese cakes at Christmas. (Can you believe I ever did that? Rolled cakes are tricky!) So they’re a good investment.
If you bake cookies, you really need to try these Kitzini sheets!