Be smart about substitutions!

If you run out of baking soda, can you use baking powder instead? How about brown sugar: Does it make a difference if you use light or dark?

Unsalted vs. salted Butter Baking recipes will call for unsalted butter plus the proper amount of salt. If you’re using salted butter, go easy if you also add salt.

Baking soda vs. baking powder These leavening agents make goodies rise but not in the same way. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, an alkali that makes batter-raising carbon dioxide gas when it’s mixed with an acid like buttermilk or molasses. Baking powder is a combo of baking soda and cream of tartar, an acid. If you have no baking powder, mix one part baking soda with two parts cream of tartar. No baking soda? Head to the store!

Light vs. dark brown vs. turbinado sugar They’re interchangeable usually. Light and dark brown sugars are white sugar colored and flavored with molasses. Dark has more molasses, so it has more color and flavor. Turbinado has molasses but is granulated, and has coarser, dryer crystals than brown sugar.

Vanilla extract vs. vanilla flavoring Extract is vanilla, alcohol, and water. It has more of a taste bang; flavoring might contain artificial ingredients.

Grated nutmeg vs. whole nutmeg Grated might seem convenient, but it will lose its potency faster than whole. Grate only what you need and use the finest holes on a box grater or buy a nutmeg grater.

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