To cut foods with a knife, cleaver, or food processor into smaller pieces.

The large, oval, husk-covered fruit of the coconut palm. Its market forms include canned and packaged coconut that is processed and sold shredded, flaked, or grated in sweetened and unsweetened forms. Flaked coconut is finer than shredded. Fresh and dried coconut pieces also are available.

A finely ground corn product made from dried yellow, white, or blue corn kernels. Cornmeal labeled “stone ground” is slightly coarser than regular cornmeal. Store cornmeal in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months, or freeze it for up to one year.

To beat a fat, such as butter or shortening, either alone or with sugar, to a light and fluffy consistency. This process incorporates air into the fat so baked products have a lighter texture and better volume.

Creme fraiche
A dairy product made from whipping cream and a bacterial culture. The culture causes the whipping cream to thicken and develop a sharp, tangy flavor. Creme fraiche is similar to sour cream but is softer and has a milder flavor. Popular in French cooking, creme fraiche is often spooned over fresh fruit or used in recipes like sour cream. It is available at specialty food stores. If you can’t find it in your area, you can make a substitute by combining 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/2 cup dairy sour cream. Cover the mixture and let it stand at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours or until it thickens. Refrigerate for up to a week.

To pinch or press pastry dough together using your fingers, a fork, or another utensil. Usually done for a piecrust edge.

Cut in
To work a solid fat, such as shortening or butter, into dry ingredients, usually with a pastry blender or two knives.

A measure equal to 1/16 teaspoon. Can be measured by filling a 1/4-teaspoon measuring spoon one-fourth full.

Devonshire cream
A specialty of Devonshire, England, this extra-thick cream is made by heating unpasteurized whole milk until a semisolid layer of cream forms on the surface. After cooling, the Devonshire, or clotted, cream traditionally is served atop scones with jam.

To stir a solid food and a liquid food together to form a mixture in which none of the solid remains.

A mixture of flour and liquid to which other ingredients, such as sweeteners, shortening, butter, egg, or a leavening agent, may be added. A dough is thick and can’t be poured; some doughs can be kneaded. Soft doughs have more liquid and generally are used for biscuits, breads, and drop cookies. Stiff doughs are firm enough to be rolled out easily and are used to make items such as piecrusts and cutout cookies.

Dried egg whites
Dried egg whites can be used where egg white is needed (but not meringue powder, which has added sugar). Dried egg whites also are safer than raw egg whites. One handy use for them is in making egg white glazes for baked goods (no yolk is wasted). Dried egg whites are found in powdered form in the baking aisle of many grocery stores.

Dried fruit
Fruit that has been depleted of more than half its water content by exposure to the sun or by mechanical heating methods. Dried fruit is chewy and very sweet due to the concentration of sugars during the drying process.

To randomly pour a liquid, such as powdered sugar icing, in a thin stream over food.

To lightly coat or sprinkle a food with a dry ingredient, such as flour or powdered sugar, either before or after cooking.

Extract and oil
Products based on the aromatic essential oils of plant materials that are distilled by various means. In extracts, the highly concentrated oils usually are suspended in alcohol to make them easier to combine with other foods in cooking and baking. Almond, anise, lemon, mint, orange, peppermint, and vanilla are some of the extracts available.

An imitation extract made of chemical compounds. Unlike an extract or oil, a flavoring often does not contain any of the original food it resembles. Some common imitation flavorings available are banana, black walnut, brandy, cherry, chocolate, coconut, maple, pineapple, raspberry, rum, strawberry, and vanilla.

To make a scalloped, decorative pattern or impression in food, usually a piecrust.

A method of gently mixing ingredients, usually delicate or whipped ingredients that cannot withstand stirring or beating. To fold, use a rubber spatula to cut down through the mixture, move across the bottom of the bowl, and come back up, bringing some of the mixture from the bottom up to the surface.

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