Thursday, January 7, 2010

Getting Away From Aerosol Cans

I've been doing some reading lately trying to figure out a way to reduce my consumption of cooking spray. In addition to being bad for the environment, I've been having "personal issues" with the cans lately. They keep leaking on me and making a mess when I spray. I've tried cleaning it off, storing it in a different area, but the results are the same. I think I must've grabbed a bad batch since I normally purchase 2 or 3 cans at time when they're on sale. Anyway, I only use cooking spray when baking or making waffles/pancakes. I almost exclusively use extra virgin olive oil for all my skillet cooking unless a recipe specifically calls for something else and it's my first time through. So here's what I considered and what I'm choosing.
  1. Cupcake liners -- Obviously these are for cupcakes or muffins, but I actually don't like them. I often replace the oil in a recipe with applesauce so unless I spray the liners, they will stick to the cake/muffin and the pretty factor is lost once the peeling begins. Of course, I could leave the oil in the recipe and on occasion I do, but I do try to make most of my baking healthy most of the time.
  2. Spray pump -- You can purchase these for around $10, but there are pricier ones. You fill them with the oil of your choice, pump with a air a few times to build up the pressure inside the container, and then spray as you would an aerosol can. This is my second option.
  3. Pan Release -- This is a recipe that combines oil, shortening and flour that you apply with a pastry brush to your pans and it makes releasing baked foods from the pans super easy. I like it because a) it's got *very consistent* high praise reviews; b) I have all the ingredients on hand so there's no extra money out on my part for the time being; c) I have a high heat tolerance silicone pastry brush that needs to be used more often; and d) because I'll have more control over where it goes in the pan, it'll stop me from dealing with the burnt blackened portions of my pans where the cooking spray has landed and gets baked on despite my best attempts to remove it (or just lessen it) with a paper towel. The biggest obvious downside to the pan release recipe is that it will add some marginal calories and fat to my cooking and it will add a couple minutes to my prep time. Seeing as how I eliminate the oil from most recipes, I don't think this will have a huge impact on our health and the time issue doesn't really bug me. What's 2 minutes for something that get rid of so many negatives?
I was excited to find this recipe and couldn't wait to share it with you. The recipe also has an option for making the pan release with cocoa powder instead of flour so that it can be used for chocolate cakes or darker baked goods without leaving any white residue behind.


  1. Consider parchment paper too ... it works nicely in the bottom of a cake pan.

  2. Good thought! I normally reserve it for my cookie baking.

  3. I've been using a Misto spray pump for over 7 years now and LOVE it. It occasionally needs to be pulled apart to de-gunk it, but it has worked well for me. :)

    I also have a Silpat reusable silicon sheet for cookie pans. That works really well to avoid sticking when I'm baking cookies.