fruit or fat in baking?

2 Nov

With the holidays coming and baking is in full swing there seems to be a bit of talk on how to make these treats “better” for you. Do we lower carbs? How can we use fruit puree like applesauce in the place of the fats? How should we sweeten these yummies?

I have my own personal take on making baked good “healthy” and it basicly boils down to remember these are TREATS not MEALS and portion contol and frequency are key players in our general health. Now keep in mind even if you are on a “special” meal plan (notice I am not talking diet here) then by all means TALK with you health care profesional about if you have wiggle room for a treat and how that compromise might be achieved with-out harm to your self or those you might be preparing the food for. If you are trying to diet, please see the first sentence in this paragraph.

Some people will avoid carbs and sweets and fats that is not a bad thing but be aware of how each componant affects what you are trying to bake and your own body. I for one am a diabetic and some would say that means switching to sugar replacements. For me I choose to keep REAL sweetners such as sugar, honey, maple syrup, and molasas. After talking with a nurtitionist we found ways that I could do this with-out harm to myself. I really limit how often and how much but I get the real deal. This make my dance with joy.

I have been playing with gluten-free baking and find that as long as I look at it as a unique food and not a replacement for something from “my past life” that I enjoy most of what I have tried. My ex-husband has this amazing wife that I adore and am thrilled to have my daughters call the “not-so-wicked-step-mom” or “the other mom” who is often fighting her scale and finds that for her keeping the carbs down or to the “right” kind helps her. With this she bakes in ways that confound my simple brain and yet turn out pretty decent (I am a food snob as well as I do NOT eat anything with fake sugar as I get migrains, hence the compromise with the nutrtionist and doctor) so I know it can be done without loosing texture and enjoyment.

I am one that has toyed with less fat and subsatuting fruit puree, I have tried applesauce, plums, pumpkin, you name it based on what I felt would complement my baked good. There are all kinds of tips on how to do this and some are even made by someone that bakes AND eats there goodies. Before I give you the best tips that I have used I have some baking science for you to learn and take to heart.
1) fat affect the consitance of the baked good especially cookies
a) if a recipe calls for butter it is ment to spread as the heat works through
b) if a recipe calls shortening it will be perculating that fat while staying put
c) if a recipe calls for oil it tends to be for a batter that will be held in place
2) Fruit puree, sugars and fats affect the gluten in a batter differently
a) fat helps decrese the amount of mixing of gluten with moist ingredients; if they mix to
much you have tough baked goods
b) sugars help decrease this to a much smaller degree as do purees
c) If you bake gluten-free this is less of an issue
3) Fat helps to carry the flavors fully for a more fulfilling treat
4) Substitutions affect nutrtional facts such as carbs and calories

Now that I have done baking science 101 for fat vs. sugar here are the tips to make the best of decreesed fats by utilaizing of purees.
* for each cup of fat substitute with 1/2 C fruit puree
* if baked good should spread concider leaving in 1 TBS of the fat
* Add puree last and blend just till moist (the more you mix the tougher and dryer you
end result will be)
* if making cookies that are ment to spread press out to help the “Normal” baking
* enjoy the path of the exploror and if it turns out poorly remember you can always try
again

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