So, my friend sends me the Pumpkin Bars recipe. The name of the recipe sounded like something I would like. But when I looked more closely at the recipe, I was very disheartened by the amount of oil, sugar and butter! I think it had more sugar than a usual chocolate cake. Point 1: don't be fooled by names. Muffins are a good example of this, often very high in calories but people think they are the healthier option.
Point 2: I tend to modify every day recipes. On special occasions, we do splurge (except when I can't bring myself to put in so much sugar in a recipe). If the Pumpkin Bars were a birthday cake, I'd say reduce the sugar just a tad and enjoy a small piece but if they were chosen as a healthier afternoon tea or lunch box treat then I would suggest a few changes...
Today I will share with you tips for healthier baking. Next week I'll focus on recipe modifications for main meals.
Kate's tips for recipe changes in baking:
1. Reduce the sugar
- You can usually halve the amount of sugar in a recipe without anyone noticing. I go a step further and try to use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sugar (or whatever sugar equivalent you are using, such as honey) per batch or loaf (batch to serve 12 or more)
- Use dried or pureed fruit in place of some of the sugar. Try unsweetened apple sauce or apple puree, an over ripe banana or using dates in recipes
- Use low fat dairy in place of full fat dairy
- Use vegetable based oils and spreads (i.e olive, canola, sunflower) in place of butter
- Reduce some of the oil or butter in recipes and replace with low fat milk, yoghurt or apple sauce. I reduce to about 1/3 cup oil per batch as a guide
- Use half wholemeal flour and half white flour
- Increase the amount of fruit in baking (i.e more bananas in banana bread).
- Try adding an extra carrot to the amount the recipe states for carrot muffins or carrot cake
Here is how I changed the Pumpkin Bars recipe and turned it into something that would go into my kids lunch boxes. I think it is lucky that I never tried the original version as I did make quite a lot of changes: