What is Shortening?
For many, the word shortening refers specifically to hydrogenated vegetable fat, but technically, shortening can be used to identify any of the fats that are solid at room temperature and used in baking, including butter, lard, margarine, and vegetable fat. Lard was the most commonly used shortening until 1911 before the popular brand of all-vegetable shortening, Crisco, was created. After that, the brand became so popular that the words Crisco and shortening soon became synonymous. Today the word shortening describes any brand of hydrogenated, all-vegetable fat used in baking.
What is Vegetable Shortening?
Vegetable shortening is vegetable oil that has gone through the process of hydrogenation, which turns it into a solid. It's usually made from soybean, cottonseed, or palm oils. Shortening is white in color and has the consistency of soft butter. You can find it packaged in resealable canisters or baking sticks. Unlike butter, shortening won't impart any flavors to baked goods because it has a neutral taste.
One of the advantages of vegetable shortening is that it doesn't require refrigeration. Unopened, shortening may be stored in your pantry for up to two years without spoiling. Another benefit of vegetable shortening is that it can be used as an alternative to butter in vegan baking.
How Did Shortening Get its Name?
Shortening got its name because its purpose is to cause a shortening of the gluten fibers in dough. Wheat gluten forms elastic fibers and produces a dough that stretches, which is preferable for foods like pizza dough that need to be stretched and shaped. These types of doughs are called "long dough." When shortening is added to the mix, it breaks up the gluten fibers and creates a "short dough." Short dough produces a crumbly, flaky texture that is perfect for pie crusts. You'll often see pie crust called shortcrust for this reason.
When to Use Shortening
The most common use of shortening is to bake pie crusts. Because of its high melting point, shortening is easy to incorporate into the dough. It won't melt as you work the dough with your hands, as with butter. The high melting point also makes shortening a great choice for buttercreams that will hold their shape, even on a hot day. When used in place of butter, shortening produces cookies that are fluffy with a crumbly texture and cakes that are light and tender. The major disadvantage of shortening when compared to butter is the lack of flavor, but the benefits are stability, texture, and convenience.
How to Cut In Shortening
The method for adding shortening to your pastry dough is called cutting in. Instead of mixing, shortening is cut into the flour with the use of two knives or a pastry blender. To perform this method with two dinner knives, hold a knife in each hand and cross them over the shortening and flour. Pull the knives across each other to make slices in the mixture.
As you perform these cuts, the flour proteins become coated with shortening, and gluten formation is prevented. For most recipes, you will cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles particles the size of peas or small crumbs. This method is the best way to achieve a flaky pastry or pie crust.
Shortening Cutting Video
Use the following video to learn how to cut shortening:
Shortening can be substituted for other fats in your baking and vice versa.
Shortening vs Butter
Shortening and butter can be used interchangeably for most baking recipes with some slight adjustments. Because vegetable shortening is made of 100% fat, and butter contains water, it's not a one-to-one exchange. For every cup of shortening, you need to use 1 cup of butter plus 2 tablespoons. Pie crusts made with butter won't be as flaky as a crust made with shortening, but they will have rich, buttery flavor. For the best of both worlds, shortening and butter can be combined in your recipes.
Shortening vs Lard
Lard is made of 100% pork fat so it can be used as a one-to-one substitute for shortening when making pie crusts or other pastries. High-quality rendered lard from around the pig's kidneys has a neutral flavor just like shortening, but it also has the richness of butter. Use it to make tender, flaky crusts.
Shortening is especially useful in a commercial kitchen or bakery thanks to its long shelf life. Lard and butter may keep up to 6 months when refrigerated, but vegetable shortening can last up to two years before spoiling. It requires no refrigeration and can be purchased in bulk and placed in dry storage until needed.
