Once you try making these ingredients, you might decide you prefer doing them yourself. They can be made in small amounts so they stay fresh. Because they are easy to make, and the staples you need are probably in your pantry, you don't have to run out to the grocery store if you are out of something.

BUTTERMILK - The easiest way to create buttermilk is to put a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup and add enough milk to equal a full cup. Let it sit on the counter for about five minutes. You can make real buttermilk by pouring heavy cream into a blender and run on high speed until butter forms and the buttermilk separates from the butter. Strain out the buttermilk, and make sure none is left in the butter. This is a great way to have unsalted butter to use for recipes that call for it. If you don't have a blender, the cream can be put into a jar with a tight lid and shaken by hand. The family can take turns!

BUTTER - Using the method above, it produces butter and buttermilk at the same time.

CONFECTIONER'S SUGAR - Making confectioner's sugar is a simple matter in the blender. Blend one cup of granulated sugar until it turns to powder. This is the equivalent of one cup of confectioner's sugar.

BROWN SUGAR - To one cup white sugar, add one tablespoon molasses for light brown sugar, or two tablespoons for dark. Stir and mix thoroughly, and then store in an airtight container or zip lock bag. This can be made in larger quantity so you can keep it on hand, as you would any brown sugar.

CAKE FLOUR - If you are baking something that calls for cake flour and you don't have any, put two tablespoons of cornstarch in a one-cup measuring cup, then fill the cup with all-purpose flour. This will replace one cup of cake flour and can be used in any recipe that calls for cake flour. If you need more, increase the ingredients proportionately. Pour it into a bowl and stir it, then measure out what you need.

BAKING POWDER - For one tablespoon baking powder, mix thoroughly 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar. To keep it from clumping, stir in 1 teaspoon cornstarch. This is healthy because most commercial baking powder contains aluminum.

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