17 Baking Ingredient Hacks

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bakinghacks
I was making this lemon slice when I discovered I did not have 3 of the necessary ingredients: condensed milk, icing sugar and finely shredded coconut. This slice was one of those no-bake old school numbers that I’ve never made but eaten a lot of at grandmotherly afternoon teas and the like. I hate going out to buy a few ingredients, because I invariably come back with more stuff than I originally intended and spend more money than I should. Also, leaving the house with children in tow is no mean feat. Especially when it’s raining, and you live in the mountains. Also the shops close pretty early up here, so I don’t have a late night shopping option. Here are some ingredient hacks for baked goods. Instead of heading out to the shops, see if any of these tricks will save you a trip.

  1. Powdered/Icing sugar – If you have caster sugar or white sugar, process it in a spice grinder, food processor or blender until very fine.
  2. Brown sugar – process together 2 tablespoons of molasses with 1 cup of white sugar for every cup of brown sugar.
  3. Self-raising flour – add 2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of flour. Don’t have baking powder? Try our DIY baking powder recipe here.
  4. Butter – try substituting butter at a 1:1 ratio with coconut oil. Use half the amount of vegetable shortening. In cakes you could use 1 cup of Greek yogurt or 1 cup of applesauce.
  5. Buttermilk – combine 1 cup of milk with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice or just sub out the whole amount of buttermilk with the equivalent in plain yogurt
  6. Corn Syrup – as awful as this stuff is, if you really need it, combine 1 cup of sugar with ¼ water and bring it to the boil so the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool and then use as needed. Without the preservatives, this stuff hardens and crystallises, so only make as much as you need right then.
  7. Cream of tartar – for one teaspoon replace it with 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar
  8. Eggs – for one egg try a mashed banana or ¼ cup mashed pumpkin or 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water or ¼ cup applesauce. More egg replacers, here.
  9. Lemon Juice – try half the required amount with apple cider vinegar. Or if you happen to have it, ¼ teaspoon of citric acid per teaspoon of juice.
  10. Dry breadcrumbs – the equivalent amount of crushed crackers, finely processed rolled oats or crushed cornflakes
  11. Thick cream – use the equivalent of evaporated milk or combine ¾ cup of milk with 1/3 cup melted butter
  12. Cocoa powder – try 30 grams of very dark chocolate to replace one tablespoon of cocoa powder, preferably unsweetened. Reduce the amount of fat in the recipe by 2 teaspoons. Want to make hot chocolate?  Try our 5 unusual recipes, here.
  13. Cornstarch – equivalent of potato or tapioca starch, half the amount of glutinous rice flour or double the amount of plain flour.
  14. Ripe banana – only have not-so-ripe bananas and you’re desperate to make a banana cake or banana bread? Place bananas in the oven at 150 degrees Celcius for half an hour. The skin will blacken and the banana inside will be sweeter. Freezing a banana overnight works also.
  15. Finely shredded coconut – When they say you need that dry desiccated coconut, don’t panic. The desiccated stuff is generally awful and gets relegated to the back of the pantry getting stale until needed for a specific recipe. It is better value to buy large coconut flakes, which are very tasty and can be used for making paleo coconut chips or for putting in granola. Use a spice grinder, blender or food processor to grind down the large flakes into the fine, snow like coconut that you need for the recipe.
  16. Almond paste – some recipes require the smooth sweet marzipan-like almond paste. Combine 1 cup of almond meal, ¾ cup of icing sugar, 1 egg white and a pinch of salt for a ½ cup of almond paste. Add a few drops of almond extract if you happen to have any.
  17. Condensed milk – combined 2 cups of milk and ½ cup caster sugar and place in a heavy pot. Place on medium heat and whisk until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and add 5 tablespoons butter. Allow to cook on low heat, whisking every 10 minutes for up to 3.5 – 4 hours or until the mixture has achieved the texture of condensed milk. Do not allow the mixture to burn and make sure. Makes about 400mls of condensed milk.  Once you have it, make this 1 ingredient caramel sauce.

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