When making most cakes, I cut the oil down to a third of the recipe and use a light olive oil. Shhhh, no one ever knows the difference. Banana bread calls for butter so, I use whipped butter instead and reduce the amount. Again, no one knows the difference and the recipe turns out just as it should. Cutting sugar down seldom makes a difference in baking. I figure lighter sometimes is good enough. After all, it is desert :)
If your're looking for great ideas, try browsing through some of the diabetic books. I recreated a light version of all my recipes after our daughter was born with heart disease. She could not have much in the way of salt and I decided her heart needed a lifetime habit of eating "lower" or "good" fat. What I know about all recipes nearly...they can be recreated.
I recently made some cookies from devil's food cake mix, egg beaters, 0% greek yogurt, wheat bran and Gerber's pureed carrots. I didn't measure, just dumped all the stuff in a bowl to make the consistency of batter reasonbly wet yet thick. Then I dropped big spoonsful of the stuff on parchment paper-lined cookie pan and put a walnut half on top of each big cookie. Baked at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. I tested by pushing in with my finger - when a cookie felt 'springy,' it meant they were done.
Not the best cookies in the world, but pretty tasty. Right now, they are on top of a box of muffins my husband bought from the supermarket. Which tastes better - the muffins, of course! But, with my morning coffee, a fiber-y chocolate cookie is not bad.
Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 4/20/2013 (10:42)
Fitness Minutes: (2,259)
167 4/18/13 2:52 P
Except for junk foods loaded with all sorts of awful ingredients (which of course I hope to avoid from now on!), I only want to eat real foods as much as possible. Therefore I would not substitute margarine, fake sugar, egg beaters, etc. With your cookies, for the PB's you could probably eliminate all or most of the butter and maybe add a little more PB. I have experimented with my chocolate chip cookie recipe by reducing the amount of butter. That works down to a certain point, but you can't make a butter-type cookie with no fat. Of course there are cookies that don't use fat, such as meringues. My strategy now is to just not have these foods in the house because they're such strong triggers for me, and once I start eating them I can't stop.
Certainly not an expert cook but I've also used unsweetened applesauce as a substitute. Many good ideas on this website. Thanks.
Fitness Minutes: (77,317)
246 3/12/13 5:59 P
Fat also makes baked goods tender. If you sub out fat (oil, butter) for applesauce or other fruit purees, be prepared for your quickbreads or muffins to have a rubbery, chewy texture instead of the fine, light crumb you'd normally get.
I looked online for information about different products and then went to the store to see what they carried. My conclusion is no to smart balance for now, its kind of pricey and theirs more of everything I was wanting to cut back on. Land O Lakes Light Butter does have more ingredients, though overall less calories, total fat, and saturated fat. What fats I am looking to limit are more important than the calorie count at times and non-heart healthy fats. Heres the info for smart balance blended butter and Land O Lakes light butter.
I have used sour cream, greek yogurt and applesauce all with wonderful results. I have also used diet soda for cakes (although yes I realize diet soda not very healthy) and very moist and taste excellent.
First I'll agree with those who might suggest that butter -- along with other oils -- is not "unhealthy", but it is calorie dense. One might one to reduce or avoid it for other reasons, such as vegan baking, let's say.
When fats are important in baking or similar cooking, different fats give different results, as we've all experienced, I suppose, frying eggs in oil vs. butter vs. bacon drippings, or making pie crusts from butter vs. shortening vs. lard.
But the question was baking: the issue with butter or other oils is often one of purpose ... what is the oil *doing* in the recipe. The same is true of eggs. Sometimes they're there for flavor, other times for moisture. In the case of eggs sometimes to add some 'lift'. In more 'muffin method' recipes (like many quick breads) the oil is mixed well with the sugar in the 'wet ingredients' before being added to the 'dry'. My point in rambling off things we know? If butter-oil-eggs are used mainly for moisture and/or for combining with sugar in a recipe, then (unsweetened) applesauce and pumpkin both serve as *pretty good* replacements. On the egg & butter side ... if eggs are used for both lift and protein & fat, then ground flax seeds w/ water and then baking powder can provide a good replacement.
