I am an avid baker. I grew up helping my mom create her famous chocolate chip cookies and even had the recipe memorized at one point in time. Since then I’ve loved experimenting with different flavors and combinations of cookies, muffins and breads.
What’s really fun though is experimenting with healthier substitutions. Try to use one of the following in your next baking excursion.
Yep, beans in your baked goods. Puree some beans to sneak in some extra fiber and protein into your treats. Black bean brownies go over quite well in my experience. You will want to make sure if you are using beans from a can that you drain and rinse them well in order to better disguise these legumes in your recipe.
2. Whole wheat flour.
Whole wheat is the less processed version of white flour. The general consensus is that the less processed foods are, the better they are for you since they retain much of the original nutrients. Try substituting half of the white flour with whole wheat flour. The flavor and consistency will change if you substitute all whole wheat because of the higher amount of gluten that forms. The higher the gluten that forms, the tougher the product will be so use caution when subbing whole wheat flour.
This potassium-packed fruit can be substituted for the butter in a recipe. About one pureed banana per stick of butter or ½ cup of oil. You can also use a little less sugar since bananas are naturally sweet. Just don’t omit the sugar completely since it has a scientific purpose in the recipe. The resulting baked good will have a fluffier consistency, so keep that in mind when substituting in a cookie recipe. I’ve made banana cookies before that were really more similar to muffin tops. I didn’t hear a single complaint though!
Applesauce is very similar to bananas in substitution except for the flavor. It can be substituted for the fat and you can also reduce the sugar due to the natural sweetness of the apples.
5. Greek yogurt.
Adding Greek yogurt to your baking treats will add protein as well as calcium. I have directly substituted plain or vanilla Greek yogurt in cake and muffin recipes, but the texture was a little sticky. Luckily, Chobani sent me an infographic to show how to substitute Greek yogurt for the fats or oils in a dessert. For every cup of oil in the recipe, substitute ¾ cup of Greek yogurt. For every cup of butter, keep ½ cup of the butter and add ¼ cup Greek yogurt.
6. Chia seeds.
These nutrient-packed seeds can be substituted for the eggs in a recipe by creating a chia gel. Simply mix 1 TBS chia seeds with 2 TBS warm water per egg in a bowl and let set for a couple of minutes. The chia seeds will absorb the water and create a thick gel that will bind your ingredients together like the eggs would. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also a great a good choice for making vegan recipes.
So what do you say? Is it time to have some fun in the kitchen and make your desserts a little healthier? Try not telling people your treats are healthy and watching as they scarf down your creation. Then tell them how it’s actually semi-healthy and watch their amazement. Happy Baking!
Do you substitute in your baking? What do you use?
Originally posted 2013-10-08 11:36:32.