Is it a spatula or is it a flipper? Both names are right but it can get confusing. To remove cookies from a baking sheet you need a good spatula. It can be made from metal, usually aluminum, plastic or silicone and it is an essential kitchen tool, especially for bakers.
First, let’s try and clarify the name and cut through some of the confusion that people have when you say the word spatula. Spatula is used to describe both a scraper and a flipper. Each serves a separate purpose in the kitchen, but over the years both have been called spatulas and the name has stuck. For baking cookies, we are referring to a flipper, or turner, when we say spatula. It serves one purpose, and that is to safely remove your cookies from the baking sheet.
Different Types Of Spatulas
Like most kitchen tools, spatulas have different types and are made from a variety of materials. Most spatulas that are flippers will have a long handle with a rubberized or silicone grip. The scoop at the end is flat and the point of it will taper to a very narrow edge. This edge is designed to get underneath the food and flip it or, in the case of baking cookies, remove it from the sheet. There is a bend in the handle of about 30 degrees, just before the shaft reaches the scoop. This is to allow easy flipping or removing of foods.
Typically, a spatula will be made with one of two materials. Metal spatulas have been around forever. They are lightweight, durable and last forever. Metal doesn’t do well in a dishwasher, so hand washing is the best way to clean them.
Silicone is the other common material for spatulas. It is also lightweight and durable, and has the advantage of being dishwasher friendly. Silicone always was black in color when first introduced, but it now can be produced in just about any color imaginable.
Both materials have drawbacks. Metal will scratch non-stick baking sheets, rendering them unusable. Silicone can tear and dent, sometimes leaving the edge of the scoop blunted. This can lead to cookies that are torn when they are being removed from the cookie sheet.
Spatulas Can Be Made From Other Materials
Other materials are used in making spatulas. Plastic is quite common and tends to be cheaper in price than other materials. Plastic is very easy to clean up and is quite lightweight. It’s not a durable as silicone or metal but it does a good job. Ceramic is becoming popular as a material for all sorts of kitchen tools. While being a little heavier can be an issue, it is also very durable.
A good baker always has an assortment of spatulas on hand when baking. These kitchen tools work great when baking cookies but are also excellent when it comes to most types of cooking.