How to Adapt a Recipe to Make it Healthier

How to Adapt a Recipe to Make it Healthier

I’m often asked how much Sucanat to substitute for white sugar, or if whole wheat flour can be substituted one for one with white flour. I decided to share a little bit about how I adapt “regular recipes” to make them healthier! Please know that when I say “healthier”…I’m not talking low fat. To me, healthier means real, whole food.  Click on the following links so read about how I feed my family and why I love real, whole foods!! Be sure to also check out this entire series on Simple Steps Toward Healthy Eating.

Fats


  • If a recipe calls for vegetable or canola oil I switch it out one for one with melted coconut oil or melted palm shortening. It’s a little bit tough to measure out solid coconut oil to an exact needed amount. I just kind of “eyeball it”. If a recipe calls for 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, I make my best guess at how much 1/4 cup of coconut oil (or palm shortening) is while I’m scooping it out…then I melt it down in a small saucepan on the stove. If you are new to cooking/baking…you may prefer to melt it, then pour it into a measuring cup to be sure you  have the correct amount.
  • If a recipe calls for margarine (I gag and then) I switch it out one for one with real butter. This means that if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup margarine, I use 1/2 cup of butter.
  • Usually butter and coconut oil can be used interchangeably. For instance, when I make muffins…sometimes I use coconut oil and sometimes I use butter. It depends on what I have on hand and what sounds good at the moment (coconuty goodness, or rich buttery flavor). If you are unable to eat dairy, you can substititute coconut oil for butter in most recipes.
  • I almost always use melted palm shortening to fry foods (like french fries, onion rings, homemade corn dogs, etc.).  Palm shortening does NOT create the same freaky effects from frying that vegetable or canola oils create. This means that foods fried in palm shortening (or coconut oil) are NOT unhealthy!
  • I use olive oil if a recipe calls for just a few teaspoons or Tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  • You can read more about the fats I prefer and why I prefer them here!!

Sugars


  • Sucanat (or Rapadura, which is the same thing…just under a different name) can be substituted one for one with white or brown sugar. This means that if a recipe calls for one cup of white sugar…you can instead use one cup of Sucanat. However, I generally cut the Sucanat down just a hair because the flavor is stronger…and because it is more expensive…and because wow…do we really need that much sugar? :)  Sucanat, by the way, is dehydrated cane sugar juice and the healthiest form of cane sugar I’ve found. You can read more about it  here.
  • Honey can be substituted for white or brown sugar, but I usually use 1/2 to 2/3 the amount the recipe calls for. This means that if a recipe calls for one cup of white or brown sugar, I only use 1/2 to 2/3 cup of honey. Honey has a rich flavor and is sweeter than sugar. I have not found that substituting honey causes much difference in the consistency of a recipe, even though honey is a liquid and sugar is not. If anything, I find that honey makes quick breads, muffins and cookies more moist…and that’s never a bad thing if you ask me!
  • Real Grade B Maple Syrup can be substituted for white or brown sugar, but I don’t often bake with it (ooh, except for Coconut Macaroons!). I use maple syrup for liquid treats like Chocolate Milk and Smoothies and Ice Cream. If a recipe calls for corn syrup, I use Grade B Maple Syrup instead, substituting it one for one.
  • You can read more about the sweeteners I prefer and why I prefer them here!!

Flours

To make things a little bit easier…I created a free printable “Healthy Recipe Substitutions” download. Click the following link, print it off and keep it in your kitchen as a handy reference!

Healthy Recipe Substitutions

How do you feel about adapting recipes? Are you good at making substitutions…or do you prefer to follow a recipe exactly?

This post was originally published March 9, 2011.

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Comments

  1. Meredith McG says

    I dont knwo about GOOD at subtitutions but the main things are honey for sugar and w.w. flour for plaster of paris..I mean white flour ;)
    Are there any subtitutions for powdered milk ?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    None that I know of. I tend to stay away from it since it’s been processed. BUT, I have a couple of recipes I’d love to adapt that call for powdered milk. Hmmm…

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    The recipes that I have that call for powdered milk often also call
    for warm water. Warm water plus powdered milk=processed milk,
    basically. I think the recipes do this
    because if they called for
    just plain milk, the milk would have to be
    either warmed or scalded, so it’s easier to use warm water and
    powdered milk instead of heating up regular milk to the right temp.
    So if the recipe calls for warm water and powdered milk, I think you
    can sub regular milk one to one for the water, just heat it up.

