Substituting Ingredients

I was sitting out on my back deck enjoying the river flow by.  The sun finally came out today and it feels like summer is finally showing up.  I just drank my green smoothie, and I started to think about what my body wants now.  Apples and raisins came to mind and I found a great recipe for Apple Raisin Squares.  It only requires a half cup of sugar and you can substitute sugar with anything from agave and stevia to maple syrup or honey. If you do this, you would have to decrease liquid in the recipe.  Also try substituting some raw ingredients when you can, like raw walnuts, or make your own flour!  If that sounds interesting to you, here are some conversions to help you out.

1 1/2 pounds of wheat equal about 4 cups flour, 1 pound of oats equal about 3 cups flour, 1 pound of corn equals about 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 pound of millet equals about 2 1/2 cups flour.  Here’s that recipe:

Apple Raisin Squares

1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/4 cup corn, safflower or light olive oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 cups finely chopped apples, 1 cup raisins, 1 cup chopped walnuts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, oil, sugar, vanilla and apples.  Add raisins and walnuts. Stir in flour mixture until thoroughly mixed.  Pour into 2 greased 8×8 pans.  Bake for 35-40 minutes and cool and cut into squares.

Check out these substitutions for some favorite baked good recipes:

Barley flour has a mild flavor and can be substituted in pancakes, cookies and quick breads.  You can replace up to half of any wheat flour in a recipe.

Buckwheat flour is the same for substituting as barley, but in baked goods it will be heavier.

Brown rice flour is great for those with wheat allergies.  You can replace up to 1/4 of any wheat flour. Rice flour absorbs more moisture, so you may need to add more liquid.

Quinoa flour is higher in fat and tends to make a moister baked good.  Replace up to 1/2 of wheat or white flour in your recipe.

Wheat germ can make for a more nutritious baked good.  Replace up to 1/3 of flour.

Spelt flour tends to make heavier baked goods so you would need to increase your baking powder.  I look for baked goods that contain spelt flour when I am shopping for treats.  People with wheat allergies can tolerate spelt and is great for making pasta and bread.

My favorite, almond flour.  Less carbs than white flour and they help raise HDL (the good cholesterol) and lower LDL (the bad).  Using almond flour instead of wheat flour in your favorite baking recipes will result in a similar taste.  Baked goods tend to brown more quickly with almond flour, so adjust your oven temp about twenty degrees.

This one I’d like to try myself….coconut flour.  It is the highest in fiber of any flour available.  It’s gluten free and you can substitute a quarter of your regular flour with it.  Add an equivalent amount of liquid to the recipe.  If you want to only use it, add one egg per ounce of coconut flour otherwise it may taste dry.

If you are allergic to wheat, try gluten free.  You can purchase great gluten-free products at most health food stores and now a lot of grocery stores have gluten-free isles.  You can even buy gluten-free flour.  When you substitute gluten-free for wheat flour, your best bet would be to stick with recipes that have a small amount of flour.  You can make pastry dough with maize cornflour, milk powder, coconut and butter.  Replace gluten in your baking with xanthum gum, guar gum or pre-gel starch.

Instead of oil?  How about apple sauce?  It may make cakes a bit heavier, but still good.  When substituting for sugar, honey for example, will taste sweeter than granulated, so you would need less.  When substituting with maple syrup, grade B is thicker and darker and better for baking and costs less.  Use 3/4 cup for every cup of white sugar and decrease the liquid by 3 tablespoons.  Date sugar, made by grinding dates, can be used exactly the same way as ordinary sugar.  I could write a whole blog on sugar substitutes like Nutra-Sweet and Equal, but I’ll just end with this, “The final report of a seven-year study by the Ramiazzini Foundation on aspartame (also known as Nutra-Sweet or Equal) has linked it to high rates of lymphomas, luekemias, urinary tumors, tumors of certain nerves and other cancers in rats.”

Here’s to substituting some good things with even better things!

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