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Common Substitutions in a Pinch

Cooking tips for the caring cook.

Spices


Substitute ingredients carefully.

Recipes with substitutions may vary in flavor, consistency or texture.

If a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon apple pie spice and you do not have any, an emergency substitution is 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom.

If you don't have pumpkin pie spice on hand when it's called for in a recipe, here's an easy substitution: 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice equals 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.

If a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon allspice and you do not have any, an emergency substitution is 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

If a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon arrowroot and you do not have any, an emergency substitution is 2 -1/4 teaspoons of cornstarch or 1-1/2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup brown sugar and you do not have any, an emergency substitution is 1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 4 tablespoons of dark molasses.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup light corn syrup and you do not have any, an emergency substitution is 1-1/4 cups sugar plus 1/3 cup liquid, boiled together until they reach a syrup consistency, then cooled.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup honey and you do not have any, an emergency substitution is 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water.

If you wish to use fresh herbs in a recipe that calls for dried ones, simply use 3 teaspoons of fresh for every one teaspoon of dried in the recipe.

You can usually substitute fruit juice in equal quantities in a recipe that calls for a liqueur without an appreciable change in taste.

When a recipe calls for one cup bread crumbs, you can use 2 slices of bread to make one cup.

If you need semi-sweet chocolate chips, you can substitute nine tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1/2 cup sugar along with three tablespoons butter for them in a recipe.

If a recipe calls for tablespoon prepared mustard, you may substitute 1 teaspoon dry mustard plus 1 tablespoon vinegar without a noticeable difference.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup sour cream, you may substitute 1 cup cottage cheese blended until smooth with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/3 cup buttermilk without a noticeable difference.

Substitute for Buttermilk: Add one-tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of milk and let it stand ten minutes. Or add one tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of whole milk.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup sour cream, you may substitute 1 cup cottage cheese blended until smooth with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/3 cup buttermilk.

Both salted and unsalted butter are great to use for baking. Unsalted butter can be substituted for salted butter (or vice versa) in any recipe. It is not necessary to change the amount of salt in recipes.

If you run out of tomato sauce, you can substitute 3/4 cup of tomato paste plus 1 cup of water for every 2 cups of tomato sauce.

Missing an Egg? When your one egg shy for a recipe that calls for several, substitute one teaspoon of cornstarch.

No bread crumbs? To make your own breadcrumbs, bake bread slices at 200-degrees until dry (about ten minutes), then process in a food processor with a metal blade.

Low-fat mayo. It's best to use super-low calorie condiments, like mustard, but when you need that creamy taste and consistency, substitute low-fat mayonnaise -- it contains just 1/4 of the calories and one gram of fat (compared to 11 in the original). With this smooth stand-in on supermarket shelves, there's no reason to reach for regular mayo, which is also higher in sodium.

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