Tag Archives: what-is

What are Meyer lemons?

Meyer lemon slices

Meyer lemons get more popular every year, and what was a relatively unknown fruit just a few years ago can now be found on restaurant menus, in mainstream supermarkets and food/home magazines. Meyer lemons aren’t lemons; they’re actually a hybrid between a mandarin orange and a lemon. The cross was originally developed in China, where both types of citrus fruit occur naturally. The fruit was ... Read More »

What is meringue powder?

Meringue powder

Meringue powder is an ingredient that you won’t see called for in recipes very often, but you will see if you browse the aisles of a baking supply store or a craft store with a cake decorating section. It also shows up on the ingredient lists of some packaged frostings and icing mixes.  Meringue powder is a fine white powder made primarily from dried egg ... Read More »

What is gluten?

homemade baguette

The word “gluten” is probably so well know these days because we are all so much more aware of people with gluten intolerances and products that are gluten free. Of course, this doesn’t really describe what gluten is. Gluten is protein in wheat flour and some other cereal grains. Gluten is elastic, and when combined with water, the proteins first come together in long strings. ... Read More »

What is pastry flour?

KA pastry flour

Cake flour, all purpose flour and bread flour are the three types of flour that you’ll most often see when reading through recipes. Once in a while, you might notice a wild card and see that a recipe calls for pastry flour, instead. Pastry flour is a high-starch and low-protein flour. It falls somewhere between the (average) 8% protein content of cake flour and the ... Read More »

What are cacao nibs?

cacao nibs

Dark chocolate bar with cacao nibs. Milk chocolate bar with cacao nibs. Chocolate covered cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are turning up in more and more places, but with little explanation as to what they are because they are almost always an add-in to some other product. Cacao nibs are basically raw chocolate, pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted, hulled and prepped to the ... Read More »

What is a ramekin?

ramekins

Ramekins are one of the few baking dishes that actually have their own name, setting them apart from generic sounding “cake pans” and “baking dishes.” Ramekins are small, cylindrical dishes that are used for baking individually-sized dishes. They are ideal for baking small souffles, as their straight sides make it easy for an egg white-based souffle mixture to rise up the sides of the dish ... 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 »

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