Sweet as Sugar|
Sugar plays an important role in baked goods because it weakens and softens the strong, stretchy proteins found in flour. Without sugar, a flour-based recipe would yield tough, chewy cookies and cakes. When baked, sugar also caramelizes, which adds color and a rich flavor to cookies, and helps cookies become crispy. However, sugar contains 775 calories per cup, and it quickly adds up as you make your rounds to the dessert table.
In pie fillings, cakes and cookies, you can usually reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe by up to half. Start by reducing sugar by 1/4 cup. If the recipe works, try reducing another 1/4 cup. Your family won't notice, and the cookies will turn out about the same.
If sugar substitutes are your thing, then check the package directions for information on swapping artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes in place of sugar in baked goods.
And if you'd prefer something more "natural" than table sugar, natural sweeteners like molasses and honey abound. When cooking and baking, refer to these guidelines for using natural sweeteners in place of sugar.
2 More Easy Ways to Lighten Your Baked Goods
We saved the best for last! If you're still unsure about changing your recipe, you can do these two things: