Lighten Up Your Baking

The makings of a favorite muffin - less the oil!
I love to cook.  Now that I have a husband and King Diaper to cook for, I feel like I enjoy it more than ever.  It is a fact, that I will cook pancakes upon demand on a Sunday night if our toddler wakes up from a nap asking for them.

Applesauce is a great way to lighten up your baking that calls for oil.  I would only recommend this for cakes, breads and muffins.  I'm not sure how cookies would do.  Fats certainly affect the taste and texture of baking.

I am certainly not a trained chef or baker, but I've had great results with this in our kitchen at home.   If you use applesauce for baking, I would recommend the following:

  • Use unsweetened applesauce.
  • Make a 1 to 1 substitution for swapping oil for applesauce.
  • You can also substitute one for one minus two tablespoons and add the two tablespoons back in oil.  A little more complicated, but can yield better results in some cases.  
Why would you do this?  Well, some muffin and sweet breads call for up to a cup of oil!  Thats a lot of fat and calories that can be eliminated.  

I have a recipe for Whole Wheat Muffins from Bottletree Bakery in Oxford, MS.  It is included in the Square Table Cookbook that even Bulldogs should own.  (Even though I hate to admit that!)

This recipe is a basic muffin batter and can be customized with 2 cups of your choice of fruit.  I recently made these with cranberries.  So good!

While I'm on the topic of baking muffins, I also like to use parchment paper for my liners.  I think that they don't stick.  And this is one less then for me keep around.  In a small house I try to buy products that multitask.  Parchment paper is a wonder paper that I use for lots of things.

The beginnings of parchment muffin liners
For muffins, tear off a sheet.  Fold into thirds.  Then fold again into thirds.  This will give you 9 squares.  Cut apart.  Duplicate as needed for the amount of muffins you bake.  I just press loosely into the tin and drop some batter into the center with a cookie scoop.  This weights them.  And you can keep filling until it is the right amount.

Finally, one last swap you can make while baking is with coconut oil.  For any recipe that calls for butter, make an equal swap with coconut oil.  It is considered to be a healthier fat.  For these muffins, it can be used in the topping.  

I didn't say these had no fat!  

What does the difference in swapping oil for applesauce make in the end result?  Well, for this muffin:

Whole Wheat Cranberry Muffins
Whole wheat muffins with applesauce 269 calories and 6.1 grams of fat.
Whole wheat muffins with oil 337 calories and 14.1 grams of fat.

That is a big difference!  And I think every little bit counts.  These little swaps and substitutions can add up to noticeable results over time.  Look for ways that you can make simple substitutions in your favorite recipes and enjoy the results a few changes can make!