Let’s Bake it Happen
We’ve all been there. You’re in the mood to bake something, only to discover that you don’t have all the ingredients you need to complete your treat. Luckily, there are substitutes you may already have at home that can replace many common baking ingredients.
Of course, baking is a science, and it can be more difficult to create substitutions for baking than for cooking. But, with a dash of creativity, you can easily navigate the world of baking substitutions. Here are some things to take into consideration when swapping ingredients:
Even if you know a recipe by heart, using tools and measuring cups can help to ensure that your recipe is consistently delicious. Having a conversion chart for measurements can also help to save on time.
Consider the flavor of the ingredient you want to swap, then try to choose a substitution that can enhance or mimic that flavor. For instance, many nut butters can be used as a butter alternative, but the flavor of the nut butter may not work in every recipe.
Some substitutions could have more or less moisture than the original ingredient. If the moisture level is drastically different, you may need to add more flour or moisture to your batter or dough.
Texture can make or break baked goods. Be sure to take the texture of ingredients into account when swapping.
Perfect in a Pinch
There are plenty of tried-and-true baking ingredient substitutions to use when you find you’re out of baking soda or missing an egg. What’s even better is that most substitutions come with nutritious benefits.
Flour is the backbone of most baked goods, so it isn’t recommended to make too many substitutions. However, if you find yourself in a jam or want some added nutrients, try these alternatives:
Whole Wheat Flour: Try replacing a portion of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. This will add fiber to your recipe and give it a nuttier flavor profile.
Gluten-free Flour: For those with dietary restrictions, gluten-free flour blends can be used as a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour.
Oat Flour: You can create this flour by grinding rolled oats in a blender. It’s a wonderful alternative for a hearty, wholesome touch.
Sugar is a sweet cornerstone, but there are various options to suit different tastes and dietary needs.
Honey or Maple Syrup: These natural sweeteners bring unique flavors and moisture to your creations. Remember to reduce other liquids in the recipe to maintain the right consistency.
Stevia or Erythritol: These low-calorie sweeteners are perfect for those seeking a sugar-free option. Adjustments may be needed for texture and taste.
Fruit Purées: Mashed bananas, applesauce or dates can sweeten your baking naturally while adding extra nutrients.
Try these recipes if you’re looking for some new ways to use sugar replacements in your baking.
Eggs are often crucial for structure and moisture, but they can be swapped out successfully with other items you may have on hand.
Flax or Chia Seeds: To replace 1 egg in a recipe, you can mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Plus, these seeds provide healthy fats and fiber.
Yogurt or Silken Tofu: These dairy- or plant-based options lend moisture and binding properties. They're especially great for muffins, cakes and brownies.
Baking Soda and Vinegar: This dynamic duo can mimic the leavening and binding properties of eggs. Simply use 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of vinegar in place of each egg.
Butter adds richness and flavor, but there are excellent alternatives for those who are lactose intolerant or seeking lower-fat options.
Coconut Oil: Its mild, slightly nutty flavor works wonders in cookies, cakes and pastries. Use refined coconut oil if you'd prefer a more neutral taste.
Greek Yogurt: Swap out half the butter with Greek yogurt for a tangy twist that also reduces fat content.
Nut Butters: Almond, cashew or peanut butter can be used as a flavorful, nutrient-rich substitute. Keep in mind that these may alter the taste profile.
Baking with Benefits
Not all baking ingredient substitutions need to be made because you’re running low on butter. You might decide that you want to boost the protein in a muffin recipe or find a way to get more vegetables into a loaf cake. Here are some sneaky substitutions you can make to add a nutritious boost to your baked goods.
Plenty of Protein
Protein Powder: You can substitute a third of the flour in your recipe for protein powder. Be careful though, since too much can dry out your dough.
Greek or Protein Yogurt: Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt, giving you extra nutrients. There are also protein-enhanced yogurts you may want to try.
Cottage Cheese: The texture may end up being a little different (depending on how you prepare it), but cottage cheese can be used in most recipes as a replacement for cream cheese.
Plant-based: Some vegan and vegetarian substitutions can also help to add more protein into your baking. Chia seeds, flax seeds and aquafaba all have protein benefits.
A Variety of Vegetables
The concept of adding vegetables may seem strange, but carrot cake and zucchini bread are both sweet staples when it comes to baking. Adding vegetables with a high water content can help to keep baked goods moist, while also adding more nutrition. The earthy flavor of beets or black beans can be disguised easily in chocolate-based recipes like brownies or cakes.
Flush with Fruit
Plenty of baked goods put their best fruit forward, but if you’re trying to pack in more nutrients, there are always ways to add more fruit. Unsweetened applesauce can be used as an egg replacement to add nutrition while making your recipe vegan-friendly. Try making a jam or fruit purée to add a marble effect to cakes, loafs or tarts. Or use fresh fruit to decorate your desserts.
The next time you find yourself in the middle of making cookies only to find that you’re an ingredient short, don’t panic. You can still create beautiful baked goods. For more helpful tips and tricks, visit our blog.