I can’t find Buttermilk!
Buttermilk can be found in most major grocery stores. However, it is often sold in half gallon containers and can expire quickly. There are many alternatives.
Powdered buttermilk is also found in most major grocery stores. The key to making this work correctly is to mix in the powder with the dry ingredients and use water where the recipe calls for buttermilk. While water works fine, milk can also be used and tastes slightly better.
Milk and Vinegar
You can also use milk and vinegar as a substitute as buttermilk. mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Place the heavy cream in a tightly sealed jar. Shake the jar like crazy for several minutes. Babysitting kids or have children? Ask them to shake it, they will think its fun…just make sure they don’t spill it or break the jar! You could also just place it in your stand mixer and use the whisk attachment on high speed until you see the cream separate. At the end, you will see that it separated into a solid (butter) and liquid (buttermilk). Pour the buttermilk out and use it as desired. You can still use this butter, too! Just knead it over some cold water and place it in the fridge. I usually use it in whatever I am baking as it will be a good thickness.
Chocolate Chips, Baking Chocolate, Chocolate wafers…does it make a difference?
Weirdly enough, it does. You wouldn’t think so, because I mean, its all chocolate right? But the size and the composition of these change the melting points slightly and can also affect how quickly they settle. So I would recommend following which type of chocolate is indicated in the recipes. Although when I started to bake, I only used chocolate chips (I did not enjoy chopping chocolate bars into small pieces) and the recipes still came out fine. However, when I switched to used the type of chocolate indicated, I could taste the difference!
So some of my recipes call for using a candy thermometer. My best advice it to grab one. Regular cooking thermometers might not go up to the temperature you need and also a lot don’t have a clamp for you to attach it to the side of a saucepan. And trust me, you will need that. When you are waiting for a sugar mixture to heat to 230° F, hovering over the pot with a thermometer is not ideal. Also..make sure the thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan. You want the temperature of the mixture, not the saucepan!
If you really can’t find a thermometer, I wouldn’t suggest making that item. For the fact that sugar and the temperatures you are baking too are very temperamental, and not heating an item up or heating something too much can ruin your recipe!
But if you are really insistent, you can heat sugar solutions to different temperatures you can test by their “stages”. This is done by taking a ting bit of solution out of the pot and placing it in a bowl of room temperature water to see how it forms. Look up a table of the stage of the sugar to test at.