Pie Crust Designs
Whether you own a professional or home bakery and you're looking to impress your guests, mastering the art of pie crust designs can elevate your desserts to the next level. Our easy-to-follow tutorial and accompanying video will guide you through the process of creating a variety of pie crust styles, including beautiful lattice and decorative cut-out designs, that will make your pies stand out. Click on any of the links below to skip to the pie crust design that interests you: Crumb Pie Crust Lattice Pie Crust Double Pie Crust Single Pie Crust Cookie Cutter Heart Pie Crust Five Easy Pie Crust Designs There are countless ways to make your pie crust look as delicious as it tastes. We'll show you how to easily make five pie crust designs, from the classic crumble crust to a decorative heart pie crust! Each of the pie crusts can be made using our basic pie crust recipe. Watch our video tutorial on how to make different pie crust designs or follow our step-by-step guide with pictures below: <iframe scrolling="no" width="392" height="226" src="/v/?num=3947&width=600&height=500&embed=1" frameborder="0"></iframe> Tools You'll Need Fortunately, many of these pie designs do not require special tools to create once you've rolled out your dough. Below are the standard items you'll need for each pie design - we'll note any special tools needed in each pie crust design's directions. Pie pan - either a metal pie pan or a disposable pie pan will do. Knife - some pie styles will require you to trim the excess pie dough with a knife. Crumb Crust Pie A crumble crust is ideal for fruit pies like apple, blueberry, and cherry pie. This delicious crust can also form the bottom layer of bar and cheesecake recipes. Crumb Crust Ingredients: 1/2 cup flour 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup oats 1 stick softened butter 1 Tablespoon cinnamon 1.Add your prepared bottom crust to the pie pan and trim off the excess dough with a knife or kitchen shears. 2.Crimp the pie crust edge. 3.Add in pie filling. 4.In a mixing bowl, combine the crumb crust ingredients and hand mix. 5.Cover the pie with the crumb crust topping and bake according to your recipe's instructions. Lattice Pie Crust The classic lattice pie crust is made by weaving strips of pie dough on top of the filling, creating a visually appealing basket weave pattern. This decorative technique not only enhances the pie's appearance but also allows steam to escape through the gaps between the dough strips, making it great for fruit-filled pies. 1.Add your prepared bottom crust to the pie pan. 2.Add in pie filling. 3.Use a pastry wheel or dough cutter to cut the prepared top crust into 1" strips. 4.Lay half of the strips vertically and evenly spaced on top of the filled pie. Leave about 1/2 inch of space between each strip to allow for weaving. 5.Take the two strips of dough on either side of the center strip and gently lift them, folding them back halfway. Place another strip of dough horizontally across the pie filling, over the folded strip. Unfold the folded strip back over the horizontal strip. Repeat this process with the remaining vertical strips, alternating over and under each horizontal strip. 6.Take the next set of vertical strips and fold them back, placing another horizontal strip over them. Unfold the folded strips and repeat the process until you have completed the lattice pattern across the entire pie. 7.Once the lattice is complete, crimp the bottom and top pie crust edges together and bake according to your recipe's instructions. Double Pie Crust A double crust pie is a type of pie that has both a bottom and top crust. It is a classic and versatile pie style that can be filled with a variety of sweet or savory fillings. The double crust not only adds an extra layer of flavor and texture but also helps to seal in the filling and keep it moist during baking. Just be sure to be sure to vent it so you don't rupture the top crust. 1.Add your prepared bottom crust to the pie pan. 2.Add in pie filling. 3.Lay the prepared top crust on top of the filled pie. 4.Crimp the bottom and top pie crust edges together. 5.Use a knife to cut a small hole out of the center of the pie and make four diagonal slits around the hole to allow steam to vent. Bake according to your recipe's instructions. Single Pie Crust The easiest out of all the pie styles to make, a single crust pie is a type of pie that only has a bottom crust and no top crust. It is often used for pies that have a custard, cream, or fruit filling that does not require a top crust for baking. 1.Add your prepared bottom crust to the pie pan. 2.Add in pie filling. 3.Crimp the pie crust edge and bake according to your recipe's instructions. Cookie Cutter Heart Pie Crust One way to create visually appealing and unique pie crust designs is by using cookie cutters. In this tutorial, we use a heart-shaped cookie cutter, but you can use virtually any cookie cutter shape or theme to cater to a special occasion or holiday. 1.Add your prepared bottom crust to the pie pan. 2.Add in pie filling. 3.Place the prepared top crust on a clean work surface and use a pie pan of equal diameter and a knife to trim off the excess dough. 