If part of your New Year’s Resolution is to get healthier, one way you can do this is making some substitutions in your recipes. If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve made “healthy” versions of some of your favorite baked goods and ended up throwing them away. I remember last Christmas we tried to decrease the fat and sugar content in my grandmother’s pizzelle recipe. Instead of those nice, crisp, Italian cookies I remember from childhood, we ended up with soft, rubbery, tasteless things that I wouldn’t even call a cookie. So this year as I try to cook healthier, I started looking into ways to bake with less calories and fat but maintain the same good taste.
The more I researched this, the more I discovered that you can’t make a baked good 100% healthy and still expect it to taste ok. It’s still a baked good after all. However, you can make it healthier. That’s important because, as I pointed out in a previous post – the point is to still eat a wide variety of food but in healthier ways.
To Reduce Sugar/Simple Carbohydrate Content:
- Up to 1/2 cup of sugar may be substituted with a sugar substitute.
- You can usually reduce sugar in a recipe by ¼ to 1/3 in cookies, pies, and quick breads. Although, it may not work as well in cakes
- Adding vanilla extract in baking goods gives the essence of sweetness that makes up for the reduced sugar.
- Whole-wheat flour can be substituted for up to half of the called-for all-purpose flour. However, whole-wheat pastry flour is less dense and works well in softer products such as cakes and muffins.
To Reduce Fat Content:
- You can usually reduce fat in a recipe by 1/4 to 1/3 in cookies, pies, and quick breads without affecting the product.
- Replace half of the fat in a recipe with unsweetened applesauce, low-fat yogurt, or prune puree.
- Use lower-fat versions of the ingredients called for in a recipe, such as 1% or skim milk rather than whole, use low-fat cheeses, etc.
- To avoid dense, soggy or flat baked goods, don’t substitute oil for butter or shortening.
- Use cooking sprays or non-stick pans instead of butter or shortening to grease the pans.
To Reduce Salt
- Use half the amount of salt called for in a recipe. In some dishes, you can totally omit salt. For example, cooking rice or pasta. However, DO NOT eliminate salt from yeast bread or rolls; it is essential for yeast action.
- Rather than using salt for seasoning, try spices, herbs, vinegar, flavoring extracts, fruit peal, or your own blend of seasonings.