Tag Archives: what-is

What is a slice and bake cookie?

Slice and Bake Cookie Dough

Slice and bake cookies are a type of cookie that is formed into a log that you can cut into individual rounds and place on the baking sheet, as opposed to “drop cookies” that are hand shaped and dropped into small mounds on the baking sheet before baking. The term “slice and bake” is often applied to the ready made logs of dough that you ... 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 tunneling?

Tunneling in a muffin

In baking, the term “tunneling” refers to tunnels and very large air pockets that form inside of muffins and quick breads as a result of overmixing a batter. The muffin pictured above gives you an idea of what tunneling looks like. Generally, you want muffins, cakes and cupcakes to be fairly uniform in texture. This muffin features large tunnels in the bottom left and top ... Read More »

What is a whoopie pie?

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are a dessert that consists of two cake-like cookies sandwiching a creamy, frosting-like filling. It is easy to think of them as a more portable version of a cupcake, where the frosting is inside of the cake and there is no wrapper to contend with. They’re generally thought to have originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country as an Amish dessert, but the exact origin ... Read More »

What is a pastry blender?

Pastry Blender

Biscuits, pie crusts and other flaky baked goods often call for butter to be rubbed in or cut in to the flour mixture. This means that the butter should be broken up into small pieces, but not completely incorporated, into the dough. There are several ways of doing this. The first, and most traditional, way is by literally rubbing the butter in with your fingertips, ... Read More »

What is an egg topper?

Egg topper at work

Years ago, I was watching an episode of the original Japanese Iron Chef and was amazed to see one of the chefs cut the top of an eggshell off, cleanly, with a knife and then use the eggshell as a serving cup. I had seen eggshells used as serving cups on occasion before then, but the ease with which he sliced it off made a ... Read More »

What does “percent cacao” mean?

61% Percent Cacao Chocolate

Just a few years ago, it seemed like chocolate was chocolate, and while some were better than others, they were all labeled the same. Seemingly overnight, numbers started to appear on chocolate packaging and we suddenly had a way to separate one chocolate easily from another. What does the “percent cacao” or “cacao content” on chocolate packaging refer to? The “percent cacao” refers to the ... Read More »

What is steel cut oatmeal?

Irish Oatmeal

Steel cut oats, also known as Irish oats or pinhead oats, are whole oat groats that have been chopped into large pieces and make a minimally processed cereal with a good oat flavor and a hearty texture. They are different from regular oatmeal because of the way that the oats are processed. Most oatmeal is made by rolling the oats under heavy rollers until they ... Read More »

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