4.Starting in the center of the crust, use the cookie cutter to cut out rows of hearts in the crust. Make sure to leave about 1/2 inch of space around the edge. 5.Place the decorative top crust onto the pie. 6.Crimp the bottom and top pie crust edges together and bake according to your recipe's instructions. Basic Pie Crust Recipe Creating a delicious pie starts with a basic pie crust recipe. This simple recipe is easy to work and consistently produces a buttery, flaky pie crust. With just a few ingredients, you can create a foundation for a wide variety of sweet and savory pies. Pie Crust Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 Tablespoon salt 1 Tablespoon sugar 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, chopped 4 Tablespoons ice water Directions: Combine dry ingredients and chopped butter in food processor. Blend until mixture begins to look crumbly. Slowly add ice water and continue blending. Dough should start to form large clusters. To check if it's ready, pinch some dough - if it holds together, it's good to go. If it falls apart, add 1 more tablespoon of ice water at a time and blend until dough comes together. Transfer dough from bowl onto clean work surface and lightly work it to form a ball. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least one hour, or up to two days, before using it in your recipes. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to three months (thaw it overnight in fridge before using). Pie Crust Tips To achieve a beautiful and flaky pie crust, it's important to follow a few key tips. By keeping your pie crust cold, using a quality pie crust, and avoiding excessive handling of the dough, you can create a pie that not only looks stunning but also tastes amazing. Keep the Pie Crust Cold: One of the most crucial aspects of working with pie crust is to ensure it stays cold throughout the process. This is because cold dough is easier to handle and results in a flakier crust. To keep your pie crust cold, chill all the ingredients, including the flour, butter, and water, before you start making the dough. Additionally, refrigerate the dough for at least one hour before rolling it out. If the dough becomes too warm while you're working with it, place it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool it down. Use a Quality Pie Crust: The quality of your pie crust can greatly impact the final result. Homemade pie crusts allow you to control the ingredients and ensure a flaky, buttery crust. Our basic, buttery pie crust recipe is tried and true and suits all skill levels. Don't Handle the Dough for Too Long: Overworking the dough can lead to a tough and chewy crust. When mixing the ingredients, aim to combine them just until they come together. Avoid kneading or overmixing the dough, as this can develop the gluten, resulting in a less tender crust. Once the dough has been formed, roll it out gently and as quickly as possible. The more you handle the dough, the warmer it becomes, which can lead to a less flaky crust. Blind Bake the Crust: If you're using wet or custard-like fillings, consider blind baking the pie crust before adding any fillings. Blind baking involves pre-baking the crust without any filling, which helps prevent a soggy bottom. By blind baking the crust, you'll ensure a crisp and flaky base for your pie, allowing your intricate designs to shine. Use pie weights to achieve the perfect blind bake. Back to Top Ditch the same old pie routine and master new pie crust designs that will leave your guests in awe. With our decorative pie crusts tutorial, you can confidently create a variety of designs, including the timeless lattice pattern and an eye-catching cookie cutter pie that are perfect for your Thanksgiving feast. Elevate the visual appeal of your pies to match their mouthwatering taste with exquisite and detailed designs.
How to Start a Bakery
Whether you dream of opening a donut shop or a boulangerie, starting a bakery allows you to serve niche markets and express culinary creativity without taking on the financial burden of opening a restaurant. You can even start your bakery business from home before investing in a commercial space. While bakeries are comparatively accessible foodservice businesses, they present unique challenges. From writing a bakery business plan to getting funding and filing for permits, we walk you through each step of opening a bakery. Shop All Bakery Supplies Jump to a specific step of opening a bakery: Choose Your Bakery Style Write a Bakery Business Plan Get Startup Loans Lease a Bakery Location Bakery Permits and Licenses Order Bakery Equipment Design a Bakery Layout Hire Bakery Staff Advertise Your Bakery Host a Bakery Grand Opening How to Start a Baking Business Whether you're passionate about creating decoratively frosted cakes or artisan sourdough loaves, you must create an action plan for turning your passion for baking into a business. Discover the steps of opening a bakery below. 