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!

Alternatives to Dairy

Dairy can hit the system hard, causing stomachaches galore. Be it a sensitivity or full-blown lactose intolerance, it may seem like cookies are no longer an option. But we’re here with good news: you can still bite into a cookie without the pain! All it takes are some substitutions in your fridge and a little creativity. We’re here to start you off.

Flaxseed ≠ Eggs

If eggs are your biggest worry, try flaxseed instead. This ingredient mimics the gelatinous texture that eggs have, so you don’t need that dairy-filled yolk in there. Fun fact: this substitution also allows you to eat your cookie dough raw, a dream we’ve always had yet never tried thanks to salmonella.

Alternative Milks ≠ Dairy Milks

There are so many new types of milk to use instead of your usual dairy milk: oat milk, almost milk, cashew milk… the list goes on. The classics: soy milk and coconut milk. Soy milk has just as much protein as dairy milk and is the most common suggestion, while coconut milk has the same creamy texture as cow’s milk. Ultimately, it comes down to preference—both work.

Oil ≠ Butter

You can use plant-based margarine, but if you’re looking for something more natural, oil should be your go-to. Coconut oil is a 1:1 substitution, though you might want to add a dash of salt to cut out the sweetness. And avocado oil is perfect for baking, because it’s filled with the fat a cookie may be missing from the removal of butter.

Blended Fruits ≠ Yogurt

A popular replacement for dairy-based yogurt is coconut-based yogurt, made by blending coconut milk with a sweetener, like powdered sugar or maple syrup (we wrote about some substitutions for sugar, if you’re looking for an alternative). The creamy texture mimics that of yogurt, creating a silky-smooth consistency to mix into your dry ingredients.

Just because you can’t have milk doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in cookies! What do you use in place of dairy? Let us know below.

Alternatives to Gluten

Whether you have a gluten allergy or are simply trying to avoid eating it, it can be hard to find gluten-free goods, especially cookies. One of the best solutions: making them yourself! We’ve given you guides on the top tips new bakers should know, as well as the most important tools you should have on hand. But what ingredients can you use in place of gluten? We’ve got the 411 for you.

Alternative Flours ≠ All-Purpose Flour

Thankfully, there are other flours available that aren’t all-purpose. Almond flour and coconut flour are great replacements that mimic the texture of your gluten-filled wheat flour, and you can find them in every store. If you prefer to DIY it and make sure there’s really no gluten, you can take quinoa (filled with protein and fiber), toast it, and throw it in a food processor.

Chopped Nuts ≠ Granola

Looking for the crunch you’d get from granola? Chopped nuts are the perfect substitute for that texture—try cashews and almonds for the closest taste to your usual granola, then use honey or molasses (we discussed these as sugar substitutes!)  to complement them. If you’re looking for extra sweetness, add in dried fruit. And bam: you have the dream minus the gluten.

Rum ≠ Beer

Sorry, but snickerbrewdles and soft stout cookies aren’t options when you go gluten-free. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy boozy batches of cookies! Instead of beer, go with rum or a fruit-based drink (like brandy or cognac). Some recipes we recommend are gluten-free rum-raisin cookies and  gluten-free bourbon caramel samosa.

Chia Seeds ≠ Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are out for those who are gluten-free. The good news: chia seeds are in. Breadcrumbs are a great binder, and you can replicate the texture by using chia seeds. They’re especially good in cookies using dried fruit and/or chocolate, because their slight nutty flavor pairs perfectly with saccharine tastes.

We hope these ideas for substitutes helped out – and there are many more where they came from! What do you use to keep your diet gluten-free? Let us know in the comments.

Sugar and its Alternatives

Sugar and Its Alternatives

Sugar is what makes cookies so… well, sweet. But sometimes, you may realize you’ve run out of sugar right in the middle of a recipe. Or maybe you prefer an alternative. Or maybe, you’re looking to remove refined sugar from your diet. Well, look no further: these are sugar substitutes you can use. Bonus: you probably already have at least one in your cupboard.

Honey

Honey has different variants based on the flower, which will slightly alter the taste of your cookies – in a good way. Rather than your typical, white sugar-cane extract, it’s nice and rich, and the different tastes will give your cookies a unique twist. Check your local farmer’s market for the freshest honey!

Fruit Concentrates

No, we’re not talking fruit juice, with all that added sugar – we’re talking concentrates, which are the fruit extracts with water removed. These concentrates add a hint of sweetness to any recipe – we recommend bananas and figs.

Natural Maple Syrup

The key here is that it’s natural: pancake syrup has extra sweeteners, which can make it even sweeter than your half-cup of white sugar. The nutrients in maple syrup are attractive – it contains antioxidants and calcium, for example. What’s not to love?

Apple Sauce

Yep, I’m serious, it’s not just for babies and hospital cafeterias. It’s kind of like fruit concentrates, but you can buy the unsweetened type for less of a sugar punch; we promise it’ll still taste good! It’s also a fantastic substitute for eggs, so you can keep a recipe dairy-free and sweet.

Molasses

Molasses is what comes from processing sugar. So, why should you choose molasses over your typical white sugar? Well, molasses is less sweet with a specific, subtle taste, which can give your usual cookies a richer hit. It also contains a few nutrients, including iron and vitamins.

Any of these alternatives will enhance your cookies’ flavor profiles, so have fun experimenting! Which are your favorite alternatives to use? Let us know in the comments.