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It’s happened to me more times than I can count. I’m halfway through baking cookies when I realized that I don’t have enough butter, eggs, or I’ve ran out of some other ingredient.
I’m the girl who loves following recipes to the T, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. I had to figure out substitutions and easy swaps that even a broke twenty-something could make.
I’ve put together 6 tried and true baking hacks that I’ve come to love over the years.
Keep reading to find out what they are!
6 Baking Hacks You Need Right Now!
Sub Flax Seeds For Eggs
I learned this trick in 2018 when I went vegan for five seconds (no shade, I wish I could have kept it up!) However, I loved how versatile the flax seeds were when I was baking!
I’ve been able to use flax eggs instead of chicken eggs in so many different recipes, and it’s a great choice for vegans or anyone looking to make healthy changes in recipes.
Flax eggs are healthy, cheap, gluten-free, soy-free, and a breeze to make. Flax seeds also provide iron and protein! It’s a win all around.
How to Make Flax Eggs
Whisk 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 2.5 tablespoons of water. Some people like to use 3 tablespoons, so just watch the consistency of the mixture. Once mixed, let it rest for about 5 minutes or more until the mixture has thickened.
Be aware that a flax egg will not have the same effect as a regular egg, as it doesn’t have the same binding properties. However, I’ve found them to work great in brownies, pancakes, bread, muffins, and cookies.
This is one of my favorite recipes to make this baking hack with!
I love using butter in recipes, but there are so many times I’ve forgotten to stop by the store and pick up extra sticks before I run out.
My favorite substitution is to use coconut oil in place of butter. The reason why I love coconut oil is that there aren’t any calculations involved.
You can use coconut oil in place of butter with a 1:1 ratio. This means that if your recipe calls for a cup of butter, you can swap it out for a cup of coconut oil.
The Wonderful World of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a pretty neutral-tasting oil, so you don’t have to worry about it drastically affecting the taste of your baked goods. I live in a hot area, so my coconut oil never even gets the chance to solidify.
However, if you live in a colder climate, all you’ll have to do is pop your coconut oil in the microwave for a bit to melt it down.
Personally, I love using coconut oil in cookies. I’ve noticed that some cookies come out even better than if I had used butter! For starting out as one of my baking hacks, its become quite a staple in my house.
If you don’t have coconut oil on hand, try using another neutral oil like canola oil! It generally also works as a 1:1 ratio, but depending on the recipe you can choose to use a bit more or less.
This oil also doesn’t have a big effect on the flavor of your recipe. It might also affect the texture of some recipes, and it’s a bit higher in calories, so just keep that in mind.
Don’t Have Buttermilk? No Stress!
I rarely have buttermilk on hand at my house. I would only ever use a cup or so and then the rest would just sit there, forgotten and abandoned. Along with everything else in my fridge I said I would use and didn’t.
So, to save the buttermilk from its unavoidable abandonment issues, I decided to stop buying it. Instead, I would use whatever milk I had on hand, and just make my own.
I typically make buttermilk one of these two ways:
1 cup of milk (regular milk works best but I have used almond milk!) + 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
1 cup of milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice
Stir the vinegar or lime/lemon juice into the milk and then let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then you’ve got your buttermilk sub!
Add Cinnamon & Nutmeg
This is more of a personal hack, being that I love the taste of cinnamon and nutmeg.
I’ve always loved baking, but ever since I moved out I kicked into high gear. And I started to notice that cinnamon and nutmeg were missing from a load of recipes!
A quick way to elevate simple pancakes, cookies muffins, or quick bread is to add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, even if the recipe doesn’t call for it.
I’ve noticed that cinnamon and nutmeg have taken ordinary oatmeal cookies to a whole new level of deliciousness after adding just a dash.
Try it out and let me know what you think!
Make Mixing Easy
We’ve seen every recipe known to man ask you to have two bowls. One for the wet ingredients, and one for the dry. Then you’re supposed to add one set of ingredients to the other.
However, when you first move out, you don’t always have an abundance of bowls. You’re not always in the mood to wash a pile of dishes.
So what should you do?
This is probably going to cause some form of anarchy or get me canceled, so lean in close.
*whispers* Mix everything in the same bowl.
I know, I know.
Then…why are they always telling us to mix separately??
Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t going to work for every single recipe on the planet. Some ingredients are quite finicky, and you have to mix things separately.
However, for your run of the mill banana bread or chocolate chip cookie, the world won’t stop turning if you chuck it all in the same bowl.
If you plan to do this, be sure to mix all your wet ingredients first into your main bowl. Then add all your dry ingredients, starting with the flour, if your recipe calls for it. I normally hold off on mixing until I’ve got a little mountain of ingredients, but feel free to mix as you go!
Vanilla Extract is Overrated
I’m gonna be honest, this is one of my favorite baking hacks.
I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t have money to shell out $7-12 dollars on some pure Madagascan vanilla.
While you could buy imitation vanilla, I’ve never been a big fan of the artificial taste. Or maybe I’m just bougie.
At first, I thought it was just me who was shocked at the price of vanilla but turns out I wasn’t going crazy. Apparently, in the past decade, vanilla prices have skyrocketed.
The 2017 cyclone in Madagascar damaged 30% of the crops of the world’s largest producer. It’s safe to say that these prices won’t be coming down anytime soon.
So, what should you do when you’ve run out of vanilla?
Are you ready for it?
You heard me.
Turns out, no one even notices if you leave vanilla extract out of recipes! Over the past year, I’ve tested countless cookie, brownie, muffin, and bread recipes to see if it would make a huge difference.
It never did!
So, save your coins, and don’t panic if you don’t have any vanilla extract in your pantry. Once you start leaving it out you’ll wonder why you ever had to buy it in the first place.
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