Baking is one of my favorite activities to do with my family and enjoying delicious baked goods is one of my favorite ways to make new memories with loved ones.
Better-for-you baking doesn’t mean you need to compromise on taste. Fruits like dates, figs, or overripe bananas can add the sweetness of sugar and a depth of flavor while also providing fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
When using fruit as a natural sweetener follow these simple steps
- To use figs, soak them in water to soften, then puree with 1/3 cup water before adding to your recipe to reduce sugar or replace it entirely.
- Dates can replace up to half the sugar in a recipe; puree 1 cup pitted dates with ½ to 1 cup hot water to make a paste. Or chop them and add directly into a batter.
- Overripe bananas work well for banana bread, and you can freeze them until you’re ready to bake!
Another tip I have learned from being an avid baker is that baked goods don’t necessarily taste better just because they’re sweet. In fact, professional chefs will tell you a little less sweetness allows you to enjoy all the different flavors found in baked goods, specifically those sweet treats made with nuts. To add a hint of savory flavor to your baked goods, I recommend toasting nuts like almonds, walnuts or pecans. Just spread your nut of choice in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes in the oven on 350, stirring once or twice. While flour is an essential ingredient for baking, you can look beyond all-purpose flour and discover alternative flours ground from a variety of grains, seeds, legumes, nuts, and even vegetables that give you the same great flavor and are perfect for those who may have allergies or dietary preferences.
Regardless of what type of flour you choose for your baked goods this year, it is important to read food labels to determine the nutritional value of the flour you want to use. Bear in mind that substituting an alternative flour can affect the texture and moisture content of baked goods. So be sure to test out your recipe before serving your sweet treat to all your loved ones.