As for personal experience:  for butter-free recipes that 'work', I can recommend "Vegan With a Vengeance" and similar books by Moskovitz; my SO is vegan and so when I bake I bake with her in mind and adjust accordingly. Those recipes have been tested.  Her vegan chocolate chip cookies are excellent and use Earth Balance rather than butter, so you are just substituting one oil for another. But for cookies you can't get the crust and shape you want without oil ... as recommended elsewhere, sometimes another 'butter' (like peanut or almond) will do the trick.  I've substituted unsweetened applesauce in some brownie-cake-type recipes that have been delicious, without any apparent apple aftertaste. However, they tend to make a slightly *spongier* cake than those made with eggs and butter. I did one of the 'microwave chocolate cake in a mug' recipes and made it vegan (no egg; hint of baking soda and cider vinegar, about 1 Tbsp apple sauce to go with a Tbsp and a half of cocoa and 3-4Tbsp flour ...), and while a bit spongey, as expected, the moisture, texture, and flavor were otherwise great.
Anyway, just my $0.02
Fitness Minutes: (2,501)
729 3/11/13 12:12 P
Actually, ground flax seed (when mixed with water) is used as a substitute for eggs in a recipe, often in vegan baking. It is not generally used as a substitute for oil.
I have heard you can use applesauce or flax ground to substitute butter or oil in a recipe.
Fitness Minutes: (2,501)
729 3/11/13 10:14 A
I replaced most of the butter with canned pumpkin when I made brownies, and they turned out moist and fluffy and good. Not quite the same as full fat, but for 3 grams of fat per brownie I wasn't complaining.
The recipes I use butter in the most are Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, and christmas seasonal candies, and a chocolate b-day cake recipe that my mom gave me. Most go well, though candy is hard just by the nature of some things like peanut brittle, fudge, divinity, etc. As far as breads, I tried making one last night that didnt turn out well and I used applesauce in place of the oil. The recipe said she started checkingit at 50 minutes and 25 minutes after that it was a really thick texture and still not cooked all the way through. I dont know whether it was the applesauce or just the recipe. I did look at smart balance sticks online and 100 calories per tablespoon is high to me for what they add and say is healhthier in the product. I might ask my doctor when I go today and I still need to get tested for high cholesterol. That might lead to a better choice for me if anything is off in one area or overall.
You can use fat-free cream cheese as a substitute for butter in cookies. However, I find that saves me tons of calories because the finished product tastes so bad that I don't want to eat it.
Fruit puree or yogurt is usually a good substitute for baked goods when you're making a batter, like for quick bread or cake. It usually doesn't work so well for baked goods when you're making a dough like for cookies.
Fitness Minutes: (75,523)
2,489 3/11/13 7:31 A
I tried a low fat sour cream for my banana bread and it came out a very nice moist texture and light in colour. You can also use Greek yogurt.
Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 3/11/2013 (07:32)
Fitness Minutes: (33,505)
22,028 3/11/13 7:24 A
Why not use Peanut Butter in cookies - that way you are getting healthy fats AND protein as well. Or use Nutella or similar - just reduce the sugar because they are sweetened, too!
I used pureed fruits mostly those with edible skins, or pumpkin - even beetroot in cakes which reduces the fats (oil) depending on the size of the recipe can reduce the egg, and can also reduce the sugar a bit.
Fitness Minutes: (5,730)
2,247 3/11/13 3:04 A
Depends on the recipe. I have used pumpkin, applesauce, puree carrot, mayo, and other things depending on the recipe. Do you want to post it and maybe get more feedback?
My personal philosophy would lead me to use butter (or hard margarine) and just eat smaller portions of the finished product.
The "issue" with butter isn't so much that it is "unhealthy" - it's that it is very calorie dense. And so are most possible substitutes that you could use to produce acceptable cookies or cakes - even if you use a "healthier fat" you will still have a high-calorie product. Now, if you eat that high-calorie product in small portions, you will a) keep your calories down and b) it won't matter so much what kind of fat you used, since you won't be consuming very much of it! And butter tastes better (or so is my opinion) and for me, when i only allow myself a small portion of something, i want it to taste as delicious and satisfying as possible.
I was trying to think and figure out before what a healthy substitute for veggie oil is and I found that. Now what do I substitute for butter? I would try applesauces though I am unsure. The taste isnt always a big thing for me, its more how well things puff up, density, visual appearance, and the difference that makes when its done cooking and eating it later. Its a lot for some, more of what I look for in food, taste is a factor, just not the most important always. I have thought about trying the sticks that different companies like smart balance and other companies make. I think they would add calories and I am not sure how healthy they are as far as ingredients, etc. It would be more calories and ingredients depending upon the brand andpricuts possibly. If I am cutting back or doing better in healthy versions of eggs, sugars and flour, is it unhealhty though their might be slightly more calories and I watch portion sizes? I would do applesauce, I just havent done it with those and will see how the banana bread from tonight turns out.
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