    [Reply]

  2. says

    When I adapt recipes and use coconut oil, I scoop it out into a measuring cup and then either microwave it (if I am feeling lazy) or use a stainless steel pan to make the recipe. I put the oil in first, and put it on the stove on a really low setting to let the oil melt.

    My husband suggested weighing an ounce of oil and then when I need some, no need for measuring cups, just weigh it. I am tooooo lazy for that! :-)

    Also, whenever I am adapting a recipe that is sugary, I always cut the sugar by half the first time and adjust from there.

    [Reply]

  3. says

    I like to do substitutions most of the time with what I have on hand. I use honey for sweetener and whole wheat flour for white. I haven’t been able to make a good whole wheat bread without any white flour yet, it just turns out so dense. Maybe you have an idea. My son’s birthday is this weekend and I thought of making a partly wheat cake with coolwhip frosting. Any suggestions? I’ve never tried making a cake with half whole wheat flour and I don’t know if I can dye coolwhip frosting with red and blue dye. I almost thought of using blueberries and strawberries for the dye, but I don’t know if that will work.

    I was also wondering where do you buy sucanat, coconut oil and wheat berries from?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Instead of cool whip, I’d whip my own cream. I’ve blended up strawberries before, which has turned my whipped cream red (blueberries should do the same for your blue!).

    I buy sucanat from my health food co-op Azure Standard. Coconut oil from Tropical Traditions or Mountain Rose Herbs (linked in the post) and wheat berries either from Azure or from a bulk wheat order my friend puts together: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-i-grocery-shop

    [Reply]

  4. Amanda -_-* says

    I’ve been doing a lot of these substitutions for a while. I also cut the sugar in most recipes in half. Since my kids and I have food allergies, I have to make a lot of our food from scratch, anyway, so I always think, “If I’m taking the time to make it, I might as well make it healthier.” It doesn’t take that much time to sub 1/2 wheat flour, or use a different kind of oil, or any of the rest, and after you do it long enough, it becomes second nature. I’d encourage anyone who’s just starting down the path of healthier eating to keep at it. It does get easier!

    [Reply]

  5. Nicole S. says

    Note to Laura; being a professional baker, in recipes we use in the industry, sugar is actually considered a “wet” ingredient just like milk or eggs. Just a fun tidbit.

    [Reply]

  6. Laura Beth says

    Thanks for the tips! Thought I’d pay you back with one: I use a measuring cup like this one (http://www.amazon.com/Plunger-Jr-Metric-Adjustable-Measuring/dp/B000I1X3WS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1299738430&sr=8-3) when I measure out coconut oil to use in a recipe. I also use if for nut butters and sometimes even for honey. You can pack the coconut oil in and get a fairly decent measurement. Definitely better than a normal measuring cup.

    Thanks again!

    [Reply]

  7. Star says

    One of my favorite substitutions is to use applesauce instead of butter or oil in a recipe. I have also used pureed winter squash and pumpkin in some recipes with great success. The flavor of the squash/pumpkin is mild, but there are some things I think do better (tastewise) with applesauce.
    We have been trying to change to a healthier sugar, but to be honest I don’t find that using equal amounts of sucanat creates as sweet of a product as sugar. I mostly use dehydrated cane juice (and honey in recipes I have that use honey…) in place of sugar, which I know is not as good as sucanat. I’m wondering if it’s not that sucanat is not as sweet, but just kind of a taste bud issue, similar to white/wheat flour???

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Interesting…I wonder if it is a taste bud issue and maybe I’ve just grown used to the taste?

    [Reply]

  8. says

    Thanks for the great tips. I make my own brown sugar out of sucanat and molasses. For one cup of brown sugar you add 1 tablespoon of molasses and mash it together. I will also make a “batch” of brown sugar for my baking cupboard and use as regular brown sugar.

    [Reply]

  9. says

    This is a great list, Laura! I’ve never heard of palm shortening… I’ll have to give that one a try. Just wondering: does it work well in making flaky pie crusts? I’ve had a hard time with that one since booting out vegetable shortening several years ago.

    As always, thanks for the helpful information!

