I am into this baking world for more than 7 years and there are some regular questions I get about substitutions like: How should I make my recipe gluten-free? What should I use in place of butter in a recipe? Is it possible to make ‘so and so’ recipe without this kind of nut or so can I make a nut-free recipe?
A deluge of questions is always on my way when I talk to my students or have a conversation with people, online. One thing you should always keep in mind that ingredients are added to the recipe for some certain reasons and when you replace them, results will definitely make some difference.
After a lot of experiments, I have compiled a list of substitutions you can use while baking but remember they are not apposite to every recipe out there. I would recommend home bakers to experiment and educate yourself on how you can modify your recipe according to your needs.
Some Healthy and Top-Pick Substitutes
Black Beans for Flour
You can easily swap out your flour for a can of black beans. But don’t forget the beans should be drained and rinsed.
They are best used in brownies because that way you can cut out the gluten and get some extra dose of protein. You simply need to replace 1 cup of flour for 1 cup black bean puree while baking.
Gluten-Free Flour for Wheat Flour
Well, I have tried this a number of times and believe me this substitute has provided me with the best rich baked good even for those who are unable to eat gluten.
You know that adding gluten-free flour will lose the stickiness, which is really helpful to bind your cake, muffin, or pizza, so just add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour.
Unsweetened Applesauce for Sugar
When you substitute applesauce for sugar, then also you’re giving necessary sweetness to your baked goods without using all that ‘sugar’.
You can use the ingredient in a 1:1 ratio but remember that for every cup of applesauce you use for the recipe, you need to reduce the amount of liquid by the ¼ cup in it.
Stevia for Sugar
Did you know that stevia is a natural sweetener and is about 300 times sweeter than your sugar that means even a little amount can do wonders? Wait Wait, don’t get so excited because buying this ingredient can put a hole in your pocket as it is 5 times pricier than the granulated sugar.
Remember, it is swap with caution: For 1 cup sugar, you need to add 1 teaspoon liquid stevia or 2 tablespoons stevia powder.
Cacao nibs for Chocolate Chips
Well, I don’t know whether you know this or not that the chocolate chips you use actually started out as cacao nibs.
They are the roasted bits of cocoa beans are first processed and then turned into chocolate chips. So, why not go for unprocessed or we can say the least-processed ones.
Vanilla Extract for Sugar
Cut down your sugar in half and taking vanilla as the substitute, add a teaspoon of it in your recipe. This will give you as much flavor and too that with notably less sugar.
You can add it in equal ratios. Pro tip: Next time, when you start preparing your favorite tea-time cookies, add an extra ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract for 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Avocado puree for Butter
If I tell you about both these ingredients, they are both fats and when kept at room temperature both of them have the same consistency. If you want something healthy and butter is not your preference, go for avocado puree.
You can even use it in the desserts. Give your fudge brownies and dark chocolate flavorings a superb creaminess and subtle flavor. Well, you need to do some experiments to perfectly work with this substitute. I use 1 cup avocado puree for a cup of butter and it works.
Chia Seeds for Egg
You must be in a confused state right now but that’s true. Add 1 tablespoon chia seeds to 1 cup of water and let it rest for 15 minutes.
This will give you the right 1-to-1 egg substitute for baking. Personally, I would suggest not replacing chia for butter and eggs in the same recipe.
Flax Meal for Eggs
Here I’ll be sharing an old vegan trick with you guys. Add 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, also called as flax meal into 3 tablespoons warm water. Start whisking using a fork to combine.
Keep it in the fridge for about 15 minutes before you replace for 1 egg in any of your baked recipes.
Plain Yogurt with Fresh Fruit for Flavored Yogurt
Did you know that the pre-flavored yogurts you use are generally packed with extra sugar?
If you really want to reduce the sugar without compromising with the flavor always go for plain yogurt and then add fresh fruit or honey in case you want little extra sweetness.