Baked goods can be oh-so delicious but often contain so much saturated fat, sugar, and sodium. Here are some tricks for keeping the flavor but losing the unhealthy culprits, plus a delicious lemon brownie recipe with a secret ingredient you’ll have to hit the baby aisle to find.
Saturated Fat vs. Unsaturated Fat
The fat helps to blend flavors, provide moisture and increase tenderness. In baked goods, saturated fat often comes from butter, lard, or vegetable shortening. But too much-saturated fat can increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.
You can replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat such as vegetable oil or margarine. Another trick is to cut some fat and replace it with pureed fruit such as applesauce, mashed bananas, or mashed pumpkin. This provides moisture, sweetness, and some vitamins and minerals. Using less fat can make baked goods a little tougher and less thick.
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Sugar vs. Pureed Fruit
Sugar and other natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, and molasses can help retain moisture in baked goods. It also provides calories without any real nutrients. You can often reduce the amount of sweetener by a third and retain some sweetness. Use less sweetener if you use pureed fruit instead of saturated fat.
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Sodium vs. Low Sodium Substitutes
Sodium in baked goods comes from salt, baking soda, or baking soda. Salt enhances the flavor of other ingredients and controls yeast activity in certain baked goods. Baking soda and baking powder cause the rise. Sodium should be used sparingly for people with high blood pressure, kidney disease, and congestive heart disease. But you can still get the required leavening effect from low-sodium baking soda and baking soda. Cut the salt in half, and you should still have flavorful food.
Lemon Brownie Bites
These easy-to-make treats have the texture of a dense brownie and the sweet ruffle of a lemon bar—thanks to the lemon juice and zest. A bite of these brownie bites should satisfy any sweet tooth at your next picnic.
Makes: 16 Servings / Prep Time: 20 / Total Time: 45 minutes
Vegetable oil cooking spray 4-ounce jar pureed mango baby food two tablespoons vegetable oil cup flour cup sugar teaspoon salt two eggs four tablespoons lemon zest, divided four tablespoons lemon juice, divided 1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.
In a bowl, combine the pureed mango, vegetable oil, flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, two tablespoons lemon zest, and two tablespoons lemon juice. Add the lemon mixture to the flour mixture and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon zest in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool. Slowly add reserved lemon juice to get the desired consistency. Divide the glaze over the brownies. When the ice has been set, cut it into 16 strips and serve.
One hundred fifteen calories (18% from fat), 2.5 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 23 grams carbohydrate, 1.5 grams protein, 45 mg sodium, 26 mg cholesterol, 4 mg calcium, and 0 grams fiber. Food Exchanges: 1 starch, ½ fat
Bethany Thayer is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with Henry Ford Health. For more recipes and health information, visit henryford.com/blog. For questions about today’s recipe, email [email protected].