Low-fat baking is always a challenge; butter and oils add texture and carry the flavor of other ingredients, but then the desserts will be very high in fat and calories. Without them, your cake or cookies may turn out bland.
But easy substitutes can be made without affecting the flavor or texture you love.
Here’s a few ideas:
In cookies, cakes or muffins, replace up to half of the butter required with equal amounts of pureed fruit (like bananas or prunes), applesauce or marshmallow topping. Add a pinch of cinnamon for an even more flavorful batter.
Serious chocolate lover? You can still indulge, but cut back by using half the amount called for in the recipe and opt for smaller chocolate morsels.
Another slimming trick: Substitute ¼ cup nonfat pasteurized egg product or 2 egg whites for every whole egg (but always keep one whole egg; the yolk adds needed color, flavor and texture).
And one final tip: Use slightly beaten egg whites in place of butter when making cookie-crumb pie crusts).
For every cup of chocolate chips, use a half cup of mini chocolate chips instead. You’ll have the same number of chips, but less fat and fewer calories.
In addition to chocolate, nuts are great-tasting but notorious for adding unwanted fat. To save on calories, use less nuts than called for, but keep the flavor by toasting them. This intensifies their taste. You can do the same with coconut flakes.
If a recipe calls for a cup of chopped almonds, use sliced instead. You’ll save 20 grams of fat.
You can use nonfat buttermilk in place of regular milk. Don’t boil buttermilk, though, or it will curdle.
Replace one whole egg with two egg whites. But be sure to keep at least one whole egg in the recipe to keep the flavor, color and texture.
In crumb crusts, use beaten egg whites instead of butter to bind the crumbs together.
Use light, nondairy whipped topping instead of whipped cream. You can jazz up the flavor with liqueurs or extracts.
While some fat-free products make the grade for consistency and flavor, reduced-fat products are more reliable. They can be substituted cup for cup for full-fat ingredients with great results.
For example, in cheesecakes, use reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese instead of regular. But be careful: Overbeating fat-free cream cheese can cause it to release too much liquid, which will affect the way the cake sets.
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