Healthy Cooking: 7 Baking Substitutions

Fall and winter baking season is here. But just because the weather is cooling down doesn't mean that you need to break your good eating habits.

With a little planning and some easy baking substitutions, you'll be able to keep your eating habits in check throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Stevia

Baking with sugar is a necessary evil but substituting stevia helps reduce calories. The ratio can be a bit tricky (check the label to confirm amounts). A general rule of thumb is 2 tablespoons of stevia for every cup of sugar. Use it wherever sugar is required.

Evaporated Milk

Whipping cream adds lots of calories and fat, but boy is it tasty. One easy way to cut back on the guilt is to use evaporated milk instead of heavy whipping cream. Water is removed from milk leaving behind a consistency similar to cream. Chill the milk before whipping it for a low-fat yummy topping.

More: Using Your Hands for Portion Control

Banana

Ripe bananas are prime alternatives for baked goods that require butter. Replacing high fats with mashed fruit results in low-fat content for pastries like muffins, sweet breads and cakes. Replace fat with equal amount of volume of bananas; beware: 100 percent substitution can change the overall texture of the food.

Apple Sauce

Oil and butter get a bad rap for good reason--they add unnecessary calories and fat. An easy and delicious substitution is subbing oil and butter with unsweetened applesauce. The ratio is 1 to 1--meaning 1/2 cup butter equals 1/2 applesauce. Best uses are in muffins, cakes and brownies.

Silken Tofu

Vegetarians or those wanting to avoid eggs and dairy should look to tofu when baking. Silken tofu blends easily into batter and absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients. There aren't any specific ratios; the best bet is to look up recipes like chocolate mousse, cheesecake and brownies and add in this ingredient.

Nonfat Yogurt

Like silken tofu, nonfat yogurt can be used in a number of baking recipes. Look for recipes using nonfat yogurt in fudge, pancakes, brownie and cake.

More: How to Make Your Own Yogurt

Black Beans

Besides adding fiber to pastries, black beans are a great substitute in recipes calling for flour. Draining and pureeing the beans take a bit more work, but in the end you'll have a guilt-free dessert. The ratio for substitution is 1 to 1. They're best in brownies.

Black Bean Brownies

  • 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 unsweetened applesauce
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat over to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Shift cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Add beans, eggs, applesauce, dates, vanilla into a blender and process until batter is smooth. Fold bean mixture into dry ingredients until well blended.
  • Pour batter into 8 by 8 pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes until top is dry. Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing.

More: Easy Comfort Food Recipes Made Healthy

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About the Author

Darlene Horn

Darlene Horn is a San Diego-based writer, journalist and food blogger. When she's not rambling about food on her blog, MyBurningKitchen.com, you can find her taking her dog on daily long walks, or sweating it out in a boxing class or boot camp.

Darlene Horn is a San Diego-based writer, journalist and food blogger. When she's not rambling about food on her blog, MyBurningKitchen.com, you can find her taking her dog on daily long walks, or sweating it out in a boxing class or boot camp.

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