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Guilt-Free Baking

Posted: December 30, 2016

Bake up some holiday cheer with a little less guilt this holiday season.
Healthy Holiday Baking

Healthy Holiday Baking

Baking your cookies and eating them too-
Healthier holiday cookies.
Baking cookies for the holiday season is an international and historical activity. Around the world, most cultures will enjoy baking cookies this time of year. It connects us to our past as we gather with others to bake and share recipes that have been passed down over the generations.
Your favorite cookie baked by your grandmother may not meet today’s health standards.   But you do not have to give them up if you are willing to make some substitutions or adjustments to the ingredients. Here are some practical ways to make your favorite holiday cookie recipes a little healthier this season.
1.    Replace the fat with heart healthy oil or fruit puree. Exchange some of the butter, margarine or shortening with a heart healthy oil, such as canola or olive oil. Or, you may want to replace up to 50% of the fat with fruit or vegetable puree.  Replacing butter with fruit puree, (instead of heart healthier oil) works best in a softer-textured cookie like ginger molasses or oatmeal cookies. For best results, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, substitute ½ cup canola oil and ½ cup applesauce.
2.    Eliminate some unhealthy fats by substituting a nontraditional cookie ingredient like buttermilk or plain yogurt. Reduce your fat by 2-3 tablespoons and replace with buttermilk or plain yogurt.  Using buttermilk or yogurt will also keep the cookies from drying out too quickly.
3.    Add fiber to your cookies.  Try replacing some of your white flour with whole wheat flour or whole oats. Using whole wheat flour instead of white flour will make your cookies four times higher in fiber than the original recipe. If your recipe calls for 2 cups of white flour, use 1½ cup white and ½ whole wheat.  Once you get used to the difference that whole wheat makes, you can substitute at greater amounts.
4.    Keep sodium in check. Many cookie recipes are surprisingly high in sodium content.  Reduce your salt to ½ teaspoon salt per batch of cookies.  If you are on a salt restricted diet, aim for no more than ¼ teaspoon of salt per recipe.
5.    Eliminate trans fats and other artificial ingredients all together from you recipes. Avoid or substitute all partially hydrogenated oil (such as margarine or shortening). Try to eliminate other imitation ingredients as well, such as imitation extracts or food dyes.
Here is a recipe you may want to try:
Chocolate & Pecan Macaroons
Ingredients
•  3 large egg whites, at room temperature
•  1/8 teaspoon salt
•  1 cup granulated sugar
•  6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
•  1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
•  3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
•  1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions:

1 Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, nonstick baking mats or lightly coat with cooking spray.
2 Beat egg whites and salt in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until frothy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.
3 With a rubber spatula, gently fold melted chocolate, coconut and pecans into the egg whites until no white streaks remain.
4 Drop 2 teaspoons of batter per cookie about 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets, fitting about 30 cookies per sheet.
5 Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the macaroons in with the door slightly ajar for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving, if desired.

Nutrition information:

Serving size: 1 cookie
Per serving: 48 calories; 3 g fat(1 g sat); 1 g fiber; 5 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 1 mcg folate;
0 mg cholesterol; 4 g sugars; 4 g added sugars; 1 IU vitamin A; 0 mg vitamin C; 4 mg calcium;
1 mg iron; 12 mg sodium; 37 mg potassium 
Carbohydrate Servings: 0
Exchanges: 1 fat
Recipe courtesy of: EatingWell, Amy Jamison Recipe Contributor
Try some of these recipes using the principles mention in this article.
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/irresistible_cookies_for_100_calories_or_less

Contact Information

Lenelle Bear
  • Nutrition Links Regional Coordinator, Food, Families and Health
Phone: 717-921-8803