Category Archives: Ingredients

What is a banana split?

Banana Split

A banana split is the quintessential soda fountain sundae and probably the best thing that you can do with ice cream. They were first introduced in the early 1900s, when bananas were still a relatively new and exotic fruit for Americans. The original recipe calls for a split banana (hence the name) to be topped with three scoops of ice cream, topped with chocolate syrup, ... Read More »

What is baking powder?

Baking Powder

Baking powder is a chemical leavening agent that causes baked goods to rise by releasing bubbles of carbon dioxide gas into a batter or dough. It is double acting, meaning that it acts once when moisture is added and again when heat is applied. This allows baking powder to give an extra lift to baked goods that contain it. Baking powder is actually made with ... Read More »

What is ganache?

Bowl o' chocolate

Ganache is a word that gets tossed around a lot in cookbooks and on dessert menus, and while it is easy to figure out that it has something to do with chocolate, what makes this particular kind of chocolate a ganache is often a little less clear. Ganache is a mixture of melted chocolate and cream that can be used as a glaze for pastries ... Read More »

What is cornstarch?

Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a fine, powdery starch that is made out of corn. The cornstarch is actually made from the endosperm of the corn, which makes up most of the kernels that we eat when enjoying popcorn or corn on the cob. Cornstarch, also sometimes called cornflour, is produced by grinding, washing and drying the endosperm of the corn until it reaches that fine, powdery state. ... Read More »

What is panna cotta?

Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is a dessert that shows up on restaurant menus a lot more than it does in home kitchens, but the simple dish is one that is very easy to make at home. Panna cotta, or “cooked cream” in Italian, is a dessert that consists of a lightly sweetened cream mixture that is set with a small amount of gelatin. The gelatin allows the ... Read More »

What is guava paste?

Guava Paste

Guava paste is an ingredient that pops up in many Cuban, Caribbean and South American recipes, and seems to be popping up more often in markets in the US. This specialty ingredient, also known as goiabada or pasta de guayaba, is basically candied guava puree. It is made by cooking together guava fruit and sugar until it is very, very thick and then leaving the ... Read More »

What is coconut milk?

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is an ingredient that is frequently called for in Thai and other Southeast Asian cooking, and also frequently pops up in recipes for baked goods, particularly in recipes that are showcasing coconut in some form. You might think that coconut milk is simply the liquid inside of a coconut, but it is actually made by making a puree of equal parts water and ... Read More »

What is matzo meal?

Matzo and Matzo meal

Around the Jewish holiday of Passover, supermarkets start to fill their shelves with matzo and matzo meal alongside piles of egg-shaped Easter chocolates. While all foods eaten during passover are supposed to be kosher-for-passover, the most famous passover food is matzo (or matzah). Matzo is an unleavened cracker-like bread that is traditionally eaten at Passover. It is made with flour and water, and it is ... Read More »

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