We've all been there: tired and hungry, we pull out the necessary ingredients for a recipe, only to discover that we ran out of ___. Rather than scrap the meal altogether or make a desperate rush to the store, we'd like to think that with a little ingenuity and a sprinkling of know-how, many potential disasters can be averted.

Before we share a few — dare we say it — simply genius ingredient hacks, we have a little pop quiz for you. What baking and brining superstar can be approximated in a pinch with a mixture of milk and lemon juice?

For the answer (and more kitchen hacks), keep reading.

How to hack:

  • Buttermilk: Mix together 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and let sit for about 10 minutes or until thick and slightly curdled.
  • Light brown sugar: With a whisk (and a little elbow grease) or in the bowl of a stand mixer, thoroughly combine 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses.
  • Dark brown sugar: Same method as for light brown sugar, just make sure to add an extra tablespoon molasses.
  • Cake flour: Sift together 2 tablespoons cornstarch for every 1 cup all-purpose flour.
  • Self-rising flour: Whisk together 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon kosher salt per 1 cup all-purpose flour.
  • Almond meal/flour: Blitz raw almonds in a food processor or blender til finely ground (be careful to stop before it breaks down into almond butter).