In the Kitchen: FP Escapes Instructor Crystal Dawn’s Rose Bliss Bars

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Healthy Baking 101

Although I love to cook, when it comes to baking I’m something of an amateur. Growing up my parents always kept a kitchen stocked with healthy options, and if I whipped up a sheet of cookies for no reason they often went uneaten (except by me). As I got older and more health conscious, I realized that I probably shouldn’t be devouring these cookies either. So, in an effort to maintain a clean diet, I kind of fell off the baking band wagon and became more of a cook.

Nowadays, we have so many more options for healthy baking. Right here in Philly there is a café that serves up my favorite “nuffins” made with yogurt, olive oil, and splenda. It got me to thinking about baking in an all new way, and I decided to give it a stab again. Up until now, this has involved following other people’s recipes, but this past weekend I attempted making whole-wheat pumpkin cupcakes with yogurt as an experiment. I took photos, and was planning to post on them today, but sadly, they came out entirely too moist, and sort of fell in on themselves.

The week got hectic, and I couldn’t make it to the store to pick up ingredients for another recipe, so as a result, I thought I’d take you all along the learning curve with me. In attempts to get the recipe right, I’ve been doing some research on healthy baking substitutes that I’ve heard about. Here’s what I’ve learned so far and can’t wait to try out. Once I get the cupcakes just right, I’ll be sure to share them with you all & if any of you have tips – please share!

Applesauce

Substituting applesauce is one way to cut down on fat in baking. Using it keeps the finished product moist, but it really only works for oil-based baked goods (i.e. breads, muffins, and some cakes) not recipes calling for butter.  When you substitute applesauce, it’s even more important to work the batter gently, and as little as possible. Most sources recommend a 1:1 swap (1 cup of applesauce in a recipe calling for 1 cup of oil). Measure it out in a liquid measuring cup, and use unsweetened applesauce.

yogurt

Yogurt

Yogurt is another great way to cut fat and calories, but maintain a tender, moist consistency in baked goods. This one can be used in both butter and oil-based recipes. In those calling for butter, replace half of the butter with half as much yogurt (1/4cup yogurt & 1/2cup butter in a recipe calling for 1 cup butter). For oil or shortening, replaice half of the oil with ¾ the amount of yogurt (1/4 cup + 2tbsp of yogurt with ½ cup oil in a recipe calling for 1 cup of oil).

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Whole Wheat Flour

This is where it can get a bit tricky. From what I’ve read, you want to find whole-wheat pastry flour which is generally lighter than the all-purpose kind. You usually still have to include white flour when making this switch. Sometimes you can use 100% whole wheat, but that’s where experimenting comes in. From what I’ve read, going entirely whole-wheat works great with banana bread. Breads in general can take more, as it tends to make the product heavier which is okay with bread. When baking pastries you’ll want to stick to a 50/50 rule (substituting half the amount of all-purpose white flour with whole-wheat flour).

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