One of my family’s favorite desserts is Peanut Butter Bars. If I follow the recipe exactly, it makes a 9×13 pan of Peanut Butter Bars. But unless we’re having a party, that’s a very bad idea – because we’ll eat them all. And that’s a lot of calories. So I’ve gotten in the habit of cutting the recipe in half. That makes an 8×8 pan of Peanut Butter Bars and that’s more than enough.
The ingredients for Peanut Butter bars are:
- 2 sticks margarine
- 1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups milk chocolate
All those ingredients are easy to cut in half except the graham cracker crumbs. But I figured out that half of 1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs is 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons of crumbs or ¾ cup plus 1/8 cup of crumbs. Whew! Math is not my best subject so that was tough!
So the next time you’re cutting a recipe in half or thirds, keep these tips in mind:
1. If a recipe calls for half an egg, beat the egg and then measure our 2 tablespoons. Or use 2 tablespoons of egg substitute.
2. Not all ingredients have to be reduced. Some recipes will allow you some flexibility. For example, if you’re making a half batch of chili and you only need half a can of beans, rather than throwing out the unused half you can probably put the whole can of beans in the chili. If you don’t want to, you can freeze the other half. But just remember that sometimes you can use the whole can instead of just half.
3. When reducing seasonings, if you have to round the amount, round down. You can always add more but it’s hard to take out what’s already in your recipe.
4. When cooking a reduced recipe in a skillet or saucepan, also reduce the size of the pan. If the pan is too big, liquids can evaporate too fast causing your recipe to be dry.
5. If you’re reducing a casserole, you won’t necessarily use a dish exactly half the size of the original. Casseroles, especially ones with sauce, tend to bubble as they cook so you need a little extra room so they don’t boil over.
6. If you’re reducing the amount of pasta, you’ll still want plenty of water when you cook the pasta.
7. In some recipes the cooking time will need to be adjusted as well. However, for meat, the cooking time will remain the same.
8. For some recipes, especially baked goods, it may be easier to make the whole recipe and freeze half.
9. When halving a recipe that calls for a 9 x 2 x 13-inch pan, use a square 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan or a round 9 x 2-inch pan.
10. To help divide recipes, remember:
- 1 cup = 16 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
- 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
- 1 fluid ounce = 2 tablespoons
- 1 pound = 16 ounces (weight)
- 1 pint = 2 cups
- 2 pints = 1 quart
- 1 quart = 2 pints
And in case you’re math challenged like I am, you can download this chart with some common measurements that are already reduced for you.