    Kristy @ Homemaker’s Cottage

    [Reply]

    Katie M. Reply:

    Laura did a post on this a while back, here is the link:
    http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/whole-wheat-pie-crust

    Hope this helps! :)

    [Reply]

  10. Dawn says

    What about recipes calling for self-rising flour? How do I turn regular wheat flour into self-rising?? I think it is by adding baking powder?? or is it baking soda?? Is this correct and in what ratios?? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    [Reply]

    Rebecca Reply:

    Google self rising flour and you’ll find the recipe for self rising flour. Should be fine for wheat as well.

    [Reply]

  11. katherine says

    thanks for the tips! i do a lot of that, but have been at a loss for what to substitute for corn syrup in recipes. glad to know maple syrup will work!

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    Organic Brown rice syrup works well as a substitute for corn syrup as it is not nearly as sweet as honey.

    [Reply]

  12. Jennie says

    I’m new to eating more whole foods. I can’t use coconut oil…my husband despises coconut. Can I find palm oil at whole foods or do I need to order it online?

    Thanks so much for the printout. It means I’m more likely to substitute if it’s right in front of me.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve seen palm shortening at Whole Foods, I just don’t have easy access to Whole Foods, so I always order online at Tropical Traditions.

    [Reply]

    Twila Reply:

    You can also buy coconut oil that is a bit more refined and does not have the coconut taste.

    [Reply]

  13. Jenny says

    I use the palm shortening for just about everything. It is a great product. Never heard of it before reading Laura’s blog. Great for dry hands, feet and face. Better than cosmetic brands. Also, I use my own ground whole wheat flour for everything. I think there is, as Laura said, a great difference in store bought ww than freshly ground. Also, the hard white makes a better loaf too. The hard red makes it heavier.

    [Reply]

  14. says

    This is fantastic info! I’m going to let people know on my Tumblr blog to come read your post. The download is wonderful, and it would be even better with the notes you included above. I think I may print it out and write in notes from your post, plus the suggestions in the comments.

    [Reply]

  15. Jessica says

    Thank you for all the information. I have been slowly changing our diets and this will help. We have been using ONLY real butter for over a year now. I try to use only whole wheat flour. Now I just need to switch out our oil and sugars.

    [Reply]

  16. Marilyn K says

    I found out the hard way that honey doesn’t work well in your vanilla wafers recipe! They wouldn’t crisp up and I ended up burning them. I really need to order some sucanat because my family really liked the vanilla wafers the first time I made them!

    [Reply]

  17. Jean says

    I have been adapting recipes for several years and trying to prepare a more healthy diet for my family. I bought palm shortening because of your article about pie crust, but I wasn’t aware it could substitute for oil. I also never thought of using maple syrup as a substitute for sugar. I printed the chart and will try to remember to look at it until these two new ideas become ingrained in my brain. Thanks! :o)

    [Reply]

  18. baking mama says

    Laura, If you ever take the time to try out dehydrated honey/cane syrup (aka “honey granules”), you’ll never want to use anything else in place of white sugar! It doesn’t have the very strong molasses flavor that sucanat does, so it’s more suitable for many recipes where you want other flavors to shine, or you don’t want the extra moisture from honey (like in shortbread cookies). It is especially great in cream cheese frosting (after you powder it in the blender) giving you a creamy color instead of brown. The only place I have been able to find this for sale is from the Breadbeckers, and if there is no co-op near you the shipping can be expensive, but if anyone has seen it available anywhere else, I’m sure others would appreciate the info.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It’s on my list to check that out…someday. :)

    [Reply]

  19. Sarah says

    I was wondering if peanut oil and sesame oil are unhealthy?
    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Both seem to be okay in limited amounts.

    [Reply]

  20. holly says

    An easy way to measure SOLID shortening,butter,etc is: Fill a clean,preferably liquid measuring cup with water in the amount of product you want. then add spoons of product till the liquid reaches twice the amount. I know, confusing,lol.

    Example: If you want 1/4th cup product fill the measuring cup to 1/4 with cold water. add spoonfuls of the product keeping them away from the edges and floating until the water level reaches 1/2 cup. Pour out the water,keeping the product from falling out and you are left with 1/4th cup product.

    Hope this helps.

    [Reply]

  21. Mom23girls says

    I’m kinda new here, but love everything about this site!

    I measure solid coconut oil by (example), put 1/2 cup of water in a measuring cup then add enough coconut oil to make the water rise to 1 cup…pour off the water and you have 1/2 cup of oil! I do this when I need cold butter also. The water won’t mix and if the oil is solid it pours right off.

    I wonder if you could dehydrate your own honey in a home dehydrater?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I need to look into how honey granules are made!