1. Choose a Bakery Style While there are many bakery business models, they all fall under one of two umbrella categories: retail and wholesale. Retail and wholesale bakeries make similar products, but they have different needs and customer bases. Opening and Operating a Retail Bakery Retail bakeries are the most common type of bakery; they sell baked goods and loaves of bread directly to customers. Retail bakeries come in many different forms, and they often specialize in a particular type of baked good. They require both front- and back-of-house space. Types of Retail Bakeries Discover the most popular retail bakery business models below: Bakery Cafe - This type of bakery is a combination of a bakery and cafe, and they typically sell baked goods like bread, pastries, and cookies. They also pair their baked goods with coffee and tea. Bakery cafes typically have a dining space where customers can sit and eat. Counter Service - While counter service bakeries have a front-of-house, most do not have a dining space. Instead, they have a counter where guests can order freshly baked goods to take home. Bakery Food Trucks - Rather than using a brick-and-mortar store, food truck bakeries sell their products from a mobile truck. Due to the small space, many bakery food trucks do not bake in their truck, instead opting to bake their products ahead of time in a commissary kitchen or home bakery. Specialty Bakeries - A specialty bakery typically focuses on one type of baked good, such as wedding cakes, cupcakes, or gluten-free items. This type of bakery can excel because they offer niche products that customers either cannot find elsewhere or that are better than the products offered at less-specialized bakeries. Home Bakeries - This type of bakery is becoming more common, especially because you don't need a lot of startup capital or culinary experience to open a home bakery. Home bakeries typically market their products online and then ship them to customers. Many home bakeries are also very niche or offer twists on classic baked goods. Opening and Operating a Wholesale Bakery The other main type of bakery is a wholesale bakery. Rather than selling their products directly to customers, wholesale bakeries market their baked goods to businesses like grocery stores, restaurants, delis, and cafes. Because wholesale bakeries have to meet the demands of commercial customers, they are typically larger than retail bakeries. Wholesale bakeries don't need to have a front-of-house or a desirable, high-traffic location. However, wholesale bakeries must produce high volumes of baked goods. This requires a large space and lots of baking equipment, resulting in higher startup costs. Back to Top 2. Write a Bakery Business Plan The first step in opening your new establishment should be to write a bakery business plan. The business plan is an integral part of starting a bakery business because it lays out what type of bakery you want to open, how it's going to be structured, what sort of products you're going to sell, marketing strategies, and financial projections. There are seven main sections to a bakery business plan: Executive Summary Company Overview and Description Market Analysis Business Offerings Management Plan and Ownership Structure Marketing and Advertising Strategy Financial Projections Your business plan serves as the foundation for your business, and a strong plan can help you get funding and make the process of opening a new bakery easy. Back to Top 3. Obtain Loans and Startup Capital When starting a bakery, there are many costs that you'll need to consider, such as leasing a commercial space, getting insurance, outfitting your space with equipment, hiring and training staff, stocking your kitchen, and paying for utilities. As a result, you'll need to have a significant amount of money available to cover these costs. Additionally, it may take a few months after opening for your bakery to become profitable, so you'll need cash on hand to cover costs for several months after opening. If you’re wondering how to open a bakery with no money, you'll need to take out loans. There are three common ways business owners get funding: commercial loans, business lines of credit, and small business loans. Traditional Commercial Loan - You can apply for a traditional commercial loan at any major or local bank. This type of loan has lower interest rates and provides access to large amounts of capital. However, it requires you to have a high credit score. You may have to wait for months to access the money. Business Line of Credit - A line of credit is similar to a credit card. You get approved to use up to a certain amount, but you're only charged for the amount you use. Additionally, as you pay off the balance, you can access more credit. But, a line of credit doesn't allow you to access as much money as other loan types and requires a higher lending standard. Small Business Loan - Created by the Small Business Association, a small business loan is a type of loan that aims to protect small businesses and provide them with startup capital. Small business loans typically have lower interest rates and are available to people with borderline credit. They require collateral and may take longer to be approved than other loan types. Cost to Open a Bakery Bakery startup costs range between $10,000 and $50,000. The vast startup cost price range reflects the diverse array of bakeries. How much money you need to start a bakery depends on its location, equipment, staffing requirements, and menu items. Back to Top 4. Lease a Commercial Bakery Space Once you've secured funding, you can start looking for a commercial space for your bakery. The type of commercial space you need depends on the type of bakery you're opening. For example, if you're opening a food truck bakery, you'll need to purchase the truck and you may want to look into renting space in a commissary kitchen. Retail