I love to bake, though when I first started experimenting in the kitchen, my recipes originally fell into two distinct categories:
- Delicious and decadent desserts that I bring to parties, holidays, or gatherings not made up of nutrition buffs
- Healthy, whole grain, low/natural sugar, lower-fat recipes that most my family kindly refers to as ‘cardboard’
I’ve since done more research on how to improve the nutrition of a recipe without sacrificing flavor, consistency, or appearance. Here are some stellar tips that I find particularly helpful from the experts at King Arthur Flour:
- Understand what will change if you cut sugar!
Sugar helps give baked goods the signature brown crust with a good crunch, so lowering the sugar will make a lighter product with a fluffier, more cake-like texture rather than crispy. King Arthur’s has done some fun experiments showing that a recipe suffers if you cut the sugar by more than 50% (http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2017/03/15/reduce-sugar-in-cookies-and-bars/) Hint: Natural sweeteners have just as many grams of sugar, though they may have trace amounts of other benefits and are generally less processed.
- Adding bran? Add more water!
If you’re adding bran to a recipe for increased omega-3’s and the signature nutty taste, be aware that your product will likely small and dense unless you also adjust the water and add a bit more flour for rising.
- For high-quality whole grains, combine your flours.
While some people do love a 100% whole grain bread (I know I do!), others like the fluffiness of a white bread. This same principle goes for cookies, cakes, etc- some whole grains may add flavor, but too many will make your product denser and will change it drastically from its original shape. Try using half all purpose flour and half whole wheat or other flour alternative for the best of both worlds.
For more tips, check out: