How do I love thee, Silpat? Let me count the ways.

If anything Made in France for baking doesn’t get you good, the functionality of a Silpat will. Silpat is a thin, flexible mat that is a 100% reliable nonstick surface, perfectly sized and reusable for a lifetime. Just lay the Silpat into the pan, and you’re ready to roll. Keep the Silpat clean with the wipe of a damp sponge, and that’s it.

Constructed of food-grade woven silicone and fiberglass mesh, Silpat withstands high heat for baking and candy-making.

I use the Silpat primarily for making certain types of pastry and candies, or the fruit leather (yes!) we’re making this week.

Parchment paper has always been a good nonstick friend, and it’s a workhorse we can’t do without. The Silpat, though, is even better for fruit leathers and candy-making for its remarkable ability to take the high temps of boiled sugar, and then to release the finished treat, giving you more body to work with than parchment’s thin paper surface. There is also an insulation component that encourages even baking, but that also means the mats do not work on insulated baking sheets.

At Tante Marie’s, we were forever being scolded for the slashed Silpats that seemed to appear with some frequency. Resist the urge to fold the floppy mat, or to cut anything on a Silpat, because for all of its flexibility and durability, fold or put a knife’s edge anywhere near it and you’re all done. Store your Silpat flat or rolled up.

Silpat is made in France by Sasa Demarle Inc. (read about the company’s eco-friendly commitment and history which includes a devoted and longstanding professional following). The mats will put you out about $25, but they give back for a lifetime. I have just one, and though I’d love another, for now the one does enough to keep me happy. Sometime I’d like to try the Silpain for bread baking and the Roul’pat for rolling doughs on the countertop. Find Silpat and a few other silicone mat brands (none of which I’ve tried, staying true to the original) here, here, and here.

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