Healthy Baking Tips!

One of the biggest problems for those of us who love to bake, is that quite often the best baked goods are the ones that are the worst for you. Here are some helpful tips that could help you continue to increase your baking repetoire without increasing your waistline.

1) Paying a little extra for high-quality products, like premium chocolate and pure vanilla extract, can pay off. More-flavourful ingredients make you less likely to miss any calories you’ve cut out.

2) Puree soft or silken tofu, then use it in a one-to-one ratio to replace half the fat in your favourite brownie recipe. It has a neutral taste, so the chocolate flavour still shines through, plus it’s high in protein and calcium.

3) Beetroot add’s sweetness and moisture without taking away from the flavour. Add two-thirds of a cup of finely grated raw beetroot to brownie batter and you can reduce the sugar by a quarter cup.

4) For a lighter spin on cream cheese frosting, which is typically made with full-fat cream cheese and butter, beat together an eight-ounce block of reduced-fat cream cheese, one cup of powdered sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. The fluffy icing contains a mere 59 calories and three grams of fat per tablespoon.

5) Buttercream can pack more than 140 calories and five grams of fat in just two tablespoons, frosting your cake with nonfat whipped topping instead, or sifting on powdered sugar, which contains just 10 calories per teaspoon. Chocoholics: Melt 16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate with a quarter cup of low-fat milk, then spread the mixture on your cake or cupcake.

6) Use two egg whites or a quarter cup of egg substitute in place of one egg and you’ll trim about 60 calories and six grams of fat from your treats. You can skip eggs altogether by combining a half teaspoon of baking powder, one tablespoon of vinegar and one tablespoon of water. Or mix together one tablespoon of omega-3-rich ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water.

7) Most chocolate chip cookies are seven times larger than what is considered a healthy portion. To bring yours back down to waistline-friendly reality, use a tablespoon to measure out dough. Baking brownies or a sheet cake? Cut them into two-inch squares before serving. Pie slices should be about one and a half inches across at the widest part.

8) The next time you make chocolate chip cookies, use one cup of mini morsels instead of two cups of the regular kind to slash 1,120 calories and 64 grams of fat. The smaller pieces provide more chips per bite, so you still feel as if you’re getting plenty of chocolate. Apply the same principle to other calorie-dense ingredients, like nuts and dried fruit, by finely chopping half the amount called for in the recipe.

7) Replacing one cup of white flour with the whole wheat kind adds 10 grams of heart-healthy fiber to your famous kind of cookie. Because whole grains are coarser than refined ones, start with a fifty-fifty mix and gradually increase the amount of whole wheat flour with each batch until you strike the best balance. If you’re a purist, use white whole wheat flour. It’s made with white wheat rather than the red wheat used in regular whole wheat flour. It tastes milder and has a lighter texture but contains all the fiber and nutrients.

8) Browning enhances butter’s flavour, so you can use half as much and make up the difference with an equal amount of low-fat cream cheese. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to foam, then stir. Once the butter turns golden brown, transfer it to a resealable container immediately (otherwise it can burn) and pop it in the fridge for up to a month.


9) You know meringue as cloudlike cookies, but it can double as a piecrust, saving you 40 calories and eight grams of fat per slice. To make a meringue crust, beat three egg whites with a quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar on high speed until foamy. Gradually beat in three-quarters of a cup of sugar until the whites are glossy and stiff, then a half teaspoon of vanilla. Spread in a greased pie dish and bake at 225° for one hour or until a knife comes out clean.


10) Sugar adds sweetness and light, but you can cut back on it by up to 25 percent and still keep that soft, airy texture. And because the amount of sugar called for in many recipes results in treats that are overly sweet, in some cases you’ll actually improve the flavour.

11) Prefer to use sugar substitutes? They have a different chemical consistency and are often sweeter than sugar, meaning you’ll need less, For best results, use sweetener-sugar hybrids developed specifically for baking, and follow the substitution directions on the package (most say to swap in a half cup for one cup of sugar).

12) Curb calories by pumping up the produce in your batter. When I make banana bread, for instance, I’ll add an extra cup of fruit, it increases the volume and adds fiber, which helps keep you fuller longer. Or add puree’d or finely grated vegetables to your treats.


Mega ­Calorie Savers

Slim down your sweets and score an extra dose of nutrients by using fruit and veggie purees. They make desserts denser, so try a 25 to 50 percent trade to find the right ratio.

  1. Applesauce

Best bets: The mild flavour of unsweetened applesauce works particularly well in muffins and cakes. Use an equal amount to replace some of the butter, or oil.

  1. Canned pumpkin or sweet potato puree

Best bets: Substitute either one for fat in a one-to-one ratio in spice breads, spice cakes, or chocolate desserts. You can also add a can of pumpkin to a box of brownie mix in place of the eggs and oil.

  1. Prunes or dates

Best bets: These add richness and deepen the colour of gingerbread and brownies. Blend a half cup with six tablespoons of water until smooth, then use the puree to replace an equal amount of fat.

  1. Bananas

Best bets: Avoid adding bananas to anything you don’t want to taste vaguely fruity. Try subbing half the amount of the oil called for with the same amount of mashed banana.