Celebrate Baking During the Month of February
What is your favorite baking memory? Baking traditions, recipes and family heritage are handed down through each generation. Bake for Family Fun Month is the perfect time to share the goodness of baking with your family.
Here are some tips for incorporating healthy ingredients into baked goods made with family members.
· Using high-quality products, like premium chocolate and pure vanilla extract, can pay off. More-flavorful ingredients make you less likely to miss any calories you've cut by reducing or substituting other ingredients.
· Make the switch to using beans in place of shortening to make brownies. To make the switch, pulse cannellini beans, black beans, or lentils in a food processor with a little water, then replace half the butter, oil, or shortening in your baked goods with an equal amount of the puree. I have made brownies with black beans and people were not aware beans were added.
· For a lighter spin on cream cheese frosting, which is typically made with full-fat cream cheese and butter, beat together an eight-ounce block of reduced-fat cream cheese, one cup of powdered sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. The fluffy icing contains a mere 59 calories and three grams of fat per tablespoon.
· Buttercream can pack more than 140 calories and five grams of fat in just two tablespoons. Instead, frost cakes with nonfat whipped topping or sift powdered sugar, which contains just 10 calories per teaspoon.
· The next time you make chocolate chip cookies, use one cup of mini morsels instead of two cups of the regular kind to reduce calories and fat. The smaller pieces provide more chips per bite, so you still feel as if you're getting plenty of chocolate. The same principle can be applied to other calorie-dense ingredients, like nuts and dried fruit, by finely chopping half the amount called for in the recipe.
· Replacing one cup of white flour with the whole wheat kind adds 10 grams of heart-healthy fiber to baked items. Since whole grains are coarser than refined ones, start with a fifty-fifty mix. When baking a white cake I will typically stay with all purpose flour for a better texture.
· Sugar adds sweetness to baked goods. I typically cut the sugar by 25 percent when baking. This change does not impact the texture or flavor.
For additional information on Bake for Family Fund Month, check out the Home Baking Association website at http://www.homebaking.org/familyfun Each week there will be designated recipes, baking activities and opportunities to spend time together in the kitchen. From toddler to grandparent - baking is the perfect family activity!