In a Pinch? Then Add a Pinch!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means a lot of cooking and time spent in the kitchen! And can I just say- one of the worst feelings ever is when you get halfway through a recipe and suddenly realize you are missing an ingredient! Granted, if you read the recipe through entirely before starting it, this wouldn't be a problem. But I tend to glance through the ingredients quickly and usually assume I have everything- and then realize halfway that I am actually missing a key ingredient!

If you find yourself in a pickle like this within the next couple weeks, don't despair! Often all it requires is a little creativity and a pinch of something else;). Here are some ideas to add to your bucket of tricks!

*For on-the-spot cake flour, use this simple trick. For every cup of flour your recipe calls for, take out 2 tablespoons of flour. Put the remaining flour in a sifter and replace the 2 tablespoons with cornstarch. Sift it several times to really mix them together and bingo! You've just made a substitute for cake flour.

*If you find that you need heavy cream, mix 2/3 cups of whole milk and 1/3 cup of unsalted butter. (I am always forgetting if I have heavy cream or not, so I am so excited about his trick!)

*Mix a little molasses with your granulated white sugar and you have instant brown sugar!

*Buttermilk is definitely something I don't always have on hand. If you find yourself needing buttermilk last minute, combine 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and let it sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the milk to thicken.

*If you're short on eggs when baking, try using applesauce or bananas and reduce the sugar amount to make up for the added sweetness;).

*If you have an effective food processor or blender, you can grind popcorn kernels to create cornmeal on the spot!

*If you're baking cookies or a cake and want some different color variations for your sprinkles, simply add a couple drops of gel food coloring to clear sugar granules and mix it all together. Add a tiny bit of cornstarch to break up any clumps.

*If you don't have any unsweetened baking chocolate on hand, just combine 3 Tbs. of cocoa powder with 1 Tbs. butter, shortening, or vegetable oil. Melt the butter/shortening and combine with the cocoa. This will represent 1 oz. of baking chocolate.

* Put one teaspoon of cornstarch and ½ cup of granulated white sugar into a food processor and blend for 5-10 minutes- and voila! Powdered sugar!

What other tricks do all you wonderful cooks have up your sleeves when you find yourselves in a pinch like this? Share the wealth of your knowledge in the comments below;).


    Camille Hoffmann
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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