Reducing the amount of fat in your baked goods can lower the calories, but it can also reduce the quality if you aren't careful. Not all recipes lend themselves well to using fat substitutes, so sometimes you will have to go through a trial and error process until you get it right. Maybe Grandma used two sticks of butter in her special cake for a reason. If you want to give it a shot, start off with half fat and half substitute, but you can usually use up to 3/4 substitute and just 1/4 fat. It may be tempting to replace all the fat with a substitute, and that can work sometimes, but it can also cause the texture to suffer in some baked goods. Don't try to replace butter in cookies unless the recipe has been specially developed for it. Most fat substitutes will add more nutrition, such as vitamins and minerals that would not have been in the fat, , so you benefit all around. If that is not enough to encourage you, listen to this - If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter and you substitute 1/4 cup applesauce for half of the butter, you'll save 44 grams of fat and 400 calories!
Try some of the following fat substitutes in your muffins, bars, or cakes
- Fig puree can help hold moisture and adds a little sweetening power to the recipe. Puree 8 ounces of figs in a blender with 1/4 to 1/3 cup water or fruit juice, and store in the refrigerator.
- Baby food - Try strained carrots, prunes, pears, or other fruits. These little jars are easy to store without dealing with leftovers that may spoil.
- Plain, unflavored yogurt can add moisture to your cakes and should be substituted for up to 3/4 of the fat in your recipe.
- Mashed bananas will lend great flavor to muffins or other baked goods, while keeping them moist.
- Ricotta cheese can work in some recipes as a fat substitute.
- Cut fat in other ways, such as substituting 2 egg whites for one egg (saves 10g fat, 100 calories, and 220mg cholesterol)
- Avoid overbaking, since lower fat content can cause your baked goods to dry out quicker. Reduce oven temp by 25*F and check for doneness before the end of usual baking time.