Whether it’s due to being vegan, or having allergies or any other kind of dietary restriction, a food substitution that always seems to give bakers a hard time is baking without eggs. Applesauce, it turns out, might be your best bet. Eggs embody the binding function in baking. Much of an egg’s volume consists of water, so they account for a good portion of your recipe’s liquid. Many recipes also count on eggs to trap some of the air that leavens and lightens the finished product. However, most importantly, eggs tie all the wet and dry ingredients together to make them into one cohesive, enjoyable treat. Like a cookie!

After spending many, many hours experimenting in the kitchen with substitutions, I’ve personally found that when it comes to baked treats — cookies especially — I prefer applesauce. It does a beautiful job of emulsifying and only gives a mild taste that I find pleasant in most things. Plus, it also cuts down on the amount of added sugar you need to put into your desserts. (Of course, this is the case if you’re making your applesauce at home or buying an all-natural product.)

Here’s the substitution ratio that I’ve worked out: ¼ cup of applesauce is the equivalent of one egg

So, if you need to sub for two eggs, add ½ cup of applesauce. If your recipe calls for three eggs or more, applesauce and most other substitutes become problematic. Recipes containing that much egg usually rely on the eggs to provide much of their structure.

Cookie Comparison

So, how do things change when compared side by side? Well… one of the perks of using a recipe that subs in applesauce for eggs is that you can eat a spoonful of cookie dough without a second thought (as long as you’re using heat-treated flour). Plus, applesauce adds a dimension of cake-y texture that just can’t be replicated with eggs. So if you’re a fan of those ooey, gooey, chewy chocolate chip cookies, use some applesauce instead of raw eggs. Applesauce cookies go particularly well with a drizzle of caramel in the dough to accompany the chocolate chips.

However, if you’re more into a crispy chocolate chip cookie that has a bit of a *snap* to it when you bite, you’ll want to stick to an original recipe. A classic chocolate chip cookie recipe also makes a great foundation for trying out all different kinds of variations without having to worry about how an applesauce substitution will affect the addition of other ingredients. Try each recipe and taste-test for yourself. Either way, make sure to choose high-quality baking chocolate so that you get the most decadent cookies possible.

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(Photo via Chris Andre / Brit + Co)