There's something really lovely about baked goods that are perfectly shaped, portioned, and decorated—if you ask me, they're the only kinds of treats worth gifting. That's where my silicone Wilton Brownie Bites Mold ($9.95 at Sur La Table)—which, ironically, has never been used to make brownies—comes into play, .
Any serious baker can extol the virtues of silicone anything in the kitchen—it can do anything and go anywhere, and I'm a fan of putting that to good use. Want bite-size ice cream sandwiches to round out your holiday dinner? Pour the cookie dough into the mold, and while the outside layers are on cooling racks, press ice cream into the exact same shape. You'll end up with the most adorable, picture perfect square sammies you've ever seen.
Want something even easier? Make individual pieces of peppermint bark for less than half the price of what you'd get in any gourmet food shop.
Simply melt white chocolate and stir in peppermint extract to taste. Pour the mix into the squares in a thin layer and refrigerate while melting dark chocolate. Add some more peppermint extract to that, and pour it over the white chocolate. Tap the tray to burst any little bubbles, and sprinkle with crushed candy cane. Voilà! The possibilities go on and on.
To be fair, this isn't the only silicone tray that'll get the job done, but I'm a fan of the versatile square shape and trustworthy brand. Should you chose another maker, make sure the silicone is food-grade—this is standard for all bakeware, but things like silicone ice cube trays (which often come in cute shapes) often aren't made to live through oven cycles.