Baking Recipes: Tips to Lighten up the Holidays (cont.)
5. Use Light Products
Try substituting lower-fat and lower-sugar ingredients in your baking recipes when possible. For example, if you're making a cake that calls for sour cream, use the fat-free version. Also try reduced-fat cheese, light cream cheese, less-sugar jams, light pancake syrup, light Cool Whip, light yogurt, light margarine or whipped butter, and fat-free half-and-half. Most of these products will help you cut calories and saturated fat along with the total grams of fat.
6. Cut Down on High-Calorie Extras
Recipe add-ins and embellishments can sometimes be left out or cut in half. If a recipe calls for chocolate chips, for example, you can reduce the amount. If a recipe calls for dotting your pie with butter, you can safely skip this step. In a cake recipe, you can often get by with half the original amount of frosting (In a double-layer cake, just frost the top and middle and forget the sides). And in some cakes, bars, and cookies, you can eliminate frosting and substitute a light sprinkling of powdered sugar. Using 2 tablespoons of frosting instead of 4 will shave about 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat. Each tablespoon of chocolate chips omitted cuts about 50 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat.
7. Keep a Carton of Fat-Free Sour Cream in Your Fridge
Fat-free sour cream is the bomb in light recipes for three reasons. It's an easy replacement for real sour cream in recipes like pound cake or coffee cake. You can use it as a substitute for part of the fat in recipes for things like cookies (it works especially well for brownies), cake, or muffins. Further, manufacturers often add soluble fiber-like ingredients (such as gelatin, agar gum, xanthan gum, and locust bean gum) to keep fat-free sour cream stable. These ingredients also help keep it from separating when you whip it into your batter or heat it while baking. If your eight-serving recipe calls for 1 cup of butter or oil, and you use 1/2 cup of fat-free sour cream in place of half the butter or oil, you'll save about 110 calories and 13 grams of fat per serving.
8. Go Cuckoo for Cocoa
Cocoa is a great way to add the chocolate flavor to bakery recipes without getting the saturated fat (and calories) found in chocolate chips or chocolate squares. Cocoa has the healthy flavonol antioxidants found in the cocoa bean, too. Look for recipes that call for cocoa instead of chocolate chips or bars, or use 6 tablespoons of cocoa plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil plus 1 tablespoon of fat-free sour-cream instead of 2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate. For every 2 squares of baking chocolate you replace, you'll shave almost 90 calories and 14 grams of fat (most of which is saturated fat).
9. Add Zest to Your Batter With Citrus
The zest, or outermost layer, of a citrus fruit is full of aromatic oils and flavor. Adding citrus zest is an easy, zero-calorie way to boost the flavor of low-fat dough and batters. I use zest in all sorts of recipes, from muffins, cookies, cakes, and bars to frosting, pies, and pancakes.
10. Use Cooking Spray and Nonstick Pans
Using nonstick pans and dishes and a spritz of canola cooking spray means you'll need less fat in the batter or crust to keep food from sticking. All sorts of nonstick bakeware are available, from springform pans, to cake and muffin pans, to cookie sheets and deep-dish pie plates. When you use one of these pans, your lighter cakes, muffins and tarts will come out nicely brown and won't stick.
Lighter Holiday Recipes
Here are two holiday recipes that illustrate some of these lightening techniques.
Chocolate Mint Snowball Cookies
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 portion light dessert + 1 tsp. margarine, light
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
*If you can't find mint-flavored chocolate morsels, use semisweet ones and add 1 teaspoon of mint extract when you add the eggs to the batter.
Yield: 40 cookies (20 servings)
Per serving (2 cookies each): 100 calories, 2 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 1.2 g fiber, 60 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 36%.
Light Rum Cake
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 portion medium dessert + 2 tsp sugar