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Christmas Cookie Recipes

Culinary/Baking Terms

The following terms are commonly found in recipes for baking, so whether you are looking for a chocolate chip cookie recipe, or a sugar cookie recipe, or maybe even the recipe for a cake, these terms should come in helpful.

A

A La Mode – In the US, a food that is served with ice cream

All Purpose Flour – a powdery wheat or grain substance used in many aspects of cooking and baking

Artificial Vanilla – a man made substance used in baking to produce a natural vanilla flavor

B

Bakers Dozen – Another term for long dozen, 13, or one more than a standard dozen

Batter – A measure of liquid, flour, and a number of other possible ingredients that are thin enough too pour

Beat – To combine multiple ingredients to which you combine air by stirring in a circular motion with a whisk, wooden spoon, food processor, or electric mixer

Blanch – To partially cook food by placing it in boiling water for a brief period, and immediately transferring it to cold water for cooling.

Blend – To combine multiple ingredients until smooth using a spoon, whisk, rubber spatula, or an electric mixer

Boil – To heat a liquid (usually water) until it is hot enough that bubbles begin to appear

C

Caramelize – To heat sugar to a point where it melts and becomes brown

Cocoa Powder – A fine, brown powder made from crushed up cocoa (the bean that chocolate comes from), and used as a flavoring

Combine – To mix together two or more ingredients

Confectioners Sugar – Also referred to as powdered sugar, it is a refined sugar, finely ground into a white, easily dissolved powder

Cream – To beat multiple ingredients (usually butter, sugar, and eggs) until they are smooth and fluffy

D

Dash – A very small measurement, normally less than 1/8 teaspoon

Dice – To cut any given type of food into small cubes

Dolci – An Italian term that means a dish is sweet

Dough – A thick, soft mixture of liquids, flour, and any number of other ingredients

Dust – To sprinkle lightly with a topping such as flour, sugar, cocoa, or cinnamon

E

Elastic – When an ingredient such as dough returns to it's original shape after being stretched

Espresso – A very strong Italian often times used in baking (Espresso beans are crushed up and used in baking as well)

F

Flour – A powdery substance made by milling wheat and other types of grains

Flute – To press a decorative pattern into the edge of a pastry

Fold-in – The process of combining a heavy ingredient, such as beaten egg whites, with a lighter ingredient, such as whipped cream, without losing any air in the ingredients

Frost – To coat baked goods such as cakes, and cookies in a sugar mixture

G

Glaze – To coat food with a liquid substance, such as thin icing

Grate – To shred food, either with the use of a food processor or a hand held grater

I

Icing – Another name for frosting, a sugary mixture used to cover cakes, cookies, and other foods

K

Knead – To push and fold dough until it has a smooth, elastic texture

L

Layer Cake – Multiple levels of cake with a filling such as frosting in between

Level – To make even and flat, for instance many recipes call for a cup of leveled flour

Lukewarm – The temperature (normally referring to a liquid) that is neither cold nor hot

M

Marble – The process of swirling two different ingredients together such as chocolate and vanilla cake batter

Measure – The quantity of any given item, common measurements in baking include cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons

Mix – To stir two or more ingredients together until they are thoroughly combined

P

Preheat – To heat an oven to a desired temperature before placing it in the oven to cook

Proof – To allow the yeast in dough to cause it to rise before baking, or to dissolve yeast in a warm liquid until it becomes bubbly and starts to expand

R

Rolling Boil – To cook a liquid to the point where it appears to be rolling around the pot (faster than a normal boil)

Room Temperature – Another term for lukewarm, when an ingredient is neither hot nor cold

S

Score – To cut a slit into food with a knife

Sift – To remove lumps, blend, and aerate ingredients like baking powder, flour, and confectioners sugar

Steam – To cook food in a wire basket or on a rack over boiling water

Steep – To let food stand in very hot water to extract the flavor (this is how tea is prepared)

T

Tablespoon – a measure of volume or amount used in cooking, 1 Tablespoon = 3 Teaspoons, usually comes in a set of multiple measuring spoons

Teaspoon – a measure of volume or amount used in cooking, 3 Teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon

Toss – To combine multiple ingredients using two utensils and a lifting motion

W

Whip – To beat rapidly and incorporate air into a mixture through the use of a spoon, or electric mixer

Whisk – a utensil used in cooking, made of wire loops for beating and whipping ingredients

Z

Zest - The grated peel of a citrus fruit, such as lemons and oranges