When it comes to at-home baking, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to sift (pun intended) through the endless tools, accessories, and equipment that promise you perfect cakes and cookies every time.
A lot of baking recipes call for lining your pan with parchment paper to keep your goodies from sticking, but another option is using a reusable non-stick baking mat made of food-safe silicone blended with fiberglass mesh (the most well-known brand is Silpat). But is buying one of these baking mats worth shelling out between $20-$25? One of our audience members posed this question to someone who'd definitely know: Buddy Valastro, the baking maestro behind Carlos' Bakery and TLC's "Cake Boss."
Q: Should I use Silpat or parchment paper for baking?
A: Basically, the answer comes down to how much space you have in your and what kind of recipe you're making.
According to Buddy, one of the main benefits of a non-stick baking mat like Silpat is its reusability. But in terms of effectiveness during the baking process, "parchment paper is fine" for most baked goods like cookies and cakes.
Rachael agrees with Buddy, adding that it's important to consider the kitchen space you have to work with.
"If you have a tiny apartment….I don't want a bunch of Silpats in my drawer." she says. "Paper's fine. I like the parchment, and you can use it for everything, both savory cooking and baking."
If you want to branch out to candy-making, though, Buddy recommends picking up a baking mat, as melted sugar can fuse to parchment paper (translation: really tricky to peel off).
Long story short, if you're just looking to make a few batches of chocolate-chip cookies, it might not be worth spending twenty bucks on a special baking mat.
"Just go with the paper," he says.
Sounds good to us!