Alternatives to Butter

Look, sometimes you run out of butter. Or sometimes you just don’t want to use butter. Sometimes you want a different taste than what butter usually gives you. Whatever the case, butter isn’t always the right choice – even when you’re baking cookies. We spoke about oil as a substitute previously, but with so many different types, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. These are our favorite oil substitutes and how they can give your cookies an extra taste.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is one of the preferred oils to use in place of butter. It’s derived from a type of rapeseed, and has a low amount of erucic acid (which is linked to fatty deposits in heart muscles). It also has the most neutral taste, is a light texture, and can withstand high temperatures of heat, making it ideal for baking. Use a ¾ cup of canola oil in replacement of one cup of butter.

Avocado Oil

Avocado is great for you heart and filled with oleic acid, an unsaturated fat which can help by lowering cholesterol and reduce inflammation within the body. Refined avocado oil’s flavor tastes mildly like avocado (of course), and unrefined avocado oil can have a bit more of its grassy taste. When cooked, however, it generally is more tasteless than olive oil. Use the same amount of avocado oil as you would butter.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains healthy fatty acids, though it’s higher in saturated fats – sort of like butter. However, there are many benefits to coconut oil. First, the science: coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of shorter fatty acid train. These go to your liver and turn into either a boost in energy or ketones; ketones can help with overall brain health. MCTs may also increase how many calories your body burns, reduce hunger, and be heart-healthy. Its taste is neutral, so you won’t know it’s in your food, and you can substitute at a 1:1 ratio.

Olive Oil

The main downside to olive oil is its taste – no matter how much you cook it, it’ll alter the flavor. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on what you’re baking, but definitely keep it in mind and try to find a “mild” olive oil to avoid the taste. If you’re baking something with citrus-y flavors, or vegetables like zucchini, lemon cookies and zucchini bread can taste good with this oil. Substitute three parts olive oil for four parts butter.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is high in vitamin E – as in, one tablespoon has 28% of a person’s daily recommended intake. However, it’s also filled with omega-6 fatty acids (which can be pro-inflammatory within the body), so if you use it, balance it out with omega-3s to keep it heart-healthy. If you can’t balance it out, just use it in moderation. Replace one cup of butter with ¾ of a cup of sunflower oil.

Peanut Oil

Make sure no one has a peanut allergy before serving with peanut oil. If you’re in the clear, this is a delicious substitute if you’re looking for a slightly nutty taste; it’s versatile, so it doesn’t need to be used solely with peanut-based goodies. It’s filled with vitamin E and omega-9s, but it’s also high in omega-6s, so use it in moderation. It has a high smoking point, so heat is no problem for this. Substitute three parts peanut oil for four parts butter.

What oils do you use in replacement of butter? Are you going to try any of the above? Share your thoughts with us!

How to Make Cookies…in the Air Fryer?!

I just bought an air fryer, because I’m trying to lessen my use of oil (and also, have you seen how popular air fryers are now? I had to try one!). One thing I was curious about: can you bake with one?

I’d made my fries and eggplant parmesan, but I wanted to see if I could make cookies inside of one, too. Turns out: yep, you can! Here are a few recipes, as well as tips on how to get the most out of your cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 room-temp egg
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Microwave the butter until it’s almost fully melted. Combine with the white and brown sugar, then beat in the egg and vanilla for about 30 seconds. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt, then fold in the chocolate chips until completely mixed together. Place them in fridge for 30 minutes.

2. Line the air fryer racks with parchment paper or foil. Use a cookie scoop (we love this one from Toque Blanche!) and place cookie dough in the fryer baskets. Depending on the size of the air fryer, you can most likely fit about two to five scoops on each rack.

3. At 350°F, air fry the dough until it begins crisping and looking golden (which should take about five to seven minutes). Remove the cookies, then let them rest for a few minutes. Work in batches until all the dough is gone, and enjoy!

Snickerdoodles

Recipe:

  • One stick of butter (AT ROOM TEMP – here’s why that’s important!)
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Mix together butter and 1 ½ cups of sugar. Slowly add in eggs, vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt until fully combined. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

2. Scoop the dough with a cookie scoop and roll the balls in the remaining sugar and cinnamon.

3. Add parchment paper to the air fryer racks, then gently place dough balls on the parchment paper. You should be able to fit two to five scoops depending on how big your air fryer is.

4. At 340°F, fry for four minutes, or until the edges look crispy. Remove from the air fryer, let sit for five minutes, then snack away!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe:

  • 1 stick room-temp butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ white sugar
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. milk (can be non-dairy)

Directions:

1. Mix together peanut butter and softened butter. Then add sugars and mix until fully combined. Add the egg and milk, continuing to mix. Finally, add flour in slowly, bit by bit – you don’t want to add it all at once! Let them chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

2. Use a cookie scoop to place small balls of dough on parchment-lined air fryer racks/baskets. Take a fork and flatten them.

3. Fry at 350°F for five to seven minutes, or until they look crispy. Take them out of the air fryer and let them sit until they’re completely cool. Then feast!

Tips On Baking Cookies In An Air Fryer

1. The best size is a two-tbsp. scoop (so use a scoop!), and you should keep the cookies one inch apart. This way they cook evenly and won’t melt into each other despite the limited space.

