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Old 10-22-2009, 12:38 PM   #1
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Substitute for balsamic vinegar?

I have a recipe for Cherry Oatmeal Bars and it calls for 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar. I don't have any and I was wondering if I can't substitute anything else instead. The other ingredients are Cherry pie filling, butter, brown sugar, soda, eggs, flour, quick oats and pistachio nuts.

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Old 10-22-2009, 12:43 PM   #2
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You could probably leave it out. The brown sugar may be acidic enough to react with the soda on its own, but I'd probably add a few squeezes of orange juice just to be on the safe side.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:57 PM   #3
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At a minimum, you have to replace the 1/2 cup of liquid the balsamic provides.

I don't think any other vinegar would help the recipe. Perhaps you should either buy the balsamic or try another recipe.
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:27 PM   #4
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Do you have apple or cider vinegar, or any other wine vinegar? I'd go with that. The thing is to find out what the purpose of vinegar in the recipe. Sinse I've never made anything like that I have no clue what it's for. Normally vinegar is used to react with soda. But half a cup is a lot, it might be for some other puropse too. Brown sugar is not acidic enough by any strech.
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:59 PM   #5
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Do you have apple or cider vinegar, or any other wine vinegar? I'd go with that. The thing is to find out what the purpose of vinegar in the recipe. Sinse I've never made anything like that I have no clue what it's for. Normally vinegar is used to react with soda. But half a cup is a lot, it might be for some other puropse too. Brown sugar is not acidic enough by any strech.
Half a cup seem alot to me too, I think I will find another recipe. Thanks.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:06 PM   #6
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Oh gosh, I didn't even realize the recipe called for so much vinegar! Yes, you definitely need to replace the liquid. Let's see...it's hard to tell what kind of liquid would work best without knowing what the end product is supposed to taste like. You could use water for some, orange juice, buttermilk, yogurt thinned with milk...

Brown sugar does react with baking soda, to the best of my knowledge. Baking soda is usually the leavener in cookie recipes and brown sugar is often the primary acidic ingredient. Since the recipe is for "bars" the brown sugar may be enough with the addition of a little more acid (a few squeezes of orange juice) if the bars are supposed to be dense; if they are supposed to be cakey, something else is probably needed.

The cherry pie filling may be acidic too, since cherries are naturally acidic.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:16 PM   #7
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A lot of "supermarket" "balsamic vinegar" is just red wine vinegar with sugar and color added. You might be able to sub red wine vinegar and sugar.
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:12 PM   #8
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...
Brown sugar does react with baking soda, to the best of my knowledge. ...

I wonder about this. Interesting. Never heard such thing. Need to discuss this.
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:45 PM   #9
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Red wine vinegar and brown sugar is an OK start as balsamic substitute, but you need to cut the sourness some so something along the lines of 2/3 vinegar to 1/3 water.

Chinese black vinegar shares many flavor notes with balsamic and is fairly cheap but you aren't likely to have that on hand if you don't have balsamic either.

I don't think brown sugar will give you the reaction you need to react with the baking soda.

Cookies that are basically sugar, butter, egg will use baking powder which supplies it's own acid to react.
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:25 PM   #10
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I believe it's the molasses in the brown sugar that makes it acidic.

FWIW, all of my cookie recipes but one have only baking soda as the leavening agent. Like I said, it likely wouldn't work for a cake-like texture, but it appears to be enough for cookies.
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