bakeries will want to look for a space in a central location close to their target demographic that also has a front-of-house area. Because wholesale bakeries sell their products to businesses rather than customers, they can be located farther from the city center or populated areas. Best Place to Open a Bakery The best place to open a bakery is at an accessible location near your suppliers and your target demographic. Regardless of the type of bakery you're opening, there are universal considerations for where you start your bakery business. Consider the following in your bakery location analysis: Demographics Accessibility Proximity to Suppliers Competition Size and Space Requirements Health Regulations and Zoning Safety and Crime Rates Once you've found a suitable location for your business, you can hire a lawyer to draw up and negotiate a lease with the landlord. To protect yourself from any potential issues when negotiating a lease, be sure to specify the length of the lease, any raises in rent that might be included, who will pay for potential renovations, and any utilities that are covered. Back to Top 5. Obtain Bakery Licenses and Permits The foodservice industry is heavily regulated on a federal, state, and local level, and there are some bakery licenses and permits you need to start your baking business. The types of permits you'll need will vary depending on your location, so be sure to check your local laws and regulations to see if there are any specific laws that apply to your new business. Back to Top 6. Order Bakery Equipment The equipment that your bakery will need depends on what type of baked goods you will be preparing. For example, you may need specific pastry supplies to create French pastries. While the specific equipment may change depending on the size and type of your bakery, there are several purposes you need to fill: Dough Preparation - This includes equipment like commercial mixers, work tables for kneading, dough dividers, dough sheeters, and dough scales. You may also need holding cabinets, proofing cabinets, retarder/proofer combos, and refrigerators to prepare your dough. Storage - Storage is important for keeping your kitchen organized. Your bakery will require shelving and storage racks. If you're working with bulky bags of flour and sugar, you should invest in trucks, dollies, and carts to move large bags around your kitchen. Baking Equipment - Convection ovens are a great all-purpose piece of bakery equipment because they provide dry heat and bake evenly. If you're preparing a lot of artisan bread, you may want to choose a deck oven to give your products a crispy base. Wholesale bakeries may be looking for high-output ovens, such as roll-in rack ovens or revolving ovens. Display and Sales Equipment - Choosing the right display cases for your baked goods can help boost your sales. You can choose self-service or full-service cases, and there are refrigerated and unrefrigerated options, depending on your needs. In addition to your display cases, be sure to also choose stylish boxes and packaging for your baked goods. Cleaning and Warewashing Supplies - A 3-compartment sink is the centerpiece of any cleaning station. You must also order hand washing stations for your employees, disposable gloves, cleaning chemicals, sponges, scrubbers, and other essential cleaning items. Bakery Smallwares In addition to your large equipment, you must stock your bakery with smallwares, such as mixing bowls, storage boxes, whisks, bread knives, and aprons. We compiled a list of essential bakery equipment to ensure you don't forget anything. You can download the opening a bakery checklist PDF below: Download Baker Smallwares Checklist PDF Back to Top 7. Layout Your Bakery After securing a location and deciding what equipment is needed to start your new bakery, you can plan your bakery kitchen organization. If your bakery has a front-of-house area, you will need to design a floor plan. Learn how to lay out your bakery kitchen and storefront below. Commercial Bakery Kitchen Layout Every bakery kitchen requires four sections: cleaning, storage, food preparation, and meal cooking. Bakery cafes and bakeries with a front-of-house area will also have a service station, where they deliver food to customers. The ideal bakery kitchen layout is determined by the space and the placement of water and gas lines. Organize your bakery kitchen so the four sections flow together and measure your space to make sure you have enough room for your bakery equipment before finalizing your kitchen plan. You will want to lay out your kitchen based on the logical flow of food through the baking process. This starts with the storage area and then goes to the food preparation and meal cooking sections. Once you’ve prepared your baked goods, you can serve them to your customers, package them for display, or ship them to online customers. Finally, your dirty dishes, pots, and pans will end up at the cleaning station. Commercial Bakery Storefront Layout Some bakeries will have a front-of-house area where customers can browse their selection of baked goods. Optimizing your bakery floor plan for ideal product placement and customer comfort prompts purchases. Bakery Layout There are four main bakery layouts, each with its own unique benefits. Straight Bakery Floor Plan - Your bakery display cases are