Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cookie Cutter Christmas

Christmas time brings the smells of cinnamon, spice and all things nice…especially warm baking cookies! The average person gains a few pounds over the holidays as indulgent goodies are everywhere in sight! However, you can enjoy your favorite goodies by cutting out or replacing the higher fat and sugar items for their slimmer baking counterparts.

Now, don’t substitute every single ingredient because you might alter the taste and integrity of the end result.  However, making a few substitutions will help lower the fat and calories of your product!

When baking, substitute:
Bake with this – 1 cup yogurt
Not with that - 1 cup buttermilk

Bake with this – 1 cup skim or 1% milk
Not with that - 1 cup whole milk

Bake with this – 1 cup natural honey
Not with that – 1 cup corn syrup

Bake with this – 1 cup frozen light whipped topping (thawed)
Not with that – 1 cup cream (whipped)

Bake with this – 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese (pureed)
Not with that – 1 cup cream cheese

Bake with this – 1 cup apple sauce or fruit puree
Not with that – 1 cup oil

Bake with this – 1 egg and 2 egg whites
Not with that – 2 whole eggs

Adding whole grains like oatmeal, wheat flour, wheat bran, flaxseed and wheat germ can be used in cookie recipes for added fiber and nutrients. It's a great way to sneak in the benefits of the whole grain without the family noticing. 

In most baked goods you can reduce the amount of sugar by almost one-half; intensify sweetness by adding vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon.  In addition, adding dried fruits and nuts greatly enhances the nutritional value and flavor of a cookie. If the texture of dried fruits such as prunes, raisins, cherries, and cranberries is not preferred, they can be boiled and mashed to add sweetness without sugar. Or they can be ground and added as a puree to the cookie dough.

A Sweet Cookie Tip

Unlike most artificial sweeteners, Stevia does not break down and can withstand high temperatures while cooking and cold temperatures when frozen. It is also compatible with salt and organic acids and natural sweeteners such as barley malt, honey, fructose and sorbitol. Stevia can be used safely and effectively as a substitute for sugar in all recipes where sugar and low calorie sweeteners would be normally used.

A Protein Cookie Tip
Substitute 25-50% of a recipe’s flour content with flavorless whey protein powder to increase the protein content of your cookie.  Note that baked goods may not have the same flakiness when cooking with whey protein powder, thus appearing denser.

Amy Goodson is a registered dietitian with the Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine Program.

Have a question for the dietitian? Ask Amy.

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