Substitution Solutions for Baked Goods

By Chef Cindy Ferron, CEPC
September 2015

As a certified pastry chef and faculty member with JWU, I'm often asked by nonprofessionals about gluten-free baking. Almost always, the conversation opens with a grumble about someone's attempt that ended with dry or flavorless results. Gluten-free baking is an area that I focus on in my Designing Healthy Desserts class. I guide my students through various methods to develop desserts by either creating new desserts that are healthy or by substituting ingredients in traditional desserts to make them conform to specific dietary restrictions. I teach my students that although we are modifying ingredients, the right ingredients enable us to retain quality, quantity, variety and visual appeal. It's very rewarding when I see my students utilize their knowledge of sound nutrition principles to develop original creations.

Oftentimes, I'll break my class into teams and direct them to incorporate a substitution for butter. When I show them a bowl of black beans, they look at me with bewilderment and wonder if they've mistakenly stepped into a Vegetarian Cuisine class. Wrong. I explain that once pureed, black beans can be added to a batter for brownies in place of butter. Their color blends well with the familiar cocoa shade of a chocolate brownie, and the consistency adds a moist and chewy texture. And what a bonus for your body with the added fiber and protein.

Not a fan of the beans? Try other substitutions with the same impact such as a mashed avocado, Greek yogurt, silken tofu, fat free sour cream, light cream cheese, or fruit puree.

See Chef Ferron's substitution solutions: