While most people realise that baking their own snacks and desserts can save money, many don’t realise just how much can be done to trim costs in the kitchen; did you know, for example, that when you’re looking to make fondant, dough sheeters (the kind used to roll pasta) can often be used to roll this beautifully flat icing, saving you the expense of purchasing a fondant sheeter? Or that you can make your own “brown sugar” at home?
There are, it turns out, many nifty little tricks one can employ to make do with what’s on hand, rather than running out to by new equipment or more ingredients, such as:
- Using old bananas as an egg substitute. Eggs are not only costly, they are something people frequently find they are short on when they go to bake. If you have some old bananas lying around that have gotten too brown to eat, rather than sending them to the bin, mush them up and use them in your baking. Not only do they add a pleasant flavour to cookies, muffins, and cakes, they are an effective binding agent, making them a completely suitable replacement for eggs in your baked goods.
- As mentioned above, for rolling fondant, dough sheeters will often suffice. There is one caveat, however; when it comes to fondant, dough sheeters may get “stuck” or permanently gunked up by the icing; be sure to read your model’s manual and/or Google it to make sure it can handle the rigours of working with fondant icing.
- Many recipes for muffins and cookies call for brown sugar, but many people do not keep this form of sugar on hand (and if they do, it often sits unused long enough to harden and become difficult to work with). Rather than running out to buy a bag knowing that it will likely just sit and get hard before you have time to bake again, just mix one cup of white sugar with two tablespoons of molasses.
- Create faux buttermilk. Buttermilk is another (costly) ingredient most of us don’t keep on hand. To make your own from ingredients you almost certainly have just sitting around the kitchen, mix any kind of regular milk with either white vinegar or lemon juice. A ratio of about one cup of milk to one tablespoon of either white vinegar or lemon juice should suffice to make DIY “buttermilk”.
- Make your own self-rising flour. If you want the convenience of self-rising flour without the cost, simply combine one cup of all-purpose flour with 1 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ tsp salt. Baking power, like yeast, is an effective leavening agent.
- Create cake flour. If you don’t want to buy an additional bag of special flour just to make the occasional cake with, take a cup of all-purpose flour and mix it with two tablespoons of cornstarch to get “cake flour.”