organized in straight lines to make it easy for customers to browse. Angular Bakery Floor Plan - This floor plan uses curved displays to create an upscale presentation. Diagonal Bakery Floor Plan - A diagonal floor plan allows customers to flow through your bakery. Mixed Bakery Floor Plan - Maximize your space by using a combination of all the bakery floor plans. Back to Top 8. Hire and Train Bakery Staff The size of your staff will depend on the scale and style of your bakery. A locally owned and operated bakery with just one location is likely to have a short chain of command. Retail bakeries must hire and train front-of-house staff to take orders and work the cash register. However, most of your bakery staff will work in the back-of-house, preparing your baked goods. Your bakery should have at least one or two employees that have formal training or bakery experience to oversee the actual baking process. You may also want to hire unskilled workers for washing dishes, mixing ingredients, packaging products, and doing other tasks that don't require previous experience or expertise. Some bakeries will also need professional pastry chefs and personnel to complete delicate and specialized tasks. For example, bakeries that bake wedding cakes should look for experienced cake decorators. Bakeries that offer artisan breads should consider hiring someone who specializes in bread baking. Back to Top 9. Market and Advertise Your Bakery Before you open your bakery to the public, you must conduct some marketing and advertising campaigns to get the word out and create buzz. You can break your bakery marketing strategy into five general steps: Conduct market research. The first step in a marketing campaign is to conduct market research and determine your target market. This includes information like the demographics around your bakery, any competitors, and niche markets you can fill. Once you have an idea about who your target market is, you can develop strategies for attracting them. Write a market analysis. Your market analysis is a summary of your market research, and it should go in your bakery's business plan. It should include information such as the average income level in your area, discretionary spending among your target market, and your competitor's prices. Set goals for your marketing campaign. Create realistic goals for your bakery and its marketing and advertising campaign. For example, set goals for how many followers you want to gain on your social media accounts and how many sales you want to get in a month. Determine how you want to advertise your business. There are many ways you can advertise your bakery and each has its benefits. If you're in an urban area, using signs is a great and affordable option. Consider traditional advertising tactics, such as newspaper advertisements and flyers. Create a social media presence. Social media marketing is a great way to interact with your customers, create buzz, and advertise your grand opening and other events. Additionally, many people will look for your bakery's website and social media accounts before deciding if they want to visit, so make sure that you have an active online presence. Many of these tactics apply to retail bakeries, but marketing tactics differ for wholesale bakeries. Wholesale bakeries should focus on competitor analysis and research where local restaurants and grocery stores source their baked goods. Then, they can reach out and try to make a deal. Back to Top 10. Host a Grand Opening The final step in opening a bakery is to host your grand opening and welcome customers to your business. A successful grand opening can get your new bakery off to a good start and help generate loyal customers. You should advertise your grand opening to create interest and alert your target audience that your bakery is open for business. One great way to get customers in your bakery for your grand opening is to offer discounts and specials. For example, you can offer discounts for the first 100 people to visit. Another option is to give customers who order a dozen cupcakes one cupcake for free. You can also offer free samples to encourage customers to make purchases and expose them to more of your products. Back to Top Do You Need a Culinary Degree to Open a Bakery? You don’t have to have a culinary degree or a bachelor’s degree in business to own a bakery. However, having hands-on experience or academic knowledge of both the baking and business management aspects of owning a bakery will help you succeed. Having a formal education may help you attract investors and banks to garner the startup capital you need to open your bakery. Consider getting a certification from the Retail Bakers of America (RBA). The RBA certification verifies your knowledge, skills, and abilities without the hefty time and financial commitment of culinary school. Starting a bakery presents unique opportunities and challenges from starting a traditional restaurant. Creating a detailed business plan, following it precisely, and keeping your documents organized will help get your business off to a good start. Reference back to our guide to ensure your bakery launch goes smoothly. <aside class="pquote"> <blockquote> The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details. </blockquote> </aside>
Marzipan, Frangipane, Almond Paste, and Fondant: What’s the Difference?
