Star anise and anise seed are two spices that not only sound similar, they have similar flavors. Their flavors are enough alike that some cooks consider interchangeable. Both spices are versatile enough to stay in the background as they do in some spice blends and savory dishes or to play the starring role as they do in liqueurs. If you are trying to decide between them, there are some important factors to consider. While they have a lot in common, there are some key differences. What are those differences? How do you use them? We will consider these questions as we compare them in another SPICEography Showdown – star anise vs. anise seed.
In some contexts, the term powdered sugar is used to indicate all forms of refined sugar that have been ground or powdered. In other words, it encompasses any sugar with a fine grain including confectioners’ sugar. Confectioners’ sugar is a powdered sugar though not all powdered sugar is confectioners’ sugar.
In other cases, confectioners’ sugar may refer to a specific fineness, or the extent to which the sugar has been ground. The fineness of sugar is denoted by a number between 3 and 10 followed by an X. The higher the number, the finer the grind. Confectioners’ sugar is 10x sugar. Note that not all packages of sugar will have the fineness of the grind indicated on the label. Let’s review more of the similarities and differences between confectioners’ sugar and powdered sugar in another SPICEography Showdown.
Lemon peel and lemon zest are both great ways to add the flavor of lemon to a dish. The lemon flavor and fragrance come from the oils in the skin, which include the compound limonene that is responsible for much of the smell and taste. What is the difference in flavor between lemon peel and lemon zest? How are they used differently? Read on for the answers to these questions and more.
Cacao and cocoa powder both come from the same plant. The difference between them has to do with how they are processed. The process for making cocoa powder involves raising it to much higher temperatures than those to which cacao is exposed. This results in two products with different characteristics, but how different are they? Do they taste the same? Can you use them in the same dishes? We will answer these questions and more in this edition of SPICEography Showdown.
Tapioca and arrowroot starches are both popular ingredients for gluten-free cooking. They also have a few advantages for thickening gravies, soups, and sauces when compared to a more common starch like corn starch. As the two most popular gluten-free starches, how do tapioca starch and arrowroot starch compare to each other? What are the big differences between them? These and other questions will be considered below in our look at arrowroot vs. tapioca starch.
Brown sugar is simple. It consists of white granulated sugar to which a certain amount of molasses has been added for flavor and appearance. Brown sugar can be made from sugar beets or from sugar cane. Cane sugar is more complex as there are multiple types of sugar that can be fall under the cane sugar umbrella. Examples include sucanat, turbinado and evaporated cane sugar. All three of which are cane sugars in that they are made exclusively from sugar cane juice.
What are the differences between brown sugar and cane sugar? How are they used differently? We will look at these and other questions below.
Both tapioca starch and corn starch are great options whether you are looking for a thickener or are on a gluten-free diet and need a wheat flour substitute. Both are also effective thickeners in large part because their flavors are neutral, which means that they work without affecting the flavors in your dish. While their function is similar, they do have some differences. If you are trying to decide which one to use, consider the factors below.
Arrowroot is made a from a tuber that was first used by the Caribbean Arawak people. It is an effective thickener as well as a useful alternative to wheat flour in biscuits, cakes and various baked goods. Corn starch is made from the corn kernel’s endosperm and was originally considered inedible, but later became popular as a culinary thickener. How do these two starches compare to each other? What are their benefits and drawbacks? Below, we compare corn starch and arrowroot in another SPICEography Showdown.