8 tips for healthier baking

Cut fat and calories in your baking without sacrificing the taste. 

Going healthy doesn’t mean you have to starve your sweet tooth and skip out on the dessert course. Here are eight tips for reducing the fat and sugar in your baking recipes. We promise, you won’t even notice they’re gone.

1. Try using applesauce, strained prunes, mashed bananas, and other pureed fruits as substitutes for at least some of the fat in cookie and cake recipes. The fruit adds the moisture and texture generally contributed by fat; it also imparts sweetness and extra flavour.

2. Reduce or even eliminate sugar in fruit pies; use extra cinnamon and other spices to perk up flavour.

3. Cut the fat content in pies by using one crust; reduce it even further with a low-fat graham cracker crust or make a deep-dish crustless pie or cobbler. A low-fat graham cracker crust is a nutritious and flavorful alternative to the traditional butter crust used to make a fruit tart.

4. Discard half the egg yolks and increase the number of whites when baking a cake or cookies; this increases the protein and at the same time cuts down on fat and cholesterol.

5. Substitute condensed skim milk for cream in frostings and pie fillings. Similarly, try strained yogurt cheese instead of high-fat cream cheese for toppings and fillings. Fruit and fruit sauces are other options for low-calorie toppings.

6. Increase the nutritional content and cut the fat calories in cookies by sticking with old favourites like oatmeal cookies or fruit bars. These can be made even more healthful by substituting applesauce or strained prunes for part of the fat, using whole-wheat flour, and loading them with raisins and other dried fruits instead of nuts.

7. For a festive occasion, serve a chocolate angel food cake with fresh berries and strawberry or raspberry sauce; it has virtually no fat and a fraction of the calories contained in a comparable piece of devil’s food cake with chocolate cream frosting.

8. Make a light lemon cheesecake by using a combination of nonfat cottage and ricotta cheeses and condensed skim milk, lemon zest, and egg whites. Top the cake with strained yogurt instead of sour cream.

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