Tag Archives: what-is

What is shaved ice?

Shaved ice is not the same as the icy, frozen-solid “snow cones” that you bought from the ice cream truck as a kid. Shaved ice is made by shaving or grating solid blocks of ice into a fluffy, snow-like consistency. The freshly shaved ice is packed down into place – again, like fresh snow – and drizzled with sweet syrups for flavor. The difference between ... Read More »

What are Rainier Cherries?

Ranier Cherries

Rainier cherries are a unique type of cherry from Washington state that have a distinctive yellow skin with a pink or red blush to it. They’re a hybrid between two other types of cherries – Bing and Van cherries – and have been around since the 1960s. These cherries are a favorite with many cherry lovers because they are super-sweet, much sweeter than other cherry ... Read More »

What is pastry cream?

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Pastry cream, or crème patissière, is a staple that every baker should know how to make. Pastry cream is a thick custard that can be used as a filling for any number of cakes, tarts or pastries. It is made with milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch (or a mixture of flour and cornstarch) and flavoring. Vanilla is the most popular flavor for pastry cream, but the ... Read More »

What is coconut oil?

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a type of vegetable oil made from pressing the natural oil out of coconut meat. It can be used for a wide variety of culinary uses, including cooking and baking. It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor to it but when used in conjunction with other ingredients, you are unlikely to taste it. It is not an ideal frying oil because ... Read More »

What is Bourbon Vanilla?

Rodelle Bourbon Vanilla

Vanilla is one of the most important flavors in baking and we use both vanilla beans and vanilla extract in our recipes. When you see vanilla in the store, you probably notice that there are quite a few types of vanilla available. Sometimes, you’ll simply see plain old vanilla, but there is also Tahitian, Mexican and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla is the most ... Read More »

What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?

Baking Soda and Baking Powder

Baking power and baking soda are both chemical leaveners that are commonly used in baked goods, from quick breads to cakes, to help the products rise and lighten their texture. Both chemical leaveners do this by releasing carbon dioxide into the baking process. Although they both can achieve the same end result, the two leaveners are not the same and they can produce slightly different ... Read More »

What is carob?

Carob Powder

Carob is a power made from the carob pod and is commonly used as a substitute for chocolate. Carob pods are dried and the pulp of the plant is roasted and ground into powder, which can be used in baking or to make carob chips, which are an alternative to chocolate chips. Carob is not as bitter as cocoa, although it has some background flavors ... Read More »

What is semisweet chocolate?

Semisweet chocolate chips

Semisweet chocolate chips are a standard ingredient in most bakers’ kitchens. They are the standard for baking chocolate chip cookies, one of the most popular homemade treats out there, as well as for many other baking applications. Semisweet chocolate is typically labeled as just that: semisweet chocolate. But as chocolate labeling gets more and more specific and consumers start to identify with cacao percentages rather ... Read More »

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