2.. Follow the directions to a T! Air fryers are not your conventional ovens, so don’t expect them to bake the same way (there’s a reason they only go in for five minutes instead of nine to eleven).

3.. If you’re not baking from scratch, lower the temperature about 20°F less than the recommended temp on the package and cook for 20% less time. The high-pressure air can accidentally burn them.

Have you baked in an air fryer? Are you going to try? Let us know in the comments!

Alternatives to Baking Powder

Baking powder helps foods to expand in the oven, giving you your perfectly-puffed pastries and cookies. But sometimes, you don’t have baking powder, or you’re looking for a twist. Luckily, there are ingredients you can use in place of baking powder! Read on to learn.

First: What’s Baking Powder, Exactly?

Baking powder is a leavening agent. Made of sodium bicarbonate and an acid (such as cream of tartar), a chemical reaction occurs when it mixes with water. This releases carbon dioxide and makes bubbles, which then increase volume.

Alternatives to Baking Powder

Before you start, stock up on baking soda. It doesn’t contain an acid, so it must mix with one to have a reaction. These suggestions are acidic and will help start the chemical reaction.

1. Molasses

Molasses is usually used as a replacement for your usual sugar. But despite its sweet taste, it’s fairly acidic. Therefore, when it mixes with baking soda, the chemical reaction is set off. For substitution, use a quarter cup of molasses and quarter teaspoon of baking soda for one teaspoon of baking powder. Because it’s so sweet, lessen the amount of sugar you’re using.

2. Buttermilk

Old-fashioned buttermilk is made by churning sweet cream into butter, while commercial buttermilk is made my adding bacterial culture to milk, therefore causing fermentation. This fermentation then breaks down sugar into acid, therefore causing a chemical reaction when its acidic properties are mixed with baking soda. Substitute half a cup of buttermilk and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda for one teaspoon of baking powder. Because it’s liquid, lessen the amount of liquid ingredients to avoid a watery result.

3. Milk That’s Gone Sour

You don’t have to throw out your expired milk just because you can’t eat cereal with it. Sour milk goes through a process, acidification, which leads to a drop in pH levels, making it acidic. Combine it with baking soda, and you’ll have the ideal leavening agent. Substitute half a cup of milk and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda for one teaspoon of baking powder. And don’t forget to lessen your liquid ingredients!

4. Lemon Juice

Warning: you’ll taste the lemon if you need to substitute for a lot of baking powder, so save this for recipes that have lemon or only use a little bit of baking powder. For example: lemon cookies and lemon cakes will taste fantastic with the added citrus. Substitute half a teaspoon of lemon juice and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda for one teaspoon of baking soda.

Did you know you can use these as substitutes? Which will you be using? Let us know!

Freezing and Unfreezing Cookie Dough

Sometimes, you just make too much cookie dough. Or you make enough because you know you’ll bake it later. Whichever the case, freezing cookie dough is bound to be a necessity eventually. But how do you properly freeze cookie dough? And more importantly: how do you bake frozen cookie dough? Don’t worry: we’ve got the answers for you.

Freezing cookie dough does not mean putting a bowl in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. Instead, you’re going to treat it as if you were baking the cookies. And that means treating all types of cookies in different ways.

Freezing Drop Cookies

For your usual chocolate chip and other drop cookies, take a cookie scoop (we recommend this one from our friends at Toque Blanche) and place the balls on a parchment-paper-lined sheet. Put them in the freezer uncovered until they’re firm, then switch them into an airtight container or Ziploc bag. You can freeze them for up to six weeks—but let’s be honest, you’ll probably bake them before then (I certainly do!).

If you’re freezing cookies that are usually coated in sugar, like snickerdoodles, don’t freeze after you’ve rolled them! Instead, freeze the dough like you would normally. When it comes time to coat in sugar, let them thaw and soften overnight so the sugar sticks.

Freezing Slice-and-Bakes

Slice-and-bake cookies have a different texture than drop cookies, which means you’ll have to freeze them differently, too. Rather than scooping into balls, work your dough into thick logs and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper. Because of its flakey texture, it may crumble if you slice into them right after taking out of the freezer. Let them thaw first in the fridge, then cut.

Freezing Cut-Out Cookies

It doesn’t get easier than freezing cut-out cookies. Simply roll out the dough (we love this rolling pin, also from Toque Blanche!), then place the flattened dough in the freezer. When you’re ready to bake, simply take them out and bake them as per usual.

Freezing Already-Baked Cookies

If you’ve made cookies and can’t devour them in one sitting, you can freeze cookies that have already been baked. Just place them in airtight containers and freeze for up to a month. When you’re ready to devour, remove them and let them thaw. Drop cookies can be warmed up in the oven at 300°F for five-to-seven minutes.

How to Bake Frozen Cookie Dough

Generally, you can let frozen dough thaw overnight and then work with it as the recipe details. But if you just can’t wait to eat it (no judgement!) or are invited to a last-minute potluck, preheat the oven to about 20°F less than the recipe says. This way, the dough will melt and spread out as you’d like, allowing for an even bake instead of crisp edges and undercooked middles. To summarize: any type of cookie can be frozen and thawed, leaving you with delicious treats whenever you want them. Happy eating!