Muffins In A Melting Pan

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“I’m in the mood for blueberry muffins, Mom,” Kathie announced to me in mid-morning during a long weekend off school.
“I wasn’t sure that you would even eat blueberry muffins,” I told her.
“Last year, Mrs. Ferrand brought boxes of treats for us this one day. There were cream sticks, donuts, and all kinds of muffins – banana, blueberry, walnut, and something else. Some of my friends and I each took a different kind and we all tasted each other’s so we could try them all. I liked the banana and the blueberry the best.”
I thought of the boxes of baking mixes lined up on the pantry shelves in our damp basement that needed to be used. I usually forget about them (once we have sweets around, of course, we have to use them up), and I knew there was a blueberry muffin mix among them.
I found the mix and took my new, blue silicone muffin pan out of the box for the second time. Have you seen silicone bakeware? It’s hard to believe you can stick this rubbery stuff in a hot oven and not make a molten mess.
I first saw brightly colored oven mitts made of the stuff in a bed and bath store while Christmas shopping. Trying one on, it was hard to imagine holding a hot pan with a “rubber glove”. My cloth oven mitts are softer, but they are also discolored, and I know I don’t wash them as often as I should. You know how it is, you just barely brush the edge of melted cheese when you pull out the pizza pan, or bump a bit of tomato sauce on the glove. I usually just rinse out that part of the pot holder and hang it up. Silicone mitts could change all this.
Then, our local supermarket ran special deals on a line of silicone bakeware. I bit the first week and bought a muffin pan. It takes some adjustment with this flexible rubber stuff. I set the rubber “pan” on a cookie sheet to stabilize it on my oven rack. The first batch weren’t as brown on the bottom as I’m used to, but the batter was nicely done, and they came out well.
Just a little worried that I could spoil these blueberry muffins for Kathie, I was reassured by the leaflet I picked up that explains that the silicone is heat resistant to 446 degrees for oven or microwave use. I lightly rubbed each muffin cup with canola oil and plopped my precious batter around, filling them full to make large muffins.
I allowed more baking time than even the longest time the box suggested. The muffins were great. The outside stayed moist without a crusty layer that my muffins baked in tin sometimes have, and there was none of the too brown flavor from the edges either.
Cleanup seems a little weird, but simple. The light brown film of batter residue comes right off in warm soapy water, but it’s the feel of the pan that’s so different. It’s light and quiet, no banging on the sides of my sink; no rattling around piling it in the cupboard.
This new ware is not for everything, but I think it’s a great alternative that’s probably here to stay. I may even buy a second piece. It really doesn’t melt.

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