|Raisins – Sun or air-dried grapes typically made from Thomson seedless grapes. Raisins are small, sweet, withered, and often used in baking. Dark raisins are brownish-black in color and probably the most popular variety. Golden raisins have a pale, golden-yellow color. They are treated with sulfur dioxide to prevent them from turning dark. See recipe for Raisin Spice Cookies.
ramekin – An individual sized ceramic baking dish, normally smooth on the inside with a fluted exterior. Ramekins are often used to bake custards and soufflés.
raspberry sauce – A thick pourable mixture made with pureed fresh raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and often chambord or framboise liqueur.
red velvet cake – A Southern chocolate cake dyed bright or dark red with food coloring, and normally frosted with cream cheese frosting. The red color makes these cakes popular at Christmas time. See recipe for Red Velvet Cake and Red Velvet Cupcakes.
refrigerate – To place food in a refrigerator so it becomes chilled.
refrigerator cookies – Also called icebox cookies. The cookie dough is rolled into a log shape, chilled in the refrigerator or freezer until firm, then sliced and baked. See recipe for Vanilla Nut Refrigerator Cookies.
rest – Yeast dough often needs to sit without being handled.
ribbon – A term that describes the consistency of a batter or beaten eggs. The mixture is beaten until it is thick, and when the beater or whisk is lifted from the bowl the batter drops slowly in “ribbons” and holds its shape for a few seconds before sinking into the mixture.
rice paper – An edible and almost transparent paper made from water and rice flour or the pith of the Chinese rice-paper plant. The paper is flavorless and is used to line baking pans and separating cake layers.
rice pudding – A slow-cooked pudding made with rice cooked with milk, sugar, butter, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and normally raisins or currants. Rice pudding has a creamy texture due to the slow cooking which allows the rice to absorb all of the milk.
ricotta cheese – Fresh unripened moist cheese with a slightly sweet taste. Ricotta cheese can be mixed with sugar and served over fresh fruit, and is often used in many Italian desserts and cheesecakes. See recipe for Ricotta Butter Cake.
rising buckets - A lidded rising bucket is a 2 to 6 quart acrylic or plastic bucket with measurements on the side, making it easy to judge when the dough had doubled or tripled in size. An alternative is placing your dough in a large mixing bowl and covering with a small kitchen towel.
rolled cookies – A cookie made by rolling out firm or chilled cookie dough with a rolling pin, and then cut into individual shapes with a cookie cutter.
rolled fondant - Rolled fondant is the smooth, elegant, white as snow or food color tinted sugar icing used to cover many professional cakes. A fondant covering helps the cake underneath to stay moist, along with creating a perfectly smooth blank canvas that other decorations can be applied to, or left elegantly plain. Classic rolled fondant is made with confectioners’ sugar, gelatin, glucose or corn syrup, and glycerin. Rolled fondant is mixed, kneaded until pliable and smooth, and rolled out with a rolling pin. See recipe for Classic Rolled Fondant.
rolling pin - A good rolling pin is essential for rolling pie pastry, sugar cookie dough, and bread dough. There are two basic styles of rolling pins, dowel and ball bearing. When deciding which to buy try it out on a flat surface and choose the one that is most comfortable for you to use. A rolling pin, if properly taken care of, should last a lifetime. Never submerge it in water or place in the dishwasher. To clean simply wipe it down with a warm damp cloth and allow to air dry.
A dowel rolling pin is a single piece of rounded wood, some have tapered ends, and some are long and straight. To roll, place your hands in the center of the pin and roll from the fingertips to the palm of your hand and back again. My favorite is a French tapered pin, perfect for rolling a circular pastry.
Ball bearing pins have a long barrel in the center, made of wood, marble, metal, or plastic, that moves separately from the handles. The handles are what bear your weight as you are rolling dough. Shop for rolling pins.
rolling pin rings - Also called rolling pin spacers, these are rubber rings that slip onto opposite ends of your rolling pan, and are ideal for getting your dough to an even, uniform thickness. The rings raise the pin from the counter a precise distance according to the thickness of the rings being used. The thickness of the dough is determined by the space between the pin and the counter. Shop for rolling pin rings.
rolling pin sleeve and pastry board cloths - These cotton gauze cloths are designed to keep pastry dough from sticking to the rolling pin and pastry board. The rolling pin sleeve is a cylinder of gauze that fits over the pin; the cloth is a large square, normally canvas that covers the pastry board or work area on which you are rolling. By rubbing flour into the weave of the cloth and rolling pin cover, you create a nonstick coating, enabling you to roll dough more easily, and allowing less flour to be absorbed into the dough. The pastry cloth also allows you to easily rotate the pastry as you are rolling. Shop for pastry cloth and rolling pin covers.
room temperature – The average normal room temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F. Some baking ingredients, such as butter, are best used at room temperature.
rosette – A swirled design that looks similar to a rose, made from piping icing or whipped cream with a pastry bag and star shaped decorating tip.
rose water – A pale pink, sweet, fragrant liquid distilled from rose petals, used as a flavoring in desserts, pastries, and confections. Rose water is very concentrated and only a small amount is needed to impart the flavor. See recipe for Rose water Meringue Cookies. Shop for rose water.
roulade – Also called a jelly roll is a sponge cake that is rolled up in the shape of a log after baking and while still warm. When the cake is cooled it is unrolled and spread with jam or other fillings such as whipped cream or buttercream. The cake is then re-rolled into the log shape. The top may be frosted or dusted with confectioners’ sugar, then sliced to serve. See recipe for Strawberry Roulade.
royal icing – An icing that dries to a long-lasting, rock hard finish. Royal icing is made with confectioners’ sugar, egg whites or dried meringue powder, and a small amount of water or lemon juice. Royal icing is often tinted with food coloring and used to decorate cakes and cookies. See Royal Icing.
rubber or silicone spatulas - Rubber or Silicone spatulas are one of the most versatile and important tools in a baking kitchen. Rubber spatulas have mostly been replaced with silicone spatulas which are easier to clean and have a higher heat resistance. Spatulas have many uses including scraping batters down from the sides and bottom of a mixing bowl, spreading fillings, stirring stovetop custards and chocolate while heating, folding lighter ingredients into heavy batters, scrambling eggs, and more.
Spatulas come in a variety of sizes and may be made of a solid piece of silicone or have a silicone blade attached to a wooden, plastic or stainless steel handle. A small 1 inch spatula is handy for scraping out the inside of measuring cups and containers. A 2 inch spatula is good for stirring, blending, and scraping the sides and bottom of a mixing bowl. A larger 3 inch spatula is best for folding ingredients together. Shop for spatulas.
rugelach – A rich cookie made with a cream cheese dough that is cut into triangles and rolled around a filling into a crescent shape. The filling is normally made with jam, poppy seeds, raisins, chocolate, or nuts. See recipe for Rugelach.
ruler - An everyday 18 inch clear plastic, metal, or wood ruler is a helpful tool for measuring pans, measuring rolled pastry dough, cutting bar cookies into uniform sizes, as a guide when splitting cakes into equal layers, or measuring 1 inch cuts for cinnamon rolls. The ruler also provides a neat, straight cutting edge and is easy to wash.
rum butter – A hard sauce made with butter, sugar, and rum.
Russian teacake cookies – Also called Mexican Wedding Cake, Italian Butter Nut Cookies, Butterballs, and Snowballs. These cookies are rich with butter and nuts, rolled in confectioners’ sugar and seem to melt in your mouth. See recipe for Russian Teacake Cookies.