Friday, February 10, 2012

Healthy Substitutions: Baking

I love baking. It's like an art form. Technically, you're supposed to follow the recipes exactly...


While, most of the time, this is very very true -- forgetting the baking soda, or adding more than a pinch of salt could spell disaster -- there are a few substitutions you can make to healthy-up that next batch of muffins or cookies.  Let's talk healthy baking substitutions.

Whole wheat flour for white flour -- let's start with the basics. If you're still using enriched, bleached, white-as-snow flour, you're missing out on a lot of good nutrients and fiber. Whole wheat flour includes the outer shell of the grain, so the texture will be a bit more coarse than white flour but you can substitute whole wheat for white flour in a 1:1 ratio. I do all of my baking with whole wheat flour unless I'm going for a really traditional feel (and as you probably know, traditional isn't really my MO).

Avocado puree for butter -- this is a good vegan substitute. If you're looking to cut out fat, this isn't the way to go, but avocados have all the great things that other fruits and veggies have and butter doesn't. Avocados have pretty much the same consistency as butter at room temperature and can be subbed in a 1:1 ratio. Avocados have a subtle flavor that goes really well in brownies or chocolate puddings, just know that you may taste a slight hint of 'cado in a cookie recipe!

"Flax eggs" for eggs -- 1 regular egg = 1 flax egg = 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water, mixed and allowed to set/gel for about 10 minutes. For cookies and muffins, they will add a boost of omega-3's and some extra fiber, but I might shy away from recipes that really use the eggs to be a sticking agent. Flax eggs just aren't as sticky as regular eggs.

Unsweetened applesauce for butter or oil -- I've successfully used applesauce in place of oil in a 1:1 ratio. If you use it to replace butter, it can get a little tricky because you'll have to add a bit more of the dry ingredients to offset the extra moisture in the app'sauce. I would suggest replace up to 3/4 of the butter in a recipe with apple sauce to start. Don't forget to reduce sugar if you use sweetened applesauce.

Mashed bananas for butter -- bananas can definitely be subbed in for butter to reduce fat in a recipe and add some extra potassium and vitamin B, but they definitely add sweetness, so cut down on the sugar the recipe calls for if you do this. Sub in a 1:1 ratio.

Vanilla for sugar -- adding an extra couple of teaspoons of vanilla and cutting the sugar in half in a recipe is an easy way to reduce calories in a recipe without sacrificing sweetness. If you're wary of this, start by cutting the sugar by 1/4 and only adding one extra teaspoon of vanilla.

Turbinado sugar/sucanat/blackstrap molasses for white sugar -- here's another back to basics suggestion. You lose a lot of the good stuff in the processing of white sugar (much like white flour!) As a general rule, go for less processed ingredients of any kind and you'll get the added benefit of fiber which helps those calories metabolize more slowly in your body.

Cacao nibs for chocolate chips -- here's that golden rule again, less process ingredients are healthier! Cacao nibs don't have all the added sugar that chocolate chips do, so by default they won't taste as sweet, but they're a good stand in if you want to cut out some sugar.

There are so many more, but at the risk of making this post unbearable to read, I will spare you. What healthier substitutes do you use for baking?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...