Image: Davis

Yesterday I placed an order with Instacart, and as usual some of the items I requested were unavailable. Among the no-shows was baking powder, which threw a monkey wrench into my plans to make a banana bread.

Luckily I recalled a hack that I had jotted down in my kitchen journal that saved the day. It was a way of making baking powder using other ingredients in my pantry. Specifically, you can combine 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar with a quarter teaspoon of baking soda to equal 1 teaspoon baking powder.

Should you find yourself in a similar predicament with grocery shelves often depleted here are a few other substitutions for missing ingredients:

Brown sugar: Combine 1 cup white sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses in a bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. This will result in 1 cup of brown sugar. As with commercially sold brown sugar, keep your homemade brown sugar in an airtight container or plastic bag.

Confectioner’s sugar: To a blender container, add 1 cup of white sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Pulse until the mixture has the powdery consistency of confectioners’ sugar. Again, store in an airtight container or plastic bag.

Buttermilk: Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a 1-cup measure. Add enough milk to reach the 1-cup fill line. (Whole milk is best for this.) Allow to stand for 5 minutes. The result will be 1 cup of buttermilk. Alternatively, combine 1 cup of plain yogurt or 1¾ teaspoons cream of tartar to 1 cup of milk.

Sour cream: Add 1 cup of powdered milk to 1 cup of water. Stir in a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Let stand until it achieves the desired thickness.