    [Reply]

  22. Ruth says

    Another interesting substitute for fats or eggs is chia seeds. It sounds strange, but if you soak a tablespoon of chia seeds in about 3/4 cup of water for 20 minutes, the chia seeds soak up the water and form a gel. This gel can replace either fats or eggs. This is a blessing for those allergic to eggs or milk. Chia seeds are packed with nutrients so you are actually making your foods healthier. I will usually use the chia seeds to replace EITHER the eggs or the fats. I haven’t tried replacing BOTH the eggs and the fats in the same recipe yet.

    [Reply]

  23. says

    Lots of good information here, thank you so much. Some of it I am already doing and some is new to me. I am making changes slowly but surely to improve the quality of the food I feed my family.

    [Reply]

  24. Angel says

    Hi Laura,

    I have found a product that you and your readers may want to check out. It is Zulka Azucar Morena (Pure Cane Sugar). I found this at Walmart on the foreign foods aisle. I paid 2.88 for a 4 pound bag. Way cheaper than Sucanat and Rapadura. It is described as:”Zulka is made in Mexico from 100% unrefined cane juice that is squeezed daily from fresh, ripe cane to produce a sugar that preserves the nutritional value of minerals while giving you an aromatic and great tasting sweetner.” Ingredients: Pure Cane Sugar. This is also available online through Amazon but they are much more expensive. Just do a search for Zulka and you will find other online vendors as well but if you can find it at Walmart, all the better!

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    I noticed today that Muir Glen Organic tomatoes are way cheaper at Wal Mart and the Wheat Montana Prairie Gold Wheat berries are about 0.50/lb at Wal mart also. Both are reputable companies as Wheat Montana tests its berried above and beyond Organic requirements and I called Muir Glen and they no longer use BPA in the lining of their tomatoes in cans. I know lots of people don’t like Wal Mart, but it is the ONLY store within 50 miles of me that is not a gas station and it provides a lot of jobs for our local economy. So I do shop there on occasion and love when I find good brands at great prices!!

    [Reply]

  25. Amy says

    My husband made my birthday cake last night from one of his “famous cake” recipes. (My husband is the best cook in the world, IMO:)

    The recipe called for vegetable oil, shortening, and butter. I asked him to replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil, and use butter to replace the shortening. I also asked him to sub the sugar with the sucanat. He was hesitant but did it. I decided it was best not to ask him to switch the flour. I decided not to stress over that one yet since cake is a once a year affair in our house. We are still learning.

    Anyway, It tasted really good but was a good bit drier than normal. We don’t have any of the palm shortening and everything I’ve read said that butter would be okay to switch. Should we substitute shortening in cake recipes with this palm shortening instead? And could the sugar have made it drier too?

    Thanks, Amy

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve noticed sometimes that my cakes are a little bit dryer too…yes, I think palm shortening could make a difference. I don’t think the sugar would have made a difference…but maybe a little bit.

    [Reply]

  26. says

    thanks for this post…I am in the process of going to more “whole foods” and this really helps. We are trying to eliminate white flour and sugar from our diet. My son has tree nut allergies and bad eczema and I am hoping by eliminating processed junk from our diet it will help him. Thanks so much.

    [Reply]

  27. Michelle T says

    Laura,
    Thank you for giving this advice so quickly. I just asked for it a few weeks ago. You are a blessing to so many. Found lots of good info here and from the posts. So looking forward to making great choices for my family. On a side note, made the real pop tarts from your blog. My hubby, a fairly picky, don’t-change-it-if-its-good eater, LOVED them. His only stipulation, “don’t tell me what’s in it.” :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    :)

    [Reply]

  28. Lisa says

    Laura,

    Recently in your posts on grain mills and grinding your own wheat, you recommended using hard white winter wheat. I noticed at the grocery store we shop at, that they also carry 25 lb. bags of wheat berries. They are labeled hard white spring wheat. Is there any major difference, or would this work okay for grinding for fresh whole wheat flour? Any disadvantages?

