wafer – A very thin, crisp biscuit or cookie.
waffle – Crisp cakes made by pouring a thin batter on a waffle iron. The waffle bakes in the waffle iron, producing a honeycomb surface. The waffle batter is typically made from flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and milk, and served hot topped with butter and confectioners’ sugar, jam, honey, or syrup.
waffle iron – An appliance with two hinged metal plates that close together. Waffle batter is poured on the bottom plate, and then covered with the top plate. Electric waffle irons cook both sides of the waffle at once. Stovetop irons cook one side at a time; when one side is done, the iron is turned over to cook the other side.
walnut – The fruit of the walnut tree. Walnuts are widely used in baking. Walnuts have a buttery flavor that is enhanced by toasting. Shop for walnuts.
walnut oil – Oil extracted from English walnuts. Walnut oil is more expensive than vegetable oils, but adds a nice flavor to baked items. See recipe for Walnut Chiffon Cake. Shop for walnut oil.
water bath - Also known as bain-marie, the French term for water bath. A water bath protects delicate desserts, such as custards and cheesecakes as they bake from curdling and cracking, as the water provides insulation against high heat. The baking pan is set into a larger pan that holds a shallow amount of hot water.
wedding cake – A special cake, normally elaborately decorated, and the centerpiece of a wedding celebration.
whip – To make food such as batter or cream stiff and creamy by adding air to it with short quick movements, using a fork, whisk, or electric beater.
whipped cream – Heavy cream that is whipped to incorporate air to form a fluffy texture. Whipped cream is used as a topping, garnish, or filling for desserts.
whisk – To whip soft or liquid ingredients together, usually done with a wire whisk. Shop for whisks.
white chocolate – A blend of cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Because white chocolate contains no chocolate liquor it is technically not chocolate. See recipe for White Chocolate Holiday Bark. Shop for white chocolate.
wire cooling rack - Wire cooling racks are a necessity for setting just-out-of-the-oven hot baking pans to cool. Hot pans placed on a flat surface can cause the baked item to become soggy, due to condensation that forms under the pan. Cooling racks are also helpful to use when drizzling icing or chocolate on top of cookies, cakes, or pastries as the icing drips thru the rack instead of forming a puddle.
Cooling racks are sold in various sizes, including round, square, and rectangular shapes. They should have feet of at least ½ inch that raise them above the counter for good air circulation. Have at least one rack that is large enough to hold several batches of cookies. Shop for wire cooling racks.
wire whisk - A wire whisk is another versatile baking tool, used to whisk or stir wet or dry ingredients together, beating egg whites or cream, stirring ingredients as they heat in a saucepan and folding ingredients together. Whisks come in various sizes and strength of wire. The stronger the wire, the heavier the task the whisk can perform. A sauce whisk is long and narrow, designed to blend mixtures, reach into the corners of a saucepan, and whisk out any lumps without incorporating a lot of air into the mixture. A round, fat balloon whisk is designed to add air to mixtures and is the best choice for whipping egg whites and heavy cream. A small mini whisk is also helpful for small jobs such as beating eggs or egg yolks. Shop for wire whisks.
wooden spoon - Nothing beats a good set of wooden spoons in the kitchen. Wooden spoons are strong and durable, withstand heat, won’t scratch nonstick pans, and perfect for stirring almost anything, including hot liquids on the stovetop. Purchase spoons that are well made, strong, and made from a hard wood. Shop for wooden spoons.