Bleached Flour vs. Unbleached Flour
WINNER: It’s a draw. The less processed version isn’t always the better pick: Unbleached and bleached flour have identical calorie, fiber and protein counts. The FDA regulates the ingredients used to whiten flour, so they’re only added in safe amounts. But if you’re worried about eating something with the word “bleach” on the label anyway, go the unbleached route.
Raisins vs Dried Cranberries
WINNER: Raisins. Raisins and dried cranberries have similar amounts of sugar, but all of the sugar in raisins comes from what’s naturally present in grapes, while more than half of the calories in dried cranberries can come from sweeteners that manufacturers add to make them taste less tart.
I don’t know about you, but I cherish brown bananas. Not for my cereal. Not banana splits. Not even for smoothies. I weave the soft, sweet gems into the best banana muffins you’ve ever tasted.
If you buy bananas a lot, you’ve probably noticed that their ripening speed is completely unreliable. Sometimes they last a week, other times, one day. Now it won’t matter. Add my mini muffins to your recipe arsenal and you’ll beg those yellow bunches turn brown. My muffins are super healthy too. Can you believe one slice of regular banana bread (about 3 ounces) has more than 325 calories and 10 grams of fat? That’s like an indulgent dessert. You can enjoy three of my mini muffins (also 3 ounces) for just 174 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. Now that’s a treat! Plus, I make the batter in a food processor so the entire process takes about 3 minutes.
“Flour” is basically the ground meal of any grain. While wheat is most common, oats, corn and rice (among others) are also available. Wheat flours are the classic choice for most baked goods and also tend to have the greatest variation. Types will differ by the coarseness of the grain, amount of gluten (a protein with elastic “chewy” properties), and the presence of any additional ingredients.
In this week’s nutrition news: Jamie Oliver’s new TV show takes on fat America, stay fit by moving an hour a day and baby food is the latest snack trend.
Between holiday parties and cookie swaps, December is definitely the month for baking. Before you heat up the oven, check out this week’s list of reader comments for tips on trimming the sugar and fat in cookies and other baked goodies.
My mom and I team up in the kitchen every December to tackle the holiday baking, but this year I’m on my own. Crispy rice cereal squares were the first cookies I ever learned to prepare, and these treats are definitely on my list this year. I love the festive dash of food coloring. You can choose red, green or whatever color says “holidays” to you. Better still, this version is lower in fat than the typical butter-soaked recipe. Because this is an egg-free mixture, there’s no harm in sampling as you go along.
Sugar helps make baked goodies puffy, golden brown and moist, but plain granulated sugar isn’t your only option. Whether you’re looking to cut calories, use less processed ingredients or simply change up the flavor, here are some options.
Peanut butter and chocolate — the perfect flavor combination. These biscotti are bit more time- and energy-intensive to make than a basic cookie, but at a five-dozen yield, they are certainly worth the effort. Package them up into decorative tins to give away as gifts or set them out on a platter at a party. Each piece is 105 calories and just under 6 grams of fat, so going back for seconds won’t blow your dessert calorie budget.
This week, we’re giving you a bunch of cookie ideas, but we didn’t want to skip on out on general baking advice, too. One big concern is all that fat. Fat ensures that your baked goods are moist and tender (pretty important!), but you can dial it down and still make them delectable with a few basic swaps.