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    That sounds like the exact wheat you want to get! I forgot to mention that it’s usually called “hard white spring wheat” or “hard red winter wheat”. :)

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    Wow, that was quick! Thanks so much Laura! I’ve been trying to sell old homeschool curriculum and I almost have enough now to buy a Nutrimill! I’m so excited to soon be able to have freshly ground wheat for my family! Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

  29. Daphne says

    I have a question about sucanat. My local grocery store carries this (Hy-Vee to all you mid-westerners) but looking at it, it looks SO grainy and big. Does this break down when it’s cooked or is it something that needs to be pulsed in a food processor? I also read that it can tend to try out recipes since it’s drier then regular sugar. Do you ever have problems with that?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, it is a bigger “grain” thank granulated sugar. I’ve not had any problem with it as it disolves in melted butter, or does anything else I need it to do, just like sugar.
    You can pulse it in a food processor if you want, but I’ve not needed to.

    [Reply]

    Daphne Reply:

    Thank you so much! I might buy the small package tomorrow and try it out.

    [Reply]

  30. says

    What do you think about spelt flour? I love to bake with it, it’s a whole grain, but lighter. My food co-op does not carry the white wheat in bulk. They had red though. I’ll have to look again.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you have good access to spelt…go for it! I have easier access to hard white grain, so I am lazy and stick with that.

    [Reply]

  31. julia says

    This has been a question I have had for awhile but have not taken the time to ask it. Thanks for this. I am wondering though has anyone used sucanut in place of white sugar in sweet tea. I am from the south and we LOVE our sweet down here, ya’ll.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    We used it for family guests recently. Since we don’t keep soda in the house and they ususally drink a sweet drink with meals we made some for them. The taste is good but the color is a bit more like black water. If you are from the Coastal area of the South where cypress swamps are you will know what I mean by black water:)

    [Reply]

  32. Lianne says

    Hi Laura! I substitute everything — my finished products hardly resemble the recipe I start with — honey for sugars, real butter for margarine (or often APPLESAUCE instead of either, especially in loaves and muffins!), and only ever whole grain whole wheat flour (we have yet to purchase a grain mill, though its been on our “list” for a long time…we are saving towards one). I add and subtract, and generally just have fun in the science lab … I mean KITCHEN! :) God Bless!

    [Reply]

  33. says

    This was so concise and helpful! I haven’t been sure when to use my palm shortening or coconut oil, among other things. And thanks for the handy download, now this info won’t remain locked in the bookmarks of google reader, but will be up in my kitchen where I can remember to use it!

    [Reply]

  34. Cara says

    Made cookies(oatmeal raisin)yesterday and used greek style vanilla yogurt in place of turbinado because I was out. I did use some brown sugar as the recipe called for and used a little less(1/2c) amount of yogurt for the amount of sugar called for. They turned out great!

    [Reply]

  35. Rachel says

    Any tips on cleaning out measuring cups/pans that you’ve used for coconut oil? It always leaves a film that I can’t seem to get off by hand washing or in the dishwasher.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    HOT water works for me!

    [Reply]

  36. says

    Laura, I have been following your blog for several months now and absolutely love, love, love it!!! You are awesome!
    I had to write in though and let you know that palm oil, palm fruit oil, and palm shortening are high in saturated fat and also, no matter what oil you utilize for deep frying, the oil become denatured (the high heat changes the actual molecules of the oil) and it is no longer healthy in any fashion. So, yes, everyone should try to substitute for healthier oils but I just wanted to let you know about the palm… I utilize canola and flax and olive oils for all of my cooking- no butter and no shortening of any kind, I have to follow a special medical diet that eliminates all saturated fats and that is how I know about the palm oil. I am an avid label reader and it is amazing how many products have gone to the palm oil but they don’t divulge the true saturated fat content. Keep up the great blog, you are totally inspiring!!!

    [Reply]

    Jean Reply:

    I have read a book called “Nourishing Traditions” and have decided from the information provided in the book that saturated fats are not the bad guys they are made out to be. One of the questions that moved me along the road to whole foods is, “What foods did God provide for us to eat?” That sure eliminates processed and manufactured foods in a hurry, but what is left?

    Laura has a great article on healthy fats at this link http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/healthy-fats

    If the medical field is so right about healthy fats, why does heart disease rates continue to skyrocket? My whole outlook on nutrition and the medical field has changed over the past few years. If what the medical field advises is different than either what the Bible calls food or what we know is provided by the Lord, I assume the medical field is wrong. :o)

    [Reply]

    Randi Millward Reply:

    Saturatred fats are actually good for you. Your brain is 70,80,or 90 % cholesterol (I forget the actual number). But seriously, leave a stck of butter, coconut oil, or whatever REAL fat (not margarine) out on the counter on a hot day and it will melt. The melting point of coconut oil is around 76 degrees. Your body temperatures is about 98.6 degrees, so it keeps the saturated fat liquid, not solid. It can’t firm up to clog your arteries because your body is much too warm for that.