In the world of baking and confectionary work, you will find several ingredients that are very similar to each other but serve very different purposes. Marzipan is one of those ingredients that often gets mistaken with another due to its consistency and make up. With names so similar, what is the difference between marzipan and frangipane? What about marzipan and almond paste or marzipan and fondant? We set out to clarify these differences and find out how all of these ingredients are properly used. Shop All Bakery Decorating Ingredients You can use the list below to navigate through the different sections: What is Marzipan? What is Fondant? Marzipan vs Fondant What is Frangipane? Marzipan vs Frangipane What is Almond Paste? Marzipan vs Almond Paste What is Marzipan? Marzipan, also known as almond candy dough, is a smooth and pliable confectionary paste made from almonds that can be used as a cake icing or molded into candies. It features a clay-like consistency that makes it easy to handle. This popular confection is often used in British baking recipes, but variations of marzipan can be found in French and German baking as well. Marzipan can be located in most international supermarkets, sold in a tub or plastic-wrapped log. How to Make Marzipan There are several marzipan recipes available with slight variation, but the basic marzipan ingredients include almonds, sugar, and a binding agent. Persipan is similar to marzipan but is made out of apricot or peach kernels instead of almonds, and is often used as a substitute in the event of nut allergies. Here are some common marzipan recipe options: Ground skinless almonds, powdered sugar, egg whites, and almond extract Almond paste, powdered sugar, and corn syrup Almond paste, sugar, water, and unbeaten egg whites Ground almonds, sugar, glucose syrup, water, and egg whites (optional) Blanched ground almonds, sugar, and starch or sorbitol This is just one recipe for homemade marzipan that you can follow: Cover 1/2 pound of almonds with boiling water Let it sit until cool Pinch each almond to slide the skin off Drain the skinless almonds of any excess liquid Place the almonds in a food processor Add 2 cups (16 oz) of powdered sugar over the almonds Run the processor until the mixture is smooth Scrape down the sides and run the processor for another minute Add 2 egg whites into the mixture Blend until the mixture develops a clay-like consistency Add a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, plus any additional spices to enhance the flavor Remove the mixture from the bowl and use immediately or wrap in cling wrap and store in the refrigerator (the mixture can be stored for up to 2 weeks) The final result should produce a malleable speckled-white dough that is ready to use for all sorts of confectionary treats. How to Use Marzipan You can use marzipan in a variety of ways. It can be: Rolled out into a sheet and used as icing on cakes and cupcakes Added in cookie and biscuit recipes to make nutty marzipan cookies Sculpted into decoration such as fruits, animals, bows, etc. for cake decorations or marzipan candy Easily dyed and painted with edible paint because of the neutral marzipan color Used as the sweet center of chocolate covered marzipan candies What Does Marzipan Taste Like? Marzipan has a nutty flavor derived from the almonds in the mixture and can be very sweet. What is Fondant? Fondant is a smooth sugar paste that is popular in bakeries for cake decorating. There are a few different types of fondant as well. Rolled fondant is the more common type of fondant used in professional and amateur baking, however poured fondant can also be found in commercial settings. Fondant can often be found sold in pre-packaged tubs. How to Make Fondant The main ingredient used in a fondant recipe is confectioners sugar regardless of the variation of fondant you make. Rolled fondant is made by mixing powdered sugar, corn syrup, and shortening or vegetable oil until the mixture is firm and pliable. Gelatin is often added as well. Marshmallow fondant is made by melting mini marshmallows in the microwave with some water and then mixed with powdered sugar and vegetable shortening until the mixture is pliable. Poured fondant is made by boiling confectioners sugar, corn syrup, and water until it becomes opaque and creamy in consistency. How to Use Fondant Fondant is mostly used for baking decoration, however the two variations of fondant serve different purposes in the baking world. Rolled fondant and marshmallow fondant tend to be pliable and dough-like in texture. It can be: Dyed to form a variety of colored fondant Rolled out into sheets and layed over cakes as a smooth icing layer Molded into decorations as sculpting fondant for cakes and cupcakes Softened to form gum paste or sugar paste that hardens over time Poured fondant is creamy in consistency. It can be: Used as a filling for candies Drizzled over cakes and cookies for decoration What Does Fondant Taste Like? Fondant can be very sweet and sugary due to the high sugar levels, but provides a neutral taste for icing. Marzipan vs Fondant The similarities between marzipan and fondant are their texture and purpose. They are both malleable and can both be used interchangeably as a solid icing layer over cakes. They are easily dyed to create colorful and eye-catching decorations for cakes and cupcakes, and they are often used to make candies as well. For their differences, marzipan tends to be more pliable