- make friends with your dessert. this may seem like a strange part of this list, but one of the best ways to make dessert healthier is to eat less of it! duh! get your fix in and then give lots away to your friends and neighbors. they'll appreciate it and you'll be glad you didn't get sick on your cookie dough. (i did this last week, so i would know. it was soooo yummy though... i just needed to make the cookies and get them out the door faster.
- never use oil. if a recipe calls for oil, use applesauce or yogurt instead. 1:1 ratio works great.
- avoid recipes with lots of butter. you may often be able to find a recipe that is similar that uses oil instead of butter and then you can substitute it.
- sneak in some non-white flour. it drives my husband crazy when he knows i do this, but if he doesn't know, he often loves is and then i tell him what i did! ha! i like to use part wheat or part oat flour (put some oats in your blender for this!). i made this apple cake from elise's simplyrecipes.com a few weeks back with part wheat flour and it was fabulous!
- add wheat germ or flax seed in place of some of the flour. these are extra, super healthy for you and a little bit goes a long way. i wouldn't substitute more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the flour for these.
- cut back the sugar. this doesn't always work, but some recipes call for way too much sugar and it tastes better with less. just taste your batter to make sure you didn't take too much out. honey is expensive, but you can also use some honey instead of sugar - it's better for you!
- use fat free ingredients, even if you're usually opposed. baking is a great time to use fat free cream cheese, sour cream, milk, etc. because however much you think they taste different, it's hard to taste the difference when they're baked into things.
- make recipes that include a fruit or veggie. i love apple cake, carrot cake and zucchini bread. mmmm....
the applesauce for oil substitution will work in any recipe. try the flour and sugar ones. if it isn't yummy in one recipe try it in another!
i wanted to use some of the homemade baby food my daughter is no longer eating so i decided to create these carrot cake bars. (have no fear, you can simply steam some carrots and run them through your blender with some water. 4 oz is about 4 ice cube sized blocks). they have no white flour, no oil or butter, lots of carrots and even the un-frosting has no butter and has less than a cup of powdered sugar instead of like 4-5 cups like normal frosting. i brought them to a church thing and people couldn't believe what wasn't in them. you can see how good they were from the picture. :)
no-guilt carrot cake bars with cream cheese un-frosting
makes 1 jelly roll pan-full
3/4 cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups applesauce
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oat flour
1 cup wheat flour
½ cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 (4 ounce) jar carrot baby food (or homemade baby food, see note above)
1 cup shredded carrots (or more if you'd like!)
½ cup un sweetened shredded coconut (optional), soaked in water for 20 minutes
2. add oat flour, wheat flour, wheat germ, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. mix until combined. add carrot baby food and mix again until combined.
3. stir in shredded carrots and coconut.
4. bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes in a jelly roll pan. done when toothpick comes out clean.
cream cheese un-frosting
whip 1 block 1/3 less fat cream cheese (softened). then add 4 tablespoons milk and ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and whip until combined. spread over carrot cake bars.