The judging criteria really came down to four features, in order of importance: nonstick ability, quality & features, warranty, and price.
- First batch (Cinnamon Bran) came out with three turns of the pan. Second and third batch (Choco-Nut Bran and Huckleberry Bran) came out after holding the pan upside down and shaking a bit. There was some residue on the pan which doesn't wipe away easily but washes off easily. This means that you need to wash the pan in between batches of muffins.
- This pan is beautiful and matte in appearance. It is heavy duty and very sturdy.
- Simply Calphalon's warranty is for 10 years, as long as you follow the company's use and care directions. I have filed a successful claim with Calphalon fry pans so I know that the company honors their guarantees.
- At $24.99 this a pretty pricey muffin pan.
- Nonstick ability: First batch (Cinnamon Bran) come out with one turn of the pan. Second and third batch (Choco-Nut and Huckleberry Bran) came out after holding the pan upside down and shaking a bit. There was some residue on the pan with all batches which wiped away easily. This means that you can quickly wipe the pan and continue baking another batch without having to hand wash in between batches.
- This pan is beautiful and shiny in appearance. It is very smooth though not as sturdy as the Simply Calphalon. It does have a dedicated holding lip for taking in and out of the oven easily.
- As long as you follow the company's use and care directions, this muffin pan falls under Circulon's lifetime guarantee. Though it is worth noting that "wear and tear" is one of the warranty's exclusions. Calphalon's warranty covers wear and tear so I would be wary that Circulon might claim that a muffin pan loosing its nonstick ability falls under "wear and tear". I called the Circulon company for more details on how long the nonstick feature is supposed to last and she said 15-20 years. But she also said that they evaluate claims on a case by case basis and that these claims need to have pictures as proof.
- At $14.99 this is a pretty reasonable price. And I have seen Circulon going on sale more frequently than Calphalon.
Right now I would recommend Circulon because it is more nonstick than Calphalon and you can simply wipe it between batches. It also has that grip lip on the side which is convenient. It is also way cheaper than Calphalon.
However, this recommendation is done with reservations because I do not know how this Circulon muffin pan will hold up over time (it seems a little less durable than the Calphalon pan) and I have fears that Circulon would find a loop-hole to their warranty if I ever need to file a claim. But here's to hopeful optimism and a fatter wallet!
Note: These two different brands of pans do not nest together, so you probably want to choose two of the same brand so that you can nest them together for better storage. Also, I did not end up purchasing either of these, but I do think that Wilton and Farberware brands have muffin pans that look like they would really deliver on the nonstick feature.
What about you? Do you have a great nonstick muffin pan that you just love? Please comment below.
Bonus Recipe: Here's a image from the back of Hodgson's Bran, which is my favorite muffin recipe. I do all kinds of add-ons with it; sprinkled spiced sugar, grated apples, berries, chocolate, etc. I usually double it and store the extra batch in the fridge for quick future muffins.