Chef Nancy Waldeck is renowned for her expertise and promotion of healthy eating. Once again, Calphalon relies on her valuable insights to provide healthier baking options during the spring season…
Spring is a great time to think about getting in shape and altering eating habits, especially the way we bake. The concept of "healthy" baking may seem a bit of a stretch. However, with the right ingredients and techniques you can take the guesswork out of how to bake nutritionally.
Important in creating and refreshing baking recipes for spring are:
- Texture: Keep it light and airy for springtime presentation and palette appeal.
- Fresh Herbs: Help reduce the fat, calorie and salt content while increasing favorite baking flavors.
- Portion Control: For craving satisfaction with just the right serving.
Healthy spring baking allows us those little indulgences without the guilt!
Bake It Healthy for Spring!
Instead of baking the traditional two-tier layer cake with icing, bake one 9" layer cake, and top it with fresh seasonal citrus fruit or berries. Mash the fruit and let it sit to make a wonderful sweet sauce. This adds nutritional value and natural sweetness.
Consider using the batter for the traditional layer cake to bake cupcakes instead! Not only are cupcakes a healthier portion size, but they bake in less time, which helps keep your kitchen cooler in the warm springtime weather. Healthy spring topping alternatives for cupcakes and cake are powdered sugar, cinnamon or unsweetened chocolate.
Just a Spoonful of Sugar…
Honey is a springtime baking favorite and nutritional alternative for sugar! Pomegranate molasses is great, too, because it gives an extra tang to baked goods. Applesauce, or pureed dates or prunes also enhance the flavor to make healthy substitutes for fat and sweetener in any spring baking recipe.
Because honey is a liquid, you have to experiment with baking recipes. When the recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar, use 2/3 to 3/4 cup of honey as its replacement. If your recipe requires 1 cup of milk, reduce the milk amount to 3/4 cup to compensate for honeys liquidity.
Apply the rule of one quarter when using honey:
- Reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4
- Turn down the oven temperature by 25 degree (honey browns baked goods more quickly, thus the lower temperature!)
- Substitute 1/4 whatever the amount of liquid with honey.
Honey is slightly acidic, so add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for every 1 cup of honey. When spring baking with honey, try using it in muffins and breads first. Cakes usually need more adjustments.
Amp Up Spring Baked Goods Health and Flavor
Classes about baking and cooking with herbs are very popular! Home bakers/cooks enjoy the health benefits and tremendous flavor boost herbs provide. Try a very small amount of rosemary, which partners well with lemons. Basil goes very well with oranges. Mint is a wonderful flavor booster for any fruit and citrus, and is scrumptious with any kind of chocolate.
A perfect example of this concept is using balsamic vinegar, which is a bit tart, but actually quite sweet. Try our Balsamic Glazed Strawberries recipe, topping each layer of a two-layer yellow cake with the glaze to make unique, upscale strawberry shortcake!
View more healthy spring baking tips: Healthy Baking Hints for Spring!
Learn more about Chef Nancy Waldeck at tasteandsavor.com