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Healthy Recipe of the Week: Baking without Sugar

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Halloween is around the corner which means that the holiday season is upon us again. In New England baking in the fall and winter is a must. Apple and pumpkin recipes are hard to resist and Thanksgiving pies, and holiday cookie recipes are everywhere. Along with self control, staying healthy and on track during the fall and winter can be as simple as baking your own treats. Instead of trying to aviod everything in sight try your favorite recipes with a few healthy ingredient substitutions and you might be surprised how delicious and healthy the holiday season can be. Below is a guide on how to replace some of the high caloric baking ingredients and a sugar replacement guide. Sugar is one of the best things to avoid when trying to lose weight and be healthy. Baking without it can get complicated but worth it, so hopeful this information will help!

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It's importnat to be clear how one is defining sugar. For this article sugar is refering to all refind sugars. Brown, white and raw sugar such as turbinado are all included under the sugar label. All these sugars are all equal from a nutrition standpoint. The refined sugars are ninty nine percent sucrose which is a simple carbohydrate.

Baking With Honey

Honey is a favorite substitute for sugar. It can be used in tea, cheesecakes, pancakes, waffles, cookies, sauces (both sweet and savory) , and flour based recipes. You can use raw honey or regular honey in place of sugar in a recipe. For every one cup of sugar the recipe calls for use one tablespoon plus 3/4 cup of honey. If the recipe calls for buttermilk or sour cream add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Items made with honey brown faster and tend to be moist and dense instead of light and fluffy.

Baking With Maple Syrup

Pure maple syrup is an under-used ingedient. The maple syrup should have no other ingredients other than maple syrup. No high fructose, fruit juice, or added sugar. Grade B syrup is the best for baking. The flavor is more intense and the liquid will be thicker and darker. For every cup of white sugar, use 3/4 cup of syrup. It works best when you also decrease the amount of any other liquids the recipe calls for by three tablespoons. This is because you are replacing a dry ingredient (sugar) with a wet one (syrup).

Baking with Molasses

Molasses can be found in the cooking aisle and is a dark sticky liquid, It addes a strong flavor to recipes and is less sweet than honey and maple syrup. For every cup of sugar use 1 1/3 cup molasses and again add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of molasses. For most recipes you will also want to reduce the liquid ingredients by five tablespoons. Molasses can change the color of baked goods because of its dark hue.

Bake with Brown Rice Malt Syrup

This syrup has a honey like consistency but is not nearly as sweet. It is maltose, glucose and complex carbogydrates. It is an even trade for sugar. For every one cup of sugar use one cup of the malt syrup. As in the other substitutions the liquid ingredients should be reduced. About 1/4 cup needs to be subtracted from the liquid ingredients to maintain the origional consistency.

Baking with Fruit

Fruit and fruit products such as apple sauce can also be used as sweeteners instead of sugar. It is best to find recipes that don't include sugar but plan to include fruit or apple sauce in the first place. Here are a few to try:

No Sugar Added Bannan Muffins

Honey Lemon Green Tea Cupcakes (not including frosting recipe)

Ginger Molasses Oatmeal Cookies

Carrot Cake (can be vegan)

The best thing to do is set aside some time and have some fun playing around with your favorite recipes. Add healthy ingredients and try to eliminate or substitute for some of the unhealthy ones. You might be surprised how it turns out!

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Questions? Want to see a certain topic addressed? Add a comment here or email me with "Examiner" in the subject line at: hallettlj@gmail.com

Copyright ©2011 by Loren Hallett. All rights reserved.

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