Remember those little applesauce cups you ate as a kid? Heck, I’m young, maybe you fed (feed) them to your kids. Well I bet you didn’t know how conducive they are to baking. Mmmhmm, applesauce in baked goods. Plus they are conveniently packaged in 1/2 cup portions, a perfect amount for most recipes. Admittedly not the most environmentally friendly concept out there (does it help that I bought the organic ones?) but if I open an entire jar of applesauce, it’s probably going to grow fur before I use it up. And then that would be wasteful. You can never win…
That’s not the point though. Regardless of what packaging medium you choose, applesauce is probably my favorite baking ingredient. It can replace eggs (1 egg = about 1/4 cup applesauce). Minus the leavening power of course. It can even replace oil and butter (aka fat). You have to be careful with your ratios, no doubt. I have definitely taken it to the extreme but you learn pretty quickly that “vegan, gluten-free, fat-free, dairy-free, item of your choice” frankly just tastes like crap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a major advocate for healthy food but at the end of the day, a little oil isn’t going to hurt you. In fact, for the bran muffin recipe I’m sharing, I replaced the original 1 cup of buttermilk with 1/2 cup each applesauce and water. I kept the oil the same because at 1/3 cup, the amount really wasn’t significant in the first place.
With baking, you have to remember that each and every ingredient has a function. There is a science behind the outcome of your cookies, cakes, muffins, tarts, you name it. Get rid of eggs? Sure, no problem. Add some applesauce and extra baking powder to compensate. Get rid of eggs and flour, thus making a vegan and gluten-free product? You are going to start encountering some problems. I’m not saying it’s impossible but it’s a feat, that’s for sure. Because guess what’s gives Product(x) it’s structure? Hmm, protein. Where does protein come from? Eggs. And flour (gluten). Goodbye eggs and flour, goodbye protein, goodbye structure. Hello mush! So basically from my experience, what I am trying to tell you is that it’s great to experiment. That’s what cooking is all about. But in doing so, you can only alter so many variables. When you change 14 different things from the original recipe (I’m definitely guilty of doing this) and something goes wrong, how are you ever going to figure out the culprit? You just get frustrated and throw together another random recipe which fails (most likely, hey it could magically work out). Then you’re back to square 1. So experiment all you want, just be smart about it. Otherwise you just end up hating your life and going to sulk in a corner because you “suck at cooking, are a failure at life and should just give up”.
Wow, I went from applesauce to that? So then, how about some bran muffins?
Applesauce Raspberry Bran Muffins
adapted from AllRecipes
– 1 1/2 cups bran
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
– 1/3 cup oil
– 1 egg
– 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (or fruit of your choice)
– 2/3 cup white sugar
– 1 cup flour
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– cinnamon, to taste