Can I substitute
butter or margarine for shortening or vice versa?
In baked goods, you can substitute
butter for margarine for vegetable shortening cup for
cup. However, shortening should not be used in place of
butter in fudge or other candy recipes. Read more about shortening and butter in our
What is citrus
Zest is the colored, outermost
layer of the peel of citrus fruit. It is very pungent
and can be used in small quantities to flavor all kinds
What is the
difference between half-and-half, heavy cream, whipping
cream and double cream?
Varieties of cream are defined by
how much milk fat they contain: the higher the ratio of
milk fat, the heavier, thicker and creamier the cream!
Heavy cream, double cream and heavy whipping cream are
different names for essentially the same thing: cream
that is 40% or more milk fat, and which doubles in
volume when whipped. Light whipping cream is between 30
and 35 percent milk fat, and can also be whipped. Light
cream, table cream, coffee cream or single cream are
names for cream that is around 18% milk fat.
Half-and-half is a mixture of cream and milk, and
contains about 12% milk fat. Neither half-and-half nor
light cream can be whipped.
When a recipe on
your site calls for "white sugar," what kind of sugar
are you referring to?
When we use "white sugar" as an
ingredient in our recipes, we are referring to the white
granulated sugar that is most commonly used in cooking
and at the table in the U.S. Castor sugar or superfine
sugar is finer version of white sugar, but its
super-fine characteristic means it is better for
meringues or for dissolving in cold liquids. White sugar
and superfine sugar can be substituted cup for cup.
Confectioners' sugar, also known as powdered sugar or
icing sugar, is the very fine powdery sugar used in
frostings and many candies or to dust the top of your
favorite cake. You can substitute 1 3/4 cups
confectioners' sugar for 1 cup white sugar.
information also read our article "All
Why didn't my candy
set up right?
There could be a
couple of problems when candy doesn't set up properly.
If the air is too humid, candy can turn out too soft or
have that gooey sheen on its surface. Candy needs to be
made on a dry day. You also need to be sure your pans,
bowls and utensils are clean and dry before you begin.
Moisture in bowls can affect whether candy gets firm,
and flecks of sugar or other particles can affect the
way it crystallizes. The other problem arises when candy
isn't cooked to the proper temperature. Use a candy
thermometer for best results, and be sure to cook your
candy to the proper stage.
Why is my candy so
Grainy candy is the result of interfering with the ideal
crystallization process - creating big, uneven crystals,
where you want tiny, uniform ones. The first step to
keeping any candy from crystallizing is to start with
clean, dry bowls, pans and utensils. A speck of sugar
that falls into the pan after the sugar has begun
cooking provides something for crystals to cling to and
grow on and can ruin your caramel or toffee. Another way
to prevent crystals from interrupting your candy's
cooking process is to oil the sides of your pan before
you begin, or brush the sides of your pan with a
heatproof pastry brush dipped in water during cooking,
to get rid of any sugar crystals that may have
splattered on the sides of the pan. And you must never
stir your candy while it's cooking - this will incite
the formation of big crystals that will make your candy
grainy when it cools.
What's the best way
to melt chocolate?
The best way to melt chocolate is in a double boiler or
in short intervals in the microwave. Chocolate melted
directly in a saucepan or microwaved for more than 30
seconds at a time without stirring can easily scorch. If
you're melting your chocolate to use for dipping,
coating or decorating, you also need to temper it.
What is tempering?
Tempering chocolate is a process of
heating, cooling slightly, and reheating that aligns the
cocoa butter crystals so that when the chocolate cools a
final time, it will be glossy and free of streaks or
blooms. It sounds complicated, but it's really just a
matter of using dry bowls and utensils and a candy
How do I thin
To thin chocolate for dipping or coating, melt 1
tablespoon solid vegetable shortening with 1 cup of
I often find myself
adjusting recipes in order to make enough for my family,
but it doesn't quite work for some recipes. Do you have
any advice for me?
Changing recipes in order to make more or less
servings is called "recipe scaling." Whenever you alter
the amounts of ingredients for a given recipe, you may
also need to adjust the cooking temperature, cooking
time, pan size and seasonings. But for food chemistry
reasons, recipe scaling simply does not work well for
some dishes: delicate foods such as soufflés, baked
items requiring yeast such as breads, and recipes for a
single large item that is meant to be later divided into
smaller portions such as cakes, pies, breads and whole
Recipe Scaling Page will give you a reliable
framework for successful recipe scaling: It offers detailed
guidelines for recipe scaling.