Tag Archives: what-is

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 »

What is parchment paper?

Parchment Paper

One thing that comes up in baking recipes almost as often as butter, flour, sugar and eggs is parchment paper. It is recommended for lining baking sheets, lining cake pans and being used to roll out pie crusts and cookie dough. But what is parchment paper? Parchment paper is a heavy duty grease and moisture resistant paper that is used in baking and cooking because ... Read More »

What are chocolate truffles?

Chocolate truffles are a delicious treat any day of the year and a sweet gift on Valentine’s day. Chocolate truffles are made of chocolate ganache – a mixture of chocolate and cream that is melted together – that is rolled into balls. The most traditional type of chocolate truffle is then rolled in cocoa powder, but truffles can be covered with a layer of chocolate, ... Read More »

What do the portion scoop sizes mean?

Portion Scoop

To get uniform cookie dough balls, you can either eyeball the dough and try to create mounds of equal size that will hopefully bake into cookies of equal size, or you can use a portion scoop to ensure that they are all measured out exactly the same. While it is possible to be extremely accurate when “eyeballing it,” it is more reliable to use a ... Read More »

What are macarons?

Macarons

French macarons are thin, flavorful meringue cookies that are sandwiched together with some kind of filling. The meringues are what make the cookies unique. They have a smooth, crisp shell and a moist, chewy interior. They are made with egg whites and lots of ground nuts, which helps them to attain that chewy texture without drying out and becoming too crispy, like a simple meringue ... Read More »

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