Sneaky Baking Subs

(image courtesy of
Article by Sam Falb

Ever run into the thought of baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies at 11:30 PM? Or wake up on a cold, rainy day and ache for nothing more than a warm slice of apple pie and a mug of tea? The excitement and novelty of such a project at what feels like such a right time is a great feeling, and completing that batch of cookies or magnificent pie provides reward like nothing else. But what if you swing open the pantry door, grab your flour, salt, chocolate, cinnamon... and as your eyes dart around you slowly realize, we don't have any sugar. How can you bake those cookies without such an important ingredient as sugar? Your first thought is most likely: I can't. And then you close the pantry door and walk away, without those baked goods you know you deserve.

Today, I'm here to show you how to treat yourself any day of the week with a multitude of average ingredients that can be found in almost any generic household around the world! Get those pans out and mixers ready, because what I'm about to tell you will ensure that you're never betrayed by your kitchen again.

- Sugar -

For thousands of years, sugar has played an integral role in countless baked goods and delicacies worldwide. From age old tarts and custards dating back to the Middle Ages, to more modern desserts such as s'mores and cronuts, sugar has led the game in flavoring these treats with bursts of the sweet flavor that keeps bringing us back for more. With the popularity of this ingredient, it's no wonder that amateur bakers often find themselves running back and forth to the supermarket for the next big bag, shouldering the cost and stress of restocking time and time again, not to mention the simple unhealthiness of conventional white sugar (774 calories per cup). Fortunately, many potential solutions have been hiding in kitchen cabinets, just waiting to be utilized as a healthier, or more convenient option.


for every one cup of sugar: 3/4 cup of honey

fun facts:
  • offers 132 milligrams of potassium
  • can help reduce sore throats
  • raw honey is rich in vitamins B and C

***lower the prescribed oven temperature by 25 degress to prevent browning (honey speeds up this process)

Maple Syrup:

for every one cup of sugar: 3/4 cup of maple syrup

fun facts:
  • a one cup serving carries 180 milligrams of calcium
  • contains important minerals such as iron and zinc
  • contains 322 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids
***use real maple syrup, not maple flavored for the best taste and effect

Agave Nectar/Syrup:

for every one cup of sugar: 2/3 of a cup of agave nectar

fun facts:

  • provides sweetness without as much effect on blood sugar levels
***be sure to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by one-quarter cup and combine the nectar/syrup with other liquids, NOT dry ingredients (to minimize oil layering)

- Butter -

Butter, butter, butter. It's definitely safe to say that a good portion of the human race has a love/hate relationship with butter. Used on a myriad of foods and dishes such as grilled cheese, croissants, bread, and even simple corn on the cob, this ingredient almost never fails to improve the meal and provide real, warm taste to an average dining experience. Butter is created through churning fresh or fermented milk in order to separate the butterfat (fat in milk) from the buttermilk (left over liquid after milk has been churned). Some of butter's original uses were acting as fuel for lamps and protecting against the cold in the form of a skin product. In the modern day, butter is primarily used for foods such as baked goods and pasta dishes, and in some cases, especially for health reasons, switching out those saturated fats can truly be for the better.

Olive Oil:

for every one cup of olive oil: 3/4 cup

fun facts:
  • loaded with healthier unsaturated fats
  • contains vitamins E and K
  • has zero cholesterol
***has a stronger flavor than butter so the taste of the product may be slightly altered

Greek Yogurt:

for every cup of butter: 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt

fun facts:
  • adds protein and moisture
  • provides velvety texture for breads and cakes
***be sure to use PLAIN yogurt so the recipe is not overtaken by flavored yogurt

Apple Sauce:

for every one cup of applesauce: same amount

fun facts:
  • ensures moistness
  • immense drop in calorie-count
  • adds fiber
***consider adding half the amount of applesauce for each cup of butter if you prefer less dense baked goods

Butter and sugar are just a few of the vast amount of ingredients in your household that can be switched out for more unique, healthier ingredients. Eggs, for instance, can even be subbed out with chia seeds and there are countless other possibilities. With this guide in mind, go out in the world ready to make, and ready to bake, whatever treat your heart desires. Good luck!