Category Archives: Ingredients

What is Greek yogurt?

Greek Yogurt

Yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk can all be lumped into the same category when it comes to baking. They’re all dairy products that help to tenderize baked goods and can be a bit on the tangy side. At least, plain yogurt can be a bit on the tangy side. For years, it seemed like the only way you could buy yogurt was pumped full of ... Read More »

What is lemon verbena?

Lemon verbena

Turn the pages of almost any cooking magazine and you’re likely to come across an ingredient that sounds both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time: lemon verbena. Granted, it might not be in every issue of every magazine, but it has gone from an uncommon ingredient to one that even very mainstream magazines (versus smaller circulation specialty mags) don’t hesitate to include. Lemon verbena ... Read More »

How to pour honey and other sticky things

Pouring honey

Honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave syrup and other similarly thick, sticky and sweet liquids can be great to bake with. They all add moisture and lots of subtle flavors to a baked good, moreso than you can get with sugar alone. Unfortunately, they’re not all that easy to work with because it’s hard to measure them – or more accurately, it’s hard to get the ... Read More »

How to peel fruit

peeling an apple

There are many types of fruit and sometimes it seems like there are almost as many ways to peel them. Bananas, oranges and grapefruits, for instance, are all very self-explanatory fruits that require little more than a tug at the skin to remove it. Other fruits pose more of a challenge. If you’re just going to eat a piece of fruit, the skin might not ... Read More »

What is masa harina?

masa harina

When a recipe calls for cornmeal, it is usually referring to a slightly coarse and sandy flour made from ground, dried corn. It’s perfect for cornbread (for instance) and is widely used in other types of cooking, but in Mexico, Central and South America, this coarse type of cornmeal is not popular and a different type is used: masa harina. Masa harina is a very ... Read More »

What is fondant?

The term “fondant” can refer to a couple of different things. In many British cookbooks, for instance, a soft-centered chocolate cake is called “chocolate fondant.” The term primarily refers to a cooked mixture of sugar, water and cream of tartar that can be used either as a candy filling or as a frosting for a cake. Fondant is made by boiling sugar and water to ... Read More »

What is cream of tartar?

cream of tartar

Cream of tartar, more technically known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, is a fine white powder with many culinary applications. It is a byproduct of the winemaking process as the powder forms inside wine barrels during fermentation. It comes from tartaric acid, a naturally occurring substance in grapes and some other tart fruits that in the principle acid in winemaking. It helps to help control the ... Read More »

What is wondra flour?

Wondra flour is an ingredient sometimes called for in baking recipes, mostly in some pie crust and tart crust recipes that promise a flaky and tender crust. It is actually a brand name for a type of instant flour and, because the brand is so widespread, the name Wondra tends to be used in recipes. Instant flour is low protein, finely ground flour that has ... Read More »

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