Pumpkin or Squash Puree
Pureed fruits make excellent substitutions for fat in baked goods – keeping in mind that they can slightly affect the taste of the finished product. Applesauce doesn’t impart too much flavor so that’s my go-to substitute, but prune puree (baby food works best because it’s so smooth) is great for chocolatey baked goods and banana and pumpkin purees work well with pancakes, waffles and quick breads. I use the same amount of puree as the amount of fat called for in the recipe.
Stevia (powder and liquid)
Usually I use powdered stevia instead of even unrefined sugars. It took me a long time to kick my sugar habit and I want to stay “clean!” Stevia is derived from an herb and doesn’t wreak havoc on the glycemic index the way that other sweeteners do. And it packs a powerful sweet punch – it can be between 70-400 times sweeter than sugar – so you have to be mindful of how much you add to a recipe. I use between 1-2 teaspoons of powdered stevia for every one cup of sugar called for in the recipe. And since the bulk of sugar will be missing from the recipe, it must be replaced with applesauce or another fruit puree. I use 1/4-1/2 cup of applesauce when using 1-2 teaspoons of stevia in a recipe. Again, it takes some experimentation to get the texture the way you want it.
Agave nectar is great for using when making bread dough or preparing beverages since it dissolves quickly.
Maple sugar has a nostalgic place in my heart and when a recipe absolutely needs the grain and bulk of sugar, I reach for the jar of maple sugar. I get mine from the same place my family has been buying maple syrup forever: Richard’s Maple Syrup in Ohio. It’s the real deal. FYI, maple sugars can come in a variety of textures. The kind I buy is very fine so it’s good-to-go in recipes, but some are very coarse and need to be put through the food processor prior to use. Also, it can clump like brown sugar so store in an air-tight container and throw in a heel of bread to absorb moisture. Maple syrup can be substituted for sugar as well, but since it’s a liquid, the amount of other liquid called for needs to be reduced slightly.
These aren’t the only unrefined sugar substitute out there, but they are the only ones I have in my cupboard. You might investigate date sugar, brown rice syrup, turbinado or Demerara sugars as well.
Nothing complicated here. If a recipe calls for dairy milk, substitute your favorite non-dairy variety – soy milk works especially well in baked goods calling for milk. They all have subtle and distinctive flavors, so do some taste-testing.
Same goes for yogurt, though be sure and read labels. I love coconut yogurt, but even the plain variety is sweetened.
Happily it is quite easy to replace eggs in recipes for baked goods. I switch between using ground flaxseed meal and Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer (made from soy flour, wheat gluten, seaweed and corn syrup solids). I’ve used both to great success. The ratio of water to replacer is the same for both: 1 tablespoon replacer/flaxmeal + 3 tablespoons water. When using flaxseed meal, add 1/8 tsp. baking powder to the mix to lessen gumminess. Whisk together until frothy and let sit a moment to thicken, then add to the recipe with the other liquids.
Silken tofu can be used to replace the eggs in recipes as well – use 1/4 tofu for each egg called for in the recipe. Water-packed tofu can be used to make scrambled “eggs” and “egg” salad – with surprisingly delicious results.