Monday, February 22, 2016

Do You Bake? - Non-Dairy Butter Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

What to do if your recipe calls for BUTTER but you need a NON-Dairy solution:

Dairy-Free Margarine
Most non-dairy margarines work well in baking, cooking, and/or as spreads. Several non-hydrogenated brands are listed within our product lists, such as Earth Balance / Smart Balance, Melt
While margarine can substitute butter in a one for one ratio, it is most often noted that you may reduce the amount of vegetable shortening by up to 1/4 cup for every 1 cup of butter that a recipe calls for. However, I have successfully used as little as 1/2 the amount called for on many occasions.
Cooking or Baking Oils
Oil is the most used butter replacement in my household. This can take some experimentation, but oil can be utilized for butter, even in baking. Obviously oil will work great anywhere butter is called for in sautéing or roasting. However, in baking much less oil is typically required, as it will yield a somewhat “oily” product if you use a 1:1 ratio. As a fat equivalent, they say that 7/8 cup vegetable oil equals 1 cup of butter. I don’t typically agree with this. I use 3/4 the amount or less.
My popular butter-free chocolate chip cookies use 1/2 cup of extra light olive oil rather than the 1 cup of butter called for in equivalent recipes. The results are gobbled up quickly and with many smiles. If a recipe specifically calls for melted butter, then you can replace it with the equivalent amount of oil.
Fruit Purees for Baking
Blend up that apple pulp or a handful of prunes and you have an excellent, healthy way to substitute butter when baking sweets and quick breads. In fact, pureed bananas, pineapple, and pears also give an excellent “fat” consistency to recipes with an added jolt of health and flavor. We have a few tips to help maximize your results:
Because the fruit will add more sweetness than butter, reduce the sugar in your recipes a touch.
Think of the flavor of your recipe to judge which fruit flavor will work best. For example, prune puree works particularly well in chocolate desserts, such as brownies; and pineapple can add a tropical flair to most quick breads.
Use 1/2 cup of pureed fruit in place of one cup of butter. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of vegetable shortening or oil back into the recipe to achieve the best results.
If you don’t have fresh fruit on hand, drained applesauce, strained baby food fruit, or a puree of water with any dried fruit (apples, apricots, peaches, etc.) will work in a pinch. See our Prune Puree recipe below for dried fruit help. Or, try a mixture of 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup vegetable oil as an excellent replacement for butter in cakes and quick breads.

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