than fondant and is less likely to crack when being handled, making it easier to work with. Marzipan features a nutty subtle flavor that complements certain recipes while fondant is a more neutral sweeter alternative. Although fondant has a tendency to dry out when handled, it makes for an excellent substitute if nut allergies are a concern. What is Frangipane? Frangipane is an almond pastry cream that is used as a filling in a variety of pastries and cakes. It has a light and spreadable consistency. Frangipane can often be found as an ingredient in French baking and is typically associated with Christmas celebrations in France. Frangipane is generally sold in a powder form, requiring additional ingredients for its preparation. How to Make Frangipane A frangipane recipe mainly consists of ground almonds, butter, flour, sugar, and eggs. You can follow the steps below to make your own homemade frangipane filling: Add 3 tablespoons of softened butter and 1/4 cups of granulated sugar to a mixing bowl Cream the mixture together until soft Add the 1/2 cup ground skinless almonds to the mixture and blend Add 1 egg and 3/4 of a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the bowl and continue to mix until incorporated Add 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and blend into the mixture Place the mixture into a piping bag to begin filling your pastries The final result should produce a light tan cream that is enough for one large frangipane tart or several pastries. How to Use Frangipane Frangipane is used almost exclusively as a custard-like filling for pastries. Here are some pastries that incorporate frangipane into their recipes: Filled Croissants Bakewell Tarts Fruit Tarts Bostocks Jesuite Pastries Pithiviers What Does Frangipane Taste Like? Frangipane has a light sweetness to it and a nutty flavor due to the almonds. Marzipan vs Frangipane Marzipan and frangipane are only similar in the fact that they use almonds and have very similar-sounding names. Their purposes and textures, however, are very different, making them unable to be substituted with one another. While marzipan is a thick and sweet icing dough, frangipane is a creamy and lightly-sweetened filling. What is Almond Paste? Almond paste is a coarse dough-like paste made primarily out of almonds. It is predominately used as an ingredient in recipes for cakes and pastry fillings. You can find almond paste in various French pastry and candy recipes. Almond paste is usually sold in cans at local supermarkets. How to Make Almond Paste Almond paste is made from almonds, a small amount of sugar, oil, and occasionally, an egg. The recipes can vary and may be cooked depending on the added ingredients. Heavy cream or cornstarch can be used to substitute out the egg. You may follow the almond paste recipe below to make your own homemade almond paste: Place 1 pound of blanched almonds in a food processor Add 2 cups (16 oz) of powdered sugar sugar over the almonds Run the processor until the mixture is smooth Scrape down the sides and run the processor for another minute Add 3 egg whites into the mixture Blend until the mixture is fully incorporated Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract Remove the mixture from the bowl and use immediately or wrap in cling wrap and store in the refrigerator (the mixture can be stored for up to 1 week) The final result should produce a coarse beige dough that can be sliced or spread easily. How to Use Almond Paste Almond paste in usually added into recipes and not meant to be enjoyed on its own. It can be used as: A base ingredient for marzipan and frangipane recipes A filling for cakes, tarts, and cookies The center of various candies What Does Almond Paste Taste Like? Almond paste has a distinct almond flavor and is semi-bitter. It only has a mild sweetness since it is used as an additional ingredient in other recipes. Marzipan vs Almond Paste Marzipan and almond paste are easily confused with each other because they are made with the same basic ingredients: almonds, sugar, and some form of binding agent. However, the different ratios of these ingredients in each recipe is what sets these two confections apart. There is also some confusion around marzipan and almond pastes because, very often, marzipan and almond paste will be the same product in the United Kingdom while being different products in the United States, although it is not very common to find marzipan in North America. The ratio of almonds to sugar is the main factor for their differentiation. Almond paste has twice the amount of almonds in it compared to marzipan, making it coarser in texture and less sweet than its counterpart. Their consistency also differs as marzipan is smooth and pliable, almost clay-like, while almond paste is somewhat gritty and spreadable, almost like a cookie dough. Because of their differences, marzipan and almond paste should not be substituted for one another, however you can use almond paste to make marzipan by balancing out the ratio of sugar to almond. While marzipan can often be enjoyed on its own as a candy, almond paste will require a few extra ingredients to turn it into a delicious treat. Often times, it is subtle differences in a recipe that can transform a whole ingredient into another. By understanding the differences between marzipan, fondant, frangipane, and almond paste, you can increase your skill level as a baker and add a variety of delicious recipes into your repertoire.