Silpat of My Dreams

Home cooks, do yourself a favor: buy a silpat. Seriously. Most of the things that make a restaurant kitchen better than a home kitchen are things that just can't be replicated: a deep fat fryer, a cleaning staff, a professional dishwasher (the person, not the machine), infinite quantities of plates, bulk ingredients. But a silpat is one of those bits of restaurant kitchen equipment that you can buy and it'll make your life so much easier.

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What's a silpat? It's a flat, flexible piece of silicon with glass threads suspended in it so that it won't melt at high temperatures. That's it. They're priced between $13 and $24 and while that's expensive for what's basically a flat slab of wobbly stuff, they last a long, long time. What do they do? They're a non-stick baking surface. That doesn't sound like much, but think about it: you'll almost never have to line a pan with parchment paper again, you'll never have to grease a baking tray, you'll never have to pry cookies off a sheet pan leaving half of them behind, you can make caramel popcorn without gunking up a tray, you can spread thin layers of sauce and dehydrate them then peel them right up. In short, your stuff will never stick to other stuff in the oven again.

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When you're done with your silpat? Throw it in the dishwasher and you're good to go. We use tons of them at the restaurant (you can see Danielle using one to make the tomato paper for our tomato cake in "Vegetables: Friend or Foe?") and they're worth it if you bake. While there are lots of off-brand versions of the silpat, and plenty of people sell equivalent products, the inventor of the original technology founded a company called Sasa Demarle in France and that's all they make: silpats. Once you try one, you can never go back.