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Bake Healthy

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Indulging in cakes and cookies might be delightful, but it is definitely not in your waistline’s best interest. If you’re a home baker, Sara Shah suggests trying these tips to make your baked dishes healthier

Times are changing and so is the idea of health and fitness. People have never been more conscious about what they eat than they are now. But, let’s face it — eating healthy isn’t exactly fun. From giving up your favourite food to counting calories, it’s quite a daunting task. However, there’s no reason to throw away that slice of cake in your fridge or those cookies you baked the day before, especially when they’ve been prepared in a healthy manner. Here are a few tips that will help you stay at the top of your healthy eating without having to give up on your favourite baked foods.

Replace Fats
Baked goods are considered unhealthy due to their high fat content. So, swap butter with healthier oils such as canola oil, olive oil or even puréed fruit. Canola oil and olive oil are extremely healthy for your heart. However, the downside of replacing butter with oil is that it will not retain as much moisture as butter. So, you can use puréed fruit such as applesauce, puréed figs or even pumpkin. Fruit purées retain moisture quite well and so, they are perfect for baking. They will also lend your cookies a chewy texture.

Add Fibre
Replace half the quantity of all-purpose flour that you plan to use with whole wheat flour, oatmeal or almond meal. You can also replace the entire amount of the all-purpose flour with a fibre-rich substitute. Doing so will increase the fibre content in your baked goods almost by four times. However, if you arent sure about how to mask the flavour of whole wheat flour, simply pick finely milled whole wheat pastry flour. You can also use oats that have been ground to a fine powder.

Slim The Slice
You don’t need to use large slabs of butter to hold your cracker crusts (or digestive biscuit crumbs) together for your pies and cheesecakes. You can lower your recipe’s calorie count by simply replacing the slab of butter with low fat milk. Add 2tbsp of low fat milk to your crumb mixture — don’t hesitate to add a little more if the crumbs don’t stick together. Once you’re done kneading your mix into a perfect dough, mould your crust into a pie dish and pop it into a pre-heated oven for
10-15 minutes.

Natural Sweetness
While most healthy recipes will tell you to replace sugar with sugar substitutes, what they don’t mention is that you can substitute sugar with natural sweeteners such as honey and fruit purées as well. Just a little bit of honey can go a long way and even puréed fruits such as bananas and prunes work exceptionally well as sugar substitutes. You can adjust the quantity according to your taste preference

Frosty Goodness
If you swap most of the core ingredients with healthier substitutes, it’s okay to indulge in a thin layer of frosting. However, if you want to make your cakes even healthier, you can replace the frosting with meringue batter. It is light and delicious. Add beetroot or pomegranate juice for some colour. You can also use a blow torch to create a golden crust.

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