Although cookies come in different shapes, sizes, and flavors, they have one common denominator: we all love them. While some only enjoy eating them, there are also those who enjoy preparing cookies for others as well. This second group is well aware that baking soda is one of the key ingredients in almost all recipes. Being the crucial ingredient of not only cookies but of many different baked goods, baking soda has a nasty tendency to run out just when you need it the most. If you don’t have an open store or a friendly neighbor at your disposal at all times, you may find this article helpful as it will offer some advice on how to prepare delicious cookies without baking soda.
It is not easy to find the right substitute for baking soda, but it is not impossible either. There are a few ingredients that you may use and as long as you know the right ratios, your cookies should come out as delicious as ever.
Substitute For Baking Soda In Cookies
Baking powder tops the list of replacements primarily because most households have a box kicking about somewhere. If you don’t have one, the good news is that it can be found at most stores, unlike baking soda which can be hard to track down at times.
The ratio to use is 4:1, i.e. for one teaspoon of baking soda cited in the cookies’ recipe add four teaspoons of baking powder. You will not need to add any extra ingredients if you use this ratio.
Potassium bicarbonate is a great baking soda replacement for people who need to be careful about their sodium intake. The downside is that this particular ingredient is not that easy to find, as most convenience stores don’t have it on the shelves.
However, you can usually find potassium bicarbonate in a number of drugstores in the supplement section. It is often used by people who need to lower their blood pressure or suffer from acid reflux. Apart from these valuable properties, it will also make for a great substitute for baking soda in your cookies.
The ratio is 1:1 as potassium bicarbonate has almost the same properties (minus sodium). If you do not have any issues with your sodium intake, you should add about 1/3 of a teaspoon of salt for every teaspoon of potassium bicarbonate and it will basically be exactly the same as using baking powder in your recipe.
Baking Soda Vs. Baking Powder
Although they are quite similar in name, baking soda and baking powder differ rather significantly in terms of their chemical compositions. Baking soda needs an acidic component to be able to perform its most important baking function (i.e. the leavening). The usual suspects in baking are yogurt, lemon juice, brown sugar, vinegar, and chocolate. The basic properties of baking soda react with the acidic properties of these ingredients, causing the rising of the dough. Another great thing about baking soda is that it has an indefinite shelf life.
Baking powder is basically baking soda already mixed with an acid component, most often the cream of tartar. It is therefore fitting for pastries that do not already have one or more acidic components mentioned above, but it can also be used instead of baking soda (it does not work the other way around, though). The downsides of baking powder are that you will need to use more to achieve the same effect (ratio of about 4:1, as already mentioned) and it doesn’t have an indefinite shelf life, i.e. it can go “bad”.
Potassium Bicarbonate Health Benefits
Apart from being a great substitute for baking soda, potassium bicarbonate can also have some very positive effects on your health. Bearing that in mind, you might consider introducing potassium bicarbonate to some of your baking recipes even if you are not out of baking soda.
We’ve already mentioned this substance plays an important role in blood pressure regulation and it is recommended as a nutrition supplement for persons suffering from high blood pressure. But this is just one of a number of benefits.
Some studies have indicated that persons with lower potassium bicarbonate intake are at a greater risk of heart attack or stroke. Adding potassium bicarbonate to your diet, even if only as a substitute for baking soda, can help you significantly reduce the risk of these health complications.
This ingredient will also help with your muscle mass and decrease bone loss.
All these are good reasons to start using potassium bicarbonate more in your cookie recipes, especially if you need to watch out for your daily sodium intake.
Baking Cookies Without Leavening Agent
In the event that you have neither baking soda nor any substitutes for baking soda in cookies, the good news is that you can still make them. There are several recipes that can be of help in this scenario, but the most important thing to bear in mind is the number of eggs in your recipe.
Eggs will help with the rising of the dough to some extent, so you don’t have to worry too much about baking soda in your cookies. They might have a somewhat different, more dense feel to them, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
Hopefully, these few alternatives will make your life easier when it comes to baking everyone’s favorite food. With or without baking soda at hand, you will be able to surprise your children and guests with delicious cookies at any time of day or night.
If you are looking for cookies recipes, there is a great number of them floating out there, so you just need to pick your favorite flavor and give it a try!
Images used via the Creative Commons license – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Image One by Ivan Ingals – https://www.flickr.com/photos/plutor/3646688/
Image Two by Moyan Brenn – https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/6672151307/
Image Three by Moyan Brenn – https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/6672151563/