    Also, do NOT, repeat DO NOT, usue canola oil for anything. It’s genetically modified (cloned), and VERY unhealthy. Although this article doesn’t mention that canola is cloned, it does tell you about some of the dangers of it http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/canola.htm

    Also, just do a quick search on saturated fat being healthy or go to TropicalTRaditions.com and search for the health benefits of coconut oil. You’ll be SHOCKED at what you learn!

    [Reply]

  37. Washington Mom says

    Laura,
    Do you have an easy way of sorting through your whole wheat berries for rocks?? I keep finding little pebbles in mine and spend so much time sorting through the grain before I can even grind it. Is there a trick that I’m missing?? I bought a huge bag from A.S, but I’m having a hard time making myself grind it because of all the time to sort it out. Any help would be appreciated!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve not had too much trouble with too many pebbles. Usually, I just pour the wheat slowly into my grain mill, grabbing out little pebbles as I see them. There really aren’t usually very many.

    [Reply]

  38. says

    Oh my goodness, I was going to try to ship some of our maple syrup down to you as a treat, but after reading all the requirements for shipping liquids, I think it would be easier to just drive it down, lol!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Ooh, that would have been fun. :)

    [Reply]

  39. Kristin says

    Great tips! Today, I made whole wheat sourdough cinnamon rolls for breakfast and I used only honey in the dough and filling and made an orange, honey glaze for the tops …. YUM!!

    Also, Thanks for all your recipes! I entered my “version” of your honey whole wheat bread in a bread show and took 2nd place! I won some prize money to put in my “grain mill fund”! I’m within $50 of a new Nutrimill!

    [Reply]

  40. Kristi says

    I’m looking for a substitute for corn syrup. Any suggestions?? I was thinking Grade B Maple syrup???

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I put that in my post, but forgot to put it in the downloadable sheet. Shucks, I’ll have to find the time to go edit that.

    [Reply]

    Kristi Reply:

    sorry I missed that…

    [Reply]

  41. Danielle B says

    Laura, I was in the organic aisle of my grocery store. i noticed they have organic shortening. So for the heck of it, I checked the ingredients. It had mechanically pressed palm oil. I was going to buy it, but I had NO idea what that meant, or if it was a good kind to get. Is that the kind of palm oil you get?

    [Reply]

    Danielle B Reply:

    Also, the price was $5.99. I don’t remember the size, but if you ever saw a small container of Crisco, (or a bigger) that would be about the right size.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Okay, I’ve done a little bit of research on this now and I THINK the shortening you found should be good! And at $5.99, I’d say that’s a pretty good price too!

    [Reply]

  42. Victoria says

    Right now I am making my daughter’s favorite banana bread recipe, and I did some substitutions. I put in WW flour instead of white, honey instead of sugar and butter instead of crisco. We’ll see how it turns out. I havent even put it in the oven yet.

    [Reply]

    Victoria Reply:

    My banana bread came out SOOO delicious!! My son said its the best he’s ever had. He is 4 s… I’ll take it though! LOL. My daughter will try some when she gets home from school.
    I forgot to add though that the recipe already had buttermilk in it, so I just
    soaked the whole wheat flour in the buttermilk overnight and then did the rest today.
    There were some really dry parts by this morning, because I dont think I mixed it well enough.
    Next time I will knead it a little bit and wrap it real tight or something.
    All in all, it came out great and I love it. It even tastes really buttery so you dont need to add anymore butter on it, but I did…

    [Reply]

  43. Elaine says

    Do you have a favorite recipe for homemade granola bars? I made a recipe this week (from a friend) for the first time–it called for 1/2 c. packed brown sugar and 1/4 c. corn syrup. I substituted the corn syrup for honey (equally). The end result was VERY sweet. Do you think I could sub both the brown sugar and the corn syrup for honey?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s my granola bar recipe: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-chewy-granola-bars-without-corn-syrup. We LOVE it!

    [Reply]

  44. Jill says

    What is your take on agava nectar? I am trying to make healthier baked goods for my sons mid day and lunch snacks and am trying to cut back on the sugar. I tried the agava for the first time today and found the cookies became really dark before they were even done baking and coming together. The end result was very crumbly oatmeal cookie that would not stay together and was really dark….

