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Substituting ingredients in baked goods has gotten to be a big deal in recent years due to the increasing popularity of diets, fads, trends, and unfortunately the increasing amount of allergies and sensitivities. It is fairly easy to substitute ingredients in baked goods however, as long as you know the exchange rates for each substitution. Whether or not you do have a health requirement, we can all always stand to healthify our ingredients with higher quality ones. The following ingredients are excellent options for upleveling the common ingredients found in almost every baked good.
Sugar is obviously detrimental to our health, so replacing it with agave or honey is an excellent way to keep your pastries from wreaking havoc on your blood sugar, organs and energy levels. Because sugar is a dry ingredient, replacing it with a liquid ingredient like agave or honey requires a simple adjustment. For each cup of sugar required, replace with 2/3 of a cup of agave or honey, and reduce other liquids by 1/3 – for example, any additional water or milk required.
Coconut oil really is a miracle substance. It is healthy for both the liver and skin, unlike any other fat available, and digests beautifully as opposed to regular pasteurized butter. Coconut oil is anti- viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, so your pastries will last longer that it would with butter. Simply exchange coconut oil for butter in equal amounts.
Eggs are the binding component of any recipe – they keep the dry ingredients together. Vegans had a hard time with recipes before realizing that they could substitute eggs with a healthful seed known as flax seeds (also known linseed in some countries). Flax seeds are high in Omega-3s and for anyone familiar with making flax crackers, are very binding. They stick together fairly strongly. For each egg required in the recipe, grind1 teaspoon of flax and then mixing it with 3 tablespoons of water which will create an egg-like mixture that works well in recipes requiring eggs.
Milk is hard to digest for most people, whether you realize it physically or not. Replacing milk with almond or rice milk is an easy way to easy up the digestion of your baked good, while bringing down the calories and keeping the nutrition up. Simply exchange the almond, rice or oat milk in equal amounts to the regular milk. It won’t change the consistency. For buttermilk, simply add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the milk, whisk, and let stand for at least 5 minutes before adding it to your recipe.
White flour is nutrition-less, gluey, and acidic. It binds to your intestinal tract and is very hard for your body to process let alone pass through fully without leaving residue behind. Whole wheat flour is slightly healthier in that it is less processed and has a tad more fiber and nutrients. Simply replace each cup equally with whole wheat flour for breads, muffins and cookies. For cakes and cupcakes, use whole wheat pastry flour which is a finer grind for a lighter texture.
When replacing ingredients, it’s important to try one or two at a time to see how the chemistry works together – overhauling the whole recipe immediately may prove to be a disaster, so take it easy and work with the recipe by adding or subtracting dry or wet ingredients as is needed. When upleveling your ingredients, always start with flour, then milk, then eggs, then butter, then sugar for ease of figuring out the changes and their effects.