Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tool: Silicon Cupcake Liners

Silicon bake ware has been the rage for years.  Professional bakers used Silpat mats in place of parchment as a reusable baking sheet liner.  They are terrific when you are constantly placing things (cookies, pastries, etc) on baking sheets and you need to line the sheet.  The Silpat mat became readily available for chefs about 20-25 years ago and 15 or so years ago for the average home cook.
In the last 5 years, individual silicon cupcake liners have flooded the markets, (with some higher quality, thicker, more decorative than others).
The premise was that you can re-use the liners for cupcakes, muffins, mini-quiches.  Some people were under the impression that they didn't require greasing or oiling-- not true.
But, the silicon liners were "green" in that paper liners or foil liners were not being disposed in the trash.  So, someone thought to make cupcake liners.
The idea is that you grease each liner (with oil, butter or cooking spray), place on a cookie sheet and bake- no need for a muffin pan.
However, the cupcake or muffin does require additional time to bake (as it is not surrounded by hot metal, but rather just circulated heat).  So, there is a small adjustment that has to be made with the silicon liners.
But, I bake muffins and cupcakes and give them away (to Robotics, tennis teams, friends, etc) I don't want to have to "collect" the liners, so this wouldn't work in these instances.
Also, I don't want to have to wash 24 cupcake liners (at home) when I can just toss the tiny paper liner.  I know that is pure laziness!  I know it isn't green.  But, honestly, life is too short for me to scrub them.
That being said, silicon cupcake liners (particularly the sturdy kind, made by Wilton) make marvelous containers for all sorts of things. I use them in bento boxes to separate the cookies from the salad.  I use them in drawers to hold paper clips, loose change and my hidden Skittle stash (I hope my kids aren't reading this).
Wilton also makes decorative liners, with feet, animal shapes, etc.  These would be adorable to make dolls or pincushions!  Oh, the wheels are spinning.

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