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve heard mixed reviews on the healthiness of agave. I choose to avoid it and instead use honey and sucanat and maple syrup: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/the-most-nutritious-sweeteners

    [Reply]

  45. Erin says

    My daughter makes frosting for decorated cakes that calls for shortening. Is there something that could be substituted? I read that the melting point of Palm Shortening is 97degrees which seems low and her cakes would melt at a picnic. Any suggestions? She wants to decorate cakes professionally someday.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I was going to suggest Palm Shortening – otherwise I’m not sure what would work well!

    [Reply]

    Erin Reply:

    Hi,

    This was timely. She made Birthday Cake this weekend for my now 7 year old and palm shortening worked dandy. And it’s been pretty warm here(80 in the house) and it hasn’t melted. So thanks!! No shortening-Yay.

    [Reply]

  46. patsy fromherz says

    have you ever tried making peanutbutter chips?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    No, but it’s on my list of things to try some day!

    [Reply]

  47. Susan Robinson says

    I’m curious about your use of coconut oil. Most health articles I’ve read say that any oil that is solid at room temperature is bad for you. Is there a reason that you use this oil? I know you must have researched this, so please enlighten me! You are the first site I check each morning. Thanks for all you do to help us eat better and live healthier!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s an article I wrote about coconut oil and why it’s good for you: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/coconut-oil-why-it-is-good-for-you-and-where-to-buy-it :)

    [Reply]

    Janice Reply:

    Thanks, Laura, for your wonderful website. I found it while searching for recipe adaptations using gluten-free and sugar-free ingredients. I stumbled upon your article on coconut oil in the process, and found it to be excellent. Thanks for the information, and may God bless you!

    [Reply]

  48. Rachel says

    I’ve been using sucanat in recipes recently and the taste is wonderful!! Around here there are only two of us though and stuff lasts a little longer. I’ve noticed after 3 days the quick breads (recently made banana) started creating these little gooey string like things when you pull the bread apart or take a bite. Not sure why its happening. The only thing I’ve changed with my recipes is WH flour, sucanat, and coconut oil.

    Has this ever happened to you? Not sure if its the substitutions and what to do about it!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t had this experience, so I’m not sure. Are you keeping the leftovers in the fridge? I would assume that would prevent this, maybe? :)

    [Reply]

    Rachel Reply:

    Good thought. I’ll try that. I haven’t been putting “baked good” in the fridge. :)
    I figured with all of those hungry eaters you may have not had that problem!

    [Reply]

    C. Dazey Reply:

    Sugar absorbs the moisture in the air (hydroscopic). Since the sucanat that I have seen is a larger crystal than regular white sugar, you are probably just seeing the sugar in a “liquidized” form. I don’t know positively, but that would be my best guess. Best wishes.

    Lacey Reply:

    My banana bread always does this too! However, I never use wheat flours or white sugar. It happens when I simply let the bananas do the sweetening! If I freeze some of the leftovers, they don’t usually do the ” gooey string” thing. I guess now I know: refrigerate or freeze.

    [Reply]

  49. Melissa says

    I was wondering if it would work to use virgin coconut oil in making a pie crust. Have you ever tried this? Since the coconut oil has such a low melting point, is it hard to work with it when making pastry?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t tried it, but I do think it would work.

    [Reply]

  50. Paula Pattison says

    I am just learning about coconut oil (CO) and love finding your helpful site. On my first visit to Heavenly Homemakers, reading about the many benefits of CO, I came across a link in the “Comments” from a nutritionist who questions all the benefits of CO and now I am confused. Unfortunately, I cannot find the link again to research what he posted.

    Your help would be most appreciated. Thank you very much.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m not sure what article you found in the comments, but here is a post I wrote about coconut oil and it’s nutritional benefits: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/coconut-oil-why-it-is-good-for-you-and-where-to-buy-it. Hope that helps!

    [Reply]

  51. Renee says

    I want to make the switch from canola oil to palm shortening for frying, but I have a question. Can you save the extra oil to use next time? For example, when I fry corn tortillas to make tacos, I put enough oil in the pan to submerge the tortilla. When I’m done I put the leftover (cooled) oil in a jar and stick it in the fridge for next time. This maybe an extra horrible no-no, but it’s what mom did! Anyway, I don’t have a problem spending more money for healthy food for my family, but I’d hate to throw out the extra if I can reuse it.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you could save the palm shortening for a future time no prob!

