All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!
Like many home cooks heading into the holiday baking season, I am a fan of using silicone coated baking mats. Instead of greasing cookie sheets or lining them with parchment paper, I use the silicone mat. It’s reusable and versatile. In addition to keeping cookies and pastries from sticking to a pan, it’s also perfect for making melted sugar and chocolate embellishments for desserts — they pop right off when they have cooled — and as a pan liner when baking fish. I predominantly use half cookie sheets when baking (they fit in my dishwasher since they’re only 18″ x 13″), and the half-sheet silicone mat works exactly as I need it to.
Reader Mary Ann appears to be on the same page as I am in regard to the versatility of standard silicone mats. As a result, when she came across this week’s highly specialized item, she said she just “HAD to share” it with us. It’s called the Baker’s 13 baking mat, but I’m going to call it a unitasker:
To be fair, nothing is stopping a person from using this mat for other baking purposes. The cookie police likely wouldn’t hunt you down if you tossed a salmon down on it. However, the designers certainly intended for it to be used for cookies.
And — here’s my biggest issue with it and what makes it a unitasker — it doesn’t actually ensure that you’ll have perfectly shaped cookies like the product is advertised to do. From the product description: “Baker’s 13 Ultimate Baking Mats turn out perfectly-shaped cookies every time” But, all it actually ensures is that you evenly space cookies out on a sheet so they probably won’t bump into each other.
To have a perfectly shaped cookie, you would need to use a cookie cutter or bake the cookies in forms. But, this sheet assumes you are using the blob, spooned-out-dough method, which doesn’t make perfectly shaped cookies. Just because there is a perfectly round bullseye on this mat doesn’t mean your blobs of dough will grow to that perfectly round shape as they bake. Also, the mat doesn’t account for the height of your blob of dough, which is a key factor in determining the final size of the baked cookie more so than its pre-baked width. It also doesn’t account for dough consistency, as some cookie doughs spread more than others when heated. (The higher the fat content in the dough, the more they usually spread when cooking.) So, even if you perfectly blobbed your dough onto the smaller target, your cookie still might grow to be larger than the larger target and end up touching a neighboring cookie.
As a silicone mat, I’m sure it’s lovely and the inventors of the mat look like awesome guys and if you have issues with figuring out how to space cookies on a cookie sheet so they don’t run into each other this mat most likely could help you (but so would a multitasking ruler and an understanding of the fat content in your dough). Unfortunately, if you’re looking to buy it to make perfectly shaped cookies as it is advertised, this mat isn’t going to help you achieve that goal.