Ever since I’ve had my baking racks I’ve gone back an forth between using parchment paper and silicone mats. They each have their pros and cons. Usually, I choose one or the other depending on my mood, but I always wonder if my results would have been better had I made a different choice. So when I baked my last batch of cookies I did a side by side comparison. Two Sun Ovens, two sets of baking racks, one lined with parchment the other with mats, and a nice sunny day. These are my findings. Parchment pros: it can be cut to size each time making it a better choice for round cakes; clean up couldn’t be easier, you just toss it. Cons: it has to be cut to size each time; for the frequent baker the cost would add up over time; it feels wasteful. Silicone mat pros: It seems like they last forever, all my silicone bakeware looks as new as the day I bought it; they’re very easy to clean. Cons: initial cost is higher; some brands (silpat) cannot be cut so you’ll need different sizes; as easy as they are to clean, they are hard to dry (I know, sounds weird but trust me on this one). As for the cookies, the ones baked on the parchment browned a tiny bit better than the others, but not enough to really notice. Once the cookies had cooled and were put away it was impossible to tell the difference. In the end, both work equally well. I will keep my kitchen stocked with both and continue to use my scientific mood based choosing system.
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I live on a fixed income and no longer have to use electricity to cook. In the summer the house stays cool.