Holiday Baking Ingredient Substitutions

With the holiday season fast approaching, I suspect many of you are beginning to search for that perfect recipe to serve your family and friends. However, many recipes call for butter, cups and cups of sugar, wheat flour, or eggs. With so many suffering from food sensitivities, these recipes may not be an option. Now, I could just give you a list of recipes, but wouldn’t it be great for some simple substitutions to try in your families’ favorite recipes? Take a peek at these ideas and try one out for that holiday recipe you have been drooling over!

Butter is a healthy fat option, but for those with a dairy sensitivity, you may be in search for an alternative. I’m not going to suggest using fake buttery spreads like margarine, filled with harmful chemicals which can contribute to disease. It’s about choosing real food that nourishes our bodies! Try one of these ideas in place of butter:

Avocados: These velvety bundles of fruit are amazing! They provide vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants and heart healthy fat. And get this, you can use them in place of butter. Instead of butter, use pureed avocado – cup for cup, tablespoon for tablespoon. 

Unsweetened Applesauce: Apples are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber as well as helping to regulate blood sugar. Use the same amount of applesauce as amount of butter. 

Pumpkin Puree: Pumpkin is jammed packed with antioxidants, fiber and rich in minerals. Use 3/4 of a can of pumpkin puree for every cup of butter. 

Raw or Virgin Coconut Oil: This is a heart healthy oil, aiding the body in becoming more resistant to harmful viruses and bacteria, as well as has the ability to fight off yeast, fungus and candida. Simply replace butter with an equal amount of coconut oil. Be aware of using in frosting. Coconut oil has a low melting point, which can result in your frosting sliding right off those cupcakes! 

Palm Oil: Another great heart healthy oil you can use at a 1:1 ratio in place of butter. Spectrum’s Organic Butter Flavor Shortening is a great option! (Ingredients: mechanically pressed organic palm oil, natural butter flavor (non-dairy), and organic annatto extract for color)

By now, I am sure you have heard sugar can negatively affect the body, from obesity, to being an addictive substance, to feeding cancer. If you are looking to cut down on processed sugar in your favorite recipe, try one of these healthy substitutions: 

  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce = 1 cup of sugar (you may need to reduce the liquid in the recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract = 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp liquid stevia or 2 tbsp stevia powder = 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of honey = 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of maple syrup = 1 cup of sugar

Remember, a little goes a long way! Start with less and add more as needed.

If you are new to the gluten free lifestyle, you may be searching for a substitution to wheat flour. These are great ingredients to try as an alternative!

  • 1 cup pureed cooked black beans – yes, black beans! = 1 cup flour 
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour + 1 egg per oz of coconut flour + a dash of water = 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup almond flour = 1 cup flour (you may need to add an egg or binding agent)
  • 1 cup Namaste Perfect Flour* (Gluten Free) = 1 cup wheat flour (*Ingredients: sweet brown rice flour, tapioca starch, brown rice flour, arrowroot powder, sorghum flour and xanthan gum) 

Eggs are great, full of protein, vitamins and minerals. But they can be troublesome for someone with a sensitivity. Using your favorite recipes, try one of these variations:

  • 1/2 mashed banana = 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds + 3 tbsp of water (mix separately and allow to thicken before adding to your recipe) = 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp water + 1 tbsp melted coconut oil + 2 tsp baking powder = 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp EnerG Egg Replacer* = 1 egg (*Ingredients: potato starch, tapioca flour, leavening (calcium lactate, calcium carbonate, cream of tartar), cellulose gum, modified cellulose)

Keep in mind, if your recipe calls for more than 3 eggs, you may need to add or decrease a little liquid to your recipe depending on which substitution you use.

Of course, every recipe is different! Give a few of these ideas a try and play with the ratios as needed while preparing that amazing holiday recipe for your friends and family! 

Happy Baking!