You may be put off by the idea of light baking for a variety of reasons.
I went overboard during the”no fat” craze of the late 80s and 90s and gorged on no-fat baked treats that sacrificed flavor for calories and never seemed to satisfy me. And I difficulty managing my weight.
Then I became a bit of a “food snob” believing that anything except the “real” thing when it came to desserts and baked goods, wasn’t worth the effort. And I had difficulty managing my weight.
These days I prefer to find the healthy balance – sometimes indulging in small amounts of the “real” thing and sometimes looking for ways to cut calories and fat to create light versions of some of my favorite baked goods that still taste great. (And surprisingly enough, I’m finding it easier to manage my weight.)
I think the key is to find the balance and not get extreme in either direction. Find ways to lighten your baked points only to the point where you still find them tasty. It will take some experimentation, but it’s worth it.
Here are some tried and true tips for successful Light Baking
One of the keys to successful low-fat baking is moisture. Many traditional recipes for baked goods – especially cookies and cakes – depend on a large amount of fat – usually oil and butter – for this. But, if you reduce the butter or oil too much, your desserts may turn out too dry. And since fat carries, flavor they may not taste as good either.
To keep your baked goods moist but light, try substituting applesauce for up to 1/3 of the total butter or oil in your favorite cookie and cake recipes. If you are pleased with the results, you can experiment with using even less oil and more applesauce and see it you are still happy with your dish turns out.
Pumpkin puree and mashed bananas also work well as oil replacements in muffins, quick breads and some cakes.
More Light Baking Tips
- Use cooking spray, nonstick pans, parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil, instead of shortening or butter to grease your baking pans.
- Try non-fat Greek yogurt, sour-cream or skim buttermilk in place of sour cream.
- Try reduced fat milk or skim evaporated milk in place of full fat milk.
- Experiment with reducing the sugar called for by up to 25%.
- Use mini chocolate chips instead of full size chocolate morsels and cut back the amount a bit.
- Try slivered or chopped, toasted nuts in your baking and use less than the recipe calls for.
- Sprinkle chips or nuts on top of your cake, muffin, quick bread and brownie batters, instead stirring them into the batter, so you can use less but still get the taste in each bite.
- Substitute 2 egg whites for each whole egg.
- Try reduced fat cream cheese instead of regular.
- Shrink your favorite treats. Make mini-muffins instead of regular size. Bake brownies in mini-muffin tins. Use a teaspoon, instead of a tablespoon to portion out cookie dough. Bake your cheese cake or pumpkin pie in muffin tins instead of a pie plate. That way you get the same delicious taste, but in a portion-controled amount.
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