    [Reply]

    Renee Reply:

    Thanks! I just put in my order for a gallon tub…yikes.

    [Reply]

  52. Melissa says

    First off, your website is amazing…such a wealth of information! I’ve already spent hours browsing. Quick question…in a recipe that calls for both white and brown sugar (cookies), do you just exchange sucanat for both?

    A friend told me about Azure Standard awhile back, but I didn’t really get how it worked. You’ve convinced me to put together my first order. Thanks. :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I do use sucanat for both white or brown sugar in recipes. :)

    [Reply]

  53. Karen Dee Davidson says

    I use Sucanat a lot and never experienced the gooey strings. But, I live alone so stuff lasts me a very long time and I do put everything in the fridge. So, maybe that is the cure.
    I always use whole wheat pastry flour for almost everything. You don’t mention that. Is it not as healthy as regular whole wheat flour? Recipes seem to tturn out better for me as it is lighter. Do I don something wrong with the regular whole wheat?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It’s just as healthy, so definitely a good choice. I grind my own flour, using hard white wheat, and just use that for everything because it’s easier. But whole wheat pastry flour (made from soft wheat) is a great choice and probably what I would often use if I didn’t have a grinder.

    [Reply]

  54. Carise says

    Love the margarine comment! I’m so surprised anyone would bake with that nastiness! REAL butter yields such a wonderful result.

    [Reply]

  55. Verna M says

    Whole wheat isn’t whole wheat any more..it’s a huge GMO product which has changed the whole structure. We’d be better off going totally wheat free or at least buying Organic. Sorry, when I see whole wheat listed in any recipe these days, I freak. lol. Just praying no-one is still eating this. Love the other recipes…take care.
    VM

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I agree and always use organic wheat. :)

    [Reply]

    Janice Reply:

    After reading the Wheat Belly Cookbook, I am also trying to get off wheat. Dr. Davis explains in the book how our present-day wheat came into being and the horrible effects the “new” wheat has on our bodies. I have bought many gluten-free ingredients, but now am trying to figure out how to make recipes sugar-free and gluten-free. Thanks for your website, Laura. It is wonderful!!!

    [Reply]

  56. Paula says

    Can you give more ideas of what Palm Shortening can be used for? How would I store a smaller amount in my cupboard if I were to purchase the gallon size. Does it have a stable shelf life?

    Would I just melt it and use it as a substitute or a recipe that call for canola oil?

    Sorry for all the questions.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/healthy-fats The link will lead you to a post Laura did that includes some ideas of what you can do with palm shortening.

    [Reply]

  57. says

    Brown sugar goes hard in my cupboard.I keep it in its original bag,then inside a plastic bag.How can I keep this brown sugar soft?

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    If you add a few small, torn pieces of bread to the bag, your brown sugar will stay soft. It will even soften brick hard brown sugar within a few days. My grandma always did this, and it really works! I just leave the pieces of bread in the bag until it’s gone, and work around it when I need to use the sugar. The sugar sort of preserves it somehow, so the bread doesn’t get yucky or moldy.

    [Reply]

  58. says

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, so I do many of the same things you do. I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly. I usually swap out the flours & sugars for healthier versions, and I always cut the sugar a bit. Such great info!

    [Reply]

  59. BUSY MOM IN AL says

    Thank you for the printable download! Just what I needed.

    I want to try the melted palm shortening to make my mayonnaise recipe later today. Also, we make a ganache for cheesecake and might try the maple syrup instead of the corn syrup next time!

    Thank you!!

    [Reply]

  60. Michelle says

    Many years ago, you suggested using 3/4 c of whole wheat flour for every 1 c of white flour. This has been my standard in converting recipes. Most all recipes turn out great when I do this, and most people can’t tell that I use whole wheat either.

    [Reply]

  61. Kentucky Lady 717 says

    Thanks for this info Laura….printer not working now, hope to print it out later…
    I just purchased some COCONUT FLOUR from Tropical Traditions, can you tell me how to substitute to use that ? I have never baked with coconut flour, but decided to order some so I could get the free coconut oil….(just rec. my free Virgin coconut oil book yesterday too)
    I did notice a few recipes in it tho. But I guess I should check out your recipes online eh? I assume you bake with coconut flour too eh ? I will check and see. Hope you are having a great time at camp…..

    [Reply]

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