The holiday season is officially upon us – and you know what that means…
A lot of dessert.
I try to keep my diet balanced when I’m at school, but as soon as winter break begins, all bets go out the window. All of the delicious things I’ve saved to my “Indulgent Recipes” Pinterest board now come to life – like Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars and Buckeye Balls, just to name a few. 😉
I know, I know. It’s bad. I spend the entire year building healthy habits, just to fall off of the bandwagon once the Christmas lights are hung.
Rather than feeling guilty about all the treats I eat, I’ve found that there are some healthier alternatives to the ingredients that we use for holiday baking. After all, Christmas only comes once a year! Let’s make our treats healthier, rather than cutting them out altogether.
The three alternatives that I use the most are applesauce, flax seed, and Greek yogurt.
Replacing vegetable oil with applesauce is the first alternative I tried. The ratio is 1:1, making it super easy to try.
I made brownies with applesauce (from a boxed mix!) for the first time a few years ago for a party, and I got so many compliments on them and their texture. If applesauce can make brownies from a box brag-worthy, imagine what it can do to recipes made from scratch.
(Confession: My friends will never let me live down bringing “applesauce brownies” to a party…)
Another trick I use is to add flax seed to recipes. It works especially well with sweet breads and muffins, but you can try it with any kind of baked good. Simply fold in a handful to the batter. You can’t taste the flax seed, but it secretly adds fiber and protein to your treat.
Greek yogurt is another secret baking weapon. It cuts fat and adds protein to nearly any recipe. It can replace butter, oil, sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, buttermilk, heavy cream or milk. The substitutions can be a little tricky, but here is a handy chart.
I hope that these tips are ones that you can use both